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Mike Hilton remains in the AFC North, reportedly signing with the Bengals

The Pittsburgh Steelers are losing free agents at a crazy clip, and the latest is Mike Hilton to a division rival.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Buffalo Bills Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

When the Pittsburgh Steelers signed Cameron Sutton on the first day of the NFL’s legal tampering period, many assumed it meant the end of the road for Mike Hilton in Pittsburgh. Sure, the die hard fans held out hope they would be able to retain both players, but on Tuesday Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reports Hilton will indeed be leaving in free agency.

Where is he headed?

To the Cincinnati Bengals.

After Steelers fans clear the vomit out of their mouths thinking about Hilton playing for the AFC North rivals, it is worth noting how the Steelers likely knew all along they wouldn’t be able to retain both Hilton and Sutton. They took the cheaper of the two options, considering most knew the price tag Hilton would demand, and chose Sutton.

Sutton absolutely is a versatile player, but his game and Hilton’s game are completely different. Sutton was the typical dime cornerback, with his strength being in coverage. Meanwhile, Hilton’s strength has always been around the line of scrimmage. During his time with the Steelers Hilton has registered 9.5 sacks, and has always been a force to be reckoned with in the run game.

The loss of Hilton comes on the heels of Tyson Alualu choosing to take his talents back to where his career began with the Jacksonville Jaguars. These are two big losses for the Steelers’ defense, and big shoes to fill at both positions.

There will be plenty more news surrounding the black and gold as the day(s) progress, so be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers as they prepare for the new league year to start Wednesday, free agency and the 2021 NFL Draft.