clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The signing of Cam Sutton was sensible and unsexy, in other words, it was typical Steelers

The Cam Sutton move may have been the most Steeler-like move of all the Steeler-like moves.

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

This is the point of Steelers free-agency when I write an article about how very “Steeler-like” their first big signing was; how it was unsexy but sensible; boring but smart.

However, such a move is normally reserved for outside free agents—Steven Nelson would be a great example.

But an in-house signing? That’s even more boring and totally not worth writing an article about, that is unless you’re talking about the Steelers retaining the rights to cornerback Cameron Sutton.

This news was announced on Monday, complete with details and everything: Two years, $9 million.

For a first big signing, keeping Sutton in the fold wasn’t bad. The conventional wisdom heading into the offseason was that retaining Sutton would be a sound answer to losing slot corner Mike Hilton, a man who spent the past two weeks on Twitter counting down the days until free agency arrived like he was expecting the best Christmas present ever.

And, believe me when I tell you, Hilton wasn't counting down the days until he could sign a team-friendly deal with the Steelers for below-market value.

Hilton wanted to be paid. Hilton got his wish by inking a deal with the Bengals of all teams.

While retaining him certainly seemed like a sound backup plan for the cap-strapped Steelers, as the league’s new calendar year neared, you could see and feel fans getting a bit anxious over the lack of a new contract between Sutton and the Steelers.

As for yours truly, I was even bold enough to suggest that the Steelers—an organization that was once so cap-compromised it brought back Matt Spaeth as an unrestricted free agent—could possibly use Sean Davis as a stop-gap slot corner for 2021.

That backup to the backup plan may not have gone over well with Steelers fans. But retaining Sutton to presumably make him their slot corner for 2021 appears to be a popular enough move, at least as it pertains to the Internet and it not totally melting down.

Speaking of the Internet, immediately after the Sutton deal, there were suggestions that Pittsburgh, you know, “Go ahead and sign Hilton now.” But if those suggestions were coming from some of the same people who claimed to be cap experts not long ago when they wanted Ben Roethlisberger to retire just so the team could start its rebuild, I have to wonder if they suddenly shifted from experts to emotional fans whose understanding of budgets left a lot to be desired.

Looking at things with clear 20/20 hindsight, Sutton was always going to be the Steelers’ answer to losing Hilton.

And Hilton was never going to stick around.

Productive slot corners get paid huge sums of money in free agency. Versatile backups who can play inside corner, outside corner and even a little safety get paid, too.

Just not as much.

There may be a time when Sutton, 25, is on Twitter counting down the days until he gets to hit the open market again, only this time as a really hot commodity, a la the guy he’s earmarked to replace in 2021.

If that social media activity is the result of Sutton spending the next two years playing like one of the best slot corners in the business, I'll start the countdown right now.