With the Steelers preparing for their season finale and a chance to make the playoffs, free agency is one of the last things on most people’s minds. Nonetheless, we are right around the corner from seeing which direction the Steelers will go with their own free agents. Will the team make their best effort to retain all their players, or will the team focus on outside talent?
Before making any roster moves to create extra cap space, the Steelers have less than $15 million to work with, which could limit the amount of players the Steelers can re-sign. Terrell Edmunds has become a huge part of the defense and seems likely to return, but there are uncertainties about the three other Steelers defensive starters set to hit the open market.
Larry Ogunjobi is still struggling to stay healthy, and while Devin Bush took a huge step forward in 2022, he has not lived to the billing of a top-10 draft pick, making his return far from a sure thing. The other big-time free agent set to hit the market is cornerback Cameron Sutton, who has enjoyed his best NFL season in 2022. Sutton has taken flight under Teryl Austin, becoming a dependable, CB2-quality cornerback. With a league in such great need of talented corners, there is a chance he makes more than the Steelers would, or should, pay him.
Jeff Kerr of CBS Sports recently ranked the top 50 pending free agents, and coming in at number 26 was none other than Steelers cornerback Cameron Sutton. Here is what Kerr had to say about the pending Steelers free agent.
An ascending cornerback in the league, Sutton is getting better every year. Opposing quarterbacks have just a 54.0 passer rating targeting Sutton this season, who has three interceptions and allowed a 45.9% completion rate. Sutton is a good starting corner.
Kerr is not the only one high on Sutton. Greg Rosenthal of NFL.com recently compiled his top 51 free agents for the 2023 cycle, and Sutton came in at 27. Here is the analysis he gave.
An improving starting cornerback with plenty of experience is rare in this market.
Rosenthal did not add much on Sutton, although he did point out an intriguing plus: Sutton is still on the upswing. Despite being at the age where we begin to see regression from many cornerbacks, Cam is still ascending, considering the fact he was somewhat of a late bloomer. He was a third-round pick of the Steelers in 2017, but before 2022, he had always been considered a “fringe-starter” and not someone you would want to see starting on the outside for games at a time.
For the Steelers, the issue lies in the cost. There is no doubt Pittsburgh is in dire need of corner this offseason, but for someone who is not a number one corner, it may be too pricy. Plus, the Steelers already have Levi Wallace as a potential CB2. It seems realistic to believe Omar Khan will look to a draft that is rich at cornerback to find his CB1.
What are your thoughts on Cameron Sutton? Should the Steelers attempt to keep him around for 2023 and potentially beyond? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below, and stay tuned to BTSC for everything you need to know as we get you ready for the Steelers season finale against the Browns.