The Pittsburgh Steelers aren’t the type of franchise who necessarily believes in going out and buying themselves a new roster. In other words, their preferred method of building a winning roster has always been based around the NFL Draft, rather than free agency.
Nonetheless, every year the team has to make difficult decision on their own free agents, and how to spend valuable salary cap dollars. Recently, ESPN put out their Top 50 free agent list, with only Cameron Sutton making the list for the the black-and-gold. As a follow-up to that article, Matt Bowen went through those same 50 players and listed the best “fits” for every free agent.
For the lone Steeler on the list, Bowen sees Sutton’s best “fit” being with the NFC West champion San Francisco 49ers. Take a look at his thinking behind the decision:
28. Cameron Sutton, CB
Best team fit: San Francisco 49ers
Sutton will have multiple suitors given his flexibility to play in the slot; Tennessee, Atlanta and Las Vegas all work here. But with the number of 49ers defensive backs heading to free agency and Sutton’s ability to cover in man and find the ball in zone, the fit works in San Francisco with new defensive coordinator Steve Wilks. Sutton posted three interceptions and 15 pass breakups for the Steelers in 2022, which were both career highs.
If Bowen’s prediction is true, whether it be with the 49ers or somewhere else, and the veteran cornerback does leave, what will the Steelers do? Of all 50 free agents, only one players was deemed to be a good “fit” for the Steelers, and it just so happened to be a cornerback.
Bowen sees Las Vegas Raiders cornerback Rock Ya-Sin as a good fit for the Steelers in free agency. Here are his thoughts:
34. Rock Ya-Sin, CB
Best team fit: Pittsburgh Steelers
How strong the market for Ya-Sin ends up being will play a role in the Steelers’ ability to make a move, but I like the fit — especially if Pittsburgh can’t re-sign Sutton. Ya-Sin is well-versed in both man and zone schemes and has a physical approach to the game, so he would upgrade the perimeter of the Steelers’ secondary. He had seven pass breakups this season and allowed just one touchdown receptions as the nearest defender, according to NFL Next Gen Stats.
Ya-Sin played his first three seasons with the Indianapolis Colts before spending the final year of his rookie contract in Las Vegas. During his career he has amassed a meager two interceptions, but is coming off a season where he had seven pass defenses, 45 combined tackles and a QB Hit.
This might be the type of player the Steelers could be targeting if/when the team frees up enough money to make a move, or two, in free agency. The unofficial start of free agency is March 13th with the start of the legal tampering period, with March 15th being the official start of the new league year.
It should be noted Bowen’s exercise isn’t a prediction for where both Sutton or Ya-Sin end up, merely just what teams might be a good fit for both their playing style, and potential availability based on current salary cap constraints.
Otherwise, how would you feel about the Steelers acquiring a Rock Ya-Sin type player? Let us know in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they press on throughout the 2023 NFL offseason.