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3 free agents the Steelers should consider signing at each position: Defensive Back

These 3 defensive backs could make sense for the Steelers in free agency.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

NFL free agency is right around the corner, and teams are beginning to make decisions on players whose contracts are set to expire. The Steelers have quite the list of pending free agents themselves, and the next few weeks will be telling as to how the team plans to approach free agency. With that in mind, it is time to begin looking at outside free agents the Steelers could potentially sign this offseason.

Between now and the beginning of the NFL free agency period, we will be going position-by-position, breaking down which players fit the best for what the Steelers need. Currently, the Steelers are in dire need of cornerback(s), left tackle, nose tackle, and guard. They are also in danger of losing multiple linebackers and safeties in free agency, which could make their list of immediate needs longer. Depth concerns at wide receiver, tight end, and EDGE rusher will also need to be addressed by one means or another.

This year’s class of free agents is not as good as the past few, but there are still quality veterans at each position who can come in and make an immediate impact for an NFL franchise. Let us not forget, new names will be added to the free agency pool when teams attempt to create additional cap space by cutting some of their own vets. We will update you on those as they happen.

If you have any thoughts on the players mentioned below, be sure to share it in the comment section below, but without further adieu, it is time to take a closer look at three defensive backs the Steelers should consider signing this offseason.

Sean Murphy-Bunting (CB)

If you want a free agent everyone is sleeping on, look not further than Sean Murphy-Bunting. Ultimately, he would be a cheaper, younger alternative to Cameron Sutton as a CB2 while providing similar performance and production from week to week. Given an impressive 76.6 grade by PFF, Bunting was far from 100 percent for much of the season, missing five games due to a quad injury. Despite being limited for part of the season, Murphy-Bunting still displayed consistency in coverage, defending 7 passes and recording 2 interceptions. If he had been fully healthy the entire season, the numbers would have been noticeably better.

Much like Sutton, Murphy-Bunting also provides the versatility to play inside or out, and he is relatively versatile from a schematic standpoint. Not only would pairing him with Levi Wallace give the Steelers two starter-quality corners heading into the draft, but it would also be a wise financial move. It is rumored that Cameron Sutton could make in the neighborhood of $12-14 million per year on the open market, whereas the price of the Buccaneer defender will likely be driven down to the $7-9 million range due to the injury.

David Long, Jr. (Nickel CB)

If you want a minimal risk signing with upside, Long is your option. Long was not a major part of the Rams defense in 2022 due to a nagging groin injury, but the last time he was fully healthy (2021), he displayed sound skills in man coverage as well as a willingness to help in run defense. In that 2021 season, Long allowed only a 43.0 passer rating in the slot, the lowest of any cornerback in the NFL.

His undersized frame limits him to a nickel role, but I would consider this quite the upgrade from Arthur Maulet. He is younger, more athletic, and just as good a run defender as Maulet, and the price tag would not be any more at all. With James Pierre set to hit free agency as well, it is time to replenish some depth with a young option like Long. He would be able to compete for the starting nickel job in training camp.

Jabrill Peppers (Safety)

Peppers did not rack up the stat sheet by any means in 2022, but he was sound in coverage and did not do anything to shoot his team in the foot. The sixth-year pro out of Michigan took his services to New England after stints with both the Giants and Browns, but he was unable to earn a starting role in Bill Belichick’s defense. However, his 75.0 PFF grade is a testament to his consistency when given opportunities. A true hybrid defender, Peppers would make a lot of sense for the Steelers if the plan was not to bring back Damontae Kazee. Regardless of whether or not Kazee returns, he would still provide added depth at both safety positions while also being a star special teamer.

Wild Card: Kyle Fuller (Slot CB)

Which free agent defensive backs would you like to see the Steelers sign? Be sure to light up the comment section below with your thoughts on this and all things Pittsburgh Steelers!