The Steelers are bringing back one member of the secondary, but Mike Hilton remains on the market.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are dealing with a tricky cap situation this offseason. It is going to be tough to retain anyone, even after bringing back Ben Roethlisberger on a restructured deal.
One area of focus is in the secondary. Mike Hilton is the big name Steelers fans want back, but that is going to be difficult to do under the cap. In the meantime, the team is bringing back Cameron Sutton on a two-year deal.
Steelers re-sign Cameron Sutton, fans hoping for Mike Hilton
Sutton made six starts and appeared in all 16 games during the 2020 season. He made one interception, forced three fumbles, and broke up eight passes in his fourth NFL season. The 26-year-old now returns on a deal worth $4.5 million annually.
Yet Hilton remains the players Steelers fans want back the most. Spotrac lists his market value at $7.8 million annually over a three-year span. The former undrafted free agent now has the chance to make some serious money and should end up pursuing all his options to maximize his earnings. Having Drew Rosenhaus as his agent should ensure that happens.
Having Roethlisberger back for one more year should mean the Steelers want to go all-in to win a Super Bowl. Unfortunately, letting someone like Hilton go could hurt the team in the long-term. Both Joe Haden and Steven Nelson are free agents following next season, meaning the secondary could look very different in 2022. That is also true for the team as a whole.
Getting Sutton back right away was a nice start for a team dealing with a tough financial situation. Being able to retain Hilton as well would be a magic act and avoid a major drop in talent in the secondary. The alternative is drafting a defensive back or two and hoping for a star rookie, but that is a lot to ask for a team with Super Bowl aspirations.