Player: Coty Sensabaugh
Free Agent Status: Unrestricted
2018 Salary Cap Hit: $1,612,500
2018 Season Breakdown:
It’s admittedly pretty surprising to be writing about Coty Sensabaugh in this spot, and by that I mean in the pecking order of the free agency breakdowns. If I was going purely by salary cap hit from 2018, which is typically the order that I follow, then I wouldn’t be getting around to him for a few more installments yet.
The truth is, at the beginning of the season, he probably wasn’t even guaranteed to make the roster. By the end of the 2017 season, his first in Pittsburgh, he was a healthy scratch, and that is how he started out in 2018 as well.
After being inactive for the season opener, however, he dressed for Week Two because of an injury to Joe Haden. While Cameron Sutton started over him, he rotated in later, and then later would rotate with Artie Burns on the other side.
Eventually he would take over the starting job on the right side full-time, following the bye week, including the final 10 games of the season, and the truth is that he played a lot better than you would think.
Based on Pro Football Focus’ numbers at least, he was actually one of the best cornerbacks in the league in terms of the number of yards that he surrendered per snap in coverage. And that wasn’t because he wasn’t being targeted, though they didn’t throw at him as much as you might expect.
Free Agency Outlook:
While the plan is obviously not going to be to go into the 2019 season intending for Sensabaugh to be a starter again, there is a very good chance at this point that the Steelers are going to want to bring him back for at least another season, based on his play last year.
At the moment, it’s unlikely that the Steelers would cut Burns right now, but he will have to earn a roster spot in training camp, and the odds of him being in the starting lineup come September feel pretty unlikely.
The key figure may be Sutton, whom the team would probably like to be able to emerge as the top backup. He was supposed to be that last year, but he wasn’t ready, and that opened the door for Sensabaugh to play.
I would expect the veteran cornerback at the very least to receive a one-year veteran-minimum qualifying offer from the Steelers. He probably won’t find much more than that on the open market. He won’t be guaranteed a roster spot, but in this secondary, he has the skills to compete for one.