Player: Arthur Maulet
Experience: 4 Years
Free Agent Status: Unrestricted
2021 Salary Cap Hit: $1,127,500
2021 Season Breakdown:
Arthur Maulet went undrafted out of Memphis in 2017. He bounced on and off of rosters and practice squads his first year before splitting time with New Orleans and Indianapolis in 2018, his first accrued season. It wasn’t until he signed with the New York Jets in 2019 that he found some stability.
There, he showed himself to be a versatile defensive back, able to play throughout the secondary, though primarily in the slot, wit ha healthy sampling at safety and in the box. He played two years in New York before signing with the Steelers last May, after the draft.
He signed a one-year, veteran-minimum contract that included no signing bonus, meaning that if he didn’t make the team, he would have gotten nothing but per-diem pay for his time and work during the offseason. He did make the team, and played a key role.
While assignments fluctuated from week to week, Maulet eventually became the team’s primary nickel back and slot defender, logging 379 snaps on defense. He recorded 47 tackles, including five tackles for loss, and he also had a forced fumble, though he is credited with just one pass defensed.
It is fair to say that, much like former Steeler Mike Hilton, Maulet’s strength lies not in his specialization but in his variability. He can do a little bit of everything, though coverage is certainly not his calling card. He can be serviceable within a limited framework, but he is best used in early downs and short yardage.
Free Agency Outlook:
Especially when you factor in the free agency status of Joe Haden and Ahkello Witherspoon, it seems eminently prudent that the Steelers would want to retain Maulet’s services. He played sufficiently well to earn himself a second contract.
At the very least, he provides valuable depth in the slot and is the most physical presence there that they have now—something that Tre Norwood isn’t necessarily. He shouldn’t cost much more than veteran minimum, which is ideally what they would pay.
But I also would not object to a modest multi-year contract of two or three years, which was not uncommon for the Steelers in the past for veteran outside free agents on second contracts after originally signing one-year deals. Darrius Heyward-Bey and Arthur Moats are two names that instantly come to mind. I could see Maulet being a team guy in the same mold.