The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2021 season is over, already eliminated from the postseason after suffering a 42-21 loss at the hands of Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. They just barely made the postseason with a 9-7-1 record and a little help from their friends.
This is an offseason of major change, with the retirement of Ben Roethlisberger, the possible retirement of general manager Kevin Colbert, and the decisions about the futures of many important players to be made, such as Joe Haden, Stephon Tuitt, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and others.
Aside from exploring their options at the quarterback position, the top global priority, once again, figures to be addressing the offensive line, which they did not do quite adequately enough a year ago. Dan Moore Jr. looks like he may have a future as a full-time starter, but Kendrick Green was clearly not ready. Chukwuma Okorafor is heading into free agency, as is Trai Turner.
These are the sorts of topics among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked. There is rarely a concrete answer, but this is your venue for exploring the topics we present through all their uncertainty.
Question: Will cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon still wind up back in Pittsburgh?
In spite of reports that the Steelers would be re-signing sixth-year veteran cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon, whom they acquired on September 3 via trade, no deal has yet been reached—or at least, no contract has been signed or announced.
That means he remains an unrestricted free agent, able to sign with any team, as we discussed last night. We have already seen about half a dozen deals between a player and a team dissolve that had already been reported as done this offseason, or that we learned after the fact. We don’t even know in this case if a deal had ever formally been agreed to.
The Steelers had both Witherspoon and five-year starter Joe Haden entering free agency; Haden remains an unrestricted free agent, and at least for now, it doesn’t sound like he’ll be on his way back. The team did reach a two-year, $8 million contract with outside free agent cornerback Levi Wallace.
If indeed the team re-signs neither Witherspoon nor Haden, then Wallace and Cameron Sutton would be the projected outside starting cornerbacks for the time being, with Tre Norwood and Arthur Maulet vying for playing time in sub-packages.
It’s worth noting that the report that Witherspoon would be re-signing came after the Steelers signed Wallace. There was a report in advance of that that they had given him a contract offer, but that he was considering it. Perhaps he is still considering that offer, assuming that the Steelers did indeed present him with one.