The Pittsburgh Steelers are back in the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex earlier than they had anticipated, having been ousted before they even reached the postseason, which unfortunately marks the sixth consecutive season in which they failed to win a postseason game—tying their longest drought of the Super Bowl era. Yet again, they find themselves undergoing the exit meeting process earlier than anticipated, which means so are we.
The Steelers did arguably perform at or above expectations this year by going 9-8 and nearly making the postseason at all, a reflection of just how much talent they lost during the offseason, from Ben Roethlisberger and Joe Haden to most of their wide receiver room, not to mention Stephon Tuitt’s decision to retire.
While we might not know all the details about what goes on between head coach Mike Tomlin and his players during these exit meetings, we do know how we would conduct those meetings if they were let up to us. So here are the Depot’s exit meetings for the Steelers’ roster following the 2022 season.
Player: Cameron Sutton
Experience: 6 Years
Cameron Sutton has proven to be one of the Steelers’ rather rare draft success stories in the secondary under head coach Mike Tomlin. Not since the days of William Gay and, to a lesser extent, Keenan Lewis and Cortez Allen, and Sean Davis, have they managed to get any semblance of consistent quality play from a defensive back they drafted.
And Davis and Lewis never saw second contracts. Allen did, but it proved to be a bad idea. Sutton only got a modest two-year, $9 million deal after his rookie contract, but he established himself as a reliable full-time starter during that time.
And he’s going to be paid pretty well this offseason. Chances are he’ll earn himself a contract that pays him per season at least what the entirety of his previous contract was worth ($9 million), if not more. That’s simply what starting cornerbacks are paid who are more than a little decent.
And Sutton had his best season. He allowed a completion percentage of under 50% and picked off a career-high three interceptions, with 15 passes defended. Few players got their hands on more passes this past season.
What may be most notable is that he proved he can be on the outside on a full-time basis and succeed, if not excel. He logged nearly 700 snaps lined up out on the perimeter on 993 snaps, by far his highest percentage of snaps played outside on a season, and he also played the best he had out there as well.
Unless they intend to keep William Jackson III somehow, it’s hard to imagine the Steelers not doing anything reasonable to re-sign Sutton. They should more than be able to afford his year-one cap hit just by releasing Jackson. I’m confident they will. The big question is how long the deal will be. He’s about to turn 28.