2023 Offseason Questions: How Big A Need Is CB If Cameron Sutton Re-Signs?

The Steelers are now in their offseason after failing to reach the playoffs in 2022, coming up just a game short of sneaking in as the seventh seed. They needed help in week 18 and only got some of it, so instead they sat home and watched the playoffs with the rest of us.

On tap is figuring out how to be on the field in January and February instead of being a spectator. They started out 2-6, digging a hole that proved too deep to dig out of even if they managed to go 7-2 in the second half of the year.

Starting from the end of the regular season and leading all the way up to the beginning of the 2023 season, there are plenty of questions that need answered, starting with who will be the offensive coordinator. Which free agents will be kept? Who might be let go due to their salary? How might they tackle free agency with this new front office? We’ll try to frame the conversation in relevant ways as long as you stick with us throughout this offseason, as we have for many years.

Question: How big of a need would cornerback be if the Steelers do re-sign Cameron Sutton?

Technically speaking, the Steelers only have one prominent cornerback due to hit free agency in March. That would be six-year veteran Cameron Sutton, who has sounded reasonably confident that he will be back in Pittsburgh in 2023 and beyond.

We’ve already seen many outlets citing the cornerback position as the team’s biggest need this offseason. Even without Sutton, they do have Levi Wallace, Ahkello Witherspoon, and Arthur Maulet under contract, along with Tre Norwood who can play in the slot (as well as William Jackson III, though it’s unlikely he remains under his current contract).

Let’s say the Steelers re-sign Sutton. Then you have Sutton, Wallace, Witherspoon, Maulet, and Norwood as your core group of cornerbacks and slot defenders with which you start the offseason—assuming that Jackson is cut and not brought back in some manner.

If that’s your group that the Steelers begin the offseason with, then how much further do they have to go? I know that many will argue it still lacks a true bonafide ‘number one’ cornerback. But they’re certainly not going to find one in free agency. So it would have to come through the draft.

The defense ranked 19th in passing yards allowed and 28th in touchdown passes allowed, even though they faced the ninth-fewest attempts. On the other hand, they also finished first in interceptions. But neither the pros or the cons fall squarely upon the shoulders of the cornerbacks.

There isn’t a spot on this roster that can’t be upgraded, but there is always a list of priorities. So if we assume that Sutton is coming back, then how high on that list is the cornerback position?

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