Earlier this week, Pro Football Focus came out with their updated list of the top 100 free agents and added contract projections for each player on the list. Cornerback Cameron Sutton was Pittsburgh’s highest-rated free agent, as he landed at No. 22 on the list compiled by Brad Spielberger. Defensive lineman Larry Ogunjobi also landed on the list, as he came in at No. 84.
Sutton is projected by PFF to get a three-year deal worth $25.5 million with $15.5 million guaranteed. The deal would come out to $8.5 million in average annual value (AAV). Meanwhile, Ogunjobi is projected to land a three-year contract worth $30 million with $20 million guaranteed.
On PFF’s previous list of the top 50 free agents, Sutton came in at No. 17. Here, he drops five spots to No. 22. He remains the third-highest rated corner behind Jamel Dean of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and James Bradberry of the Philadelphia Eagles The $8.5 million AAV from Sutton feels light given the season he just had where he allowed the ninth-fewest receiving yards among corners with 400 coverage snaps, per Spielberger. I would be surprised if Sutton ended up getting less than $9.5 million per year, and wouldn’t be surprised if that number was closer to $11 million or $12 million per year. He’s going to be and should be the top priority for the Steelers, who have struggled to draft and develop cornerbacks. Sutton is an exception, and bringing him back makes cornerback less of a dire need.
As for Ogunjobi, Spielberger believes his explosiveness will help him earn a nice contract in free agency.
“Ogunjobi agreed in principle to a three-year, $40.5 million deal with the Chicago Bears last offseason, which unfortunately fell through because of concerns about a foot injury he sustained late in the 2021 season. Still, he landed in a good spot with the Pittsburgh Steelers and earned a 61.7 overall grade in 2022, his best mark since his rookie season. While he’s not going to consistently win one-on-ones as a pass-rusher with his hand technique, Ogunjobi has 70 quarterback pressures over the last two seasons because of a quick first step off the line, illustrated by strong explosiveness testing — among interior defenders in PFF’s database, his 32-inch vertical is in the 78th percentile, while his 9-foot-8 broad jump is in the 91st.”
Ogunjobi was one of the catalysts to Pittsburgh’s run defense turning around from 2021 to 2022, and while he didn’t have the year rushing the passer many expected (just 1.5 sacks after having five or more in three out of the prior four seasons), he was still productive and was able to stay healthy enough to play in 16 games. Teams still could be scared off by his medical history with the foot last year and a few other lower-body injuries that led to him spending time on the injury report this season. Still, he’ll likely be in line for a contract around $8-10 million per year, with a chunk of that possibly coming in yearly roster bonuses. If the Steelers could get Ogunjobi for $20 million guaranteed over three years, I think they would ultimately be ok with that contract. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him test the open market and see if he can get a deal similar to the one he agreed with in Chicago, though.
It’s going to be an interesting offseason in Pittsburgh, and the team’s decisions on what to do with Sutton and Ogunjobi are going to be a big piece of figuring out what the Steelers might look to do in the NFL Draft and the rest of free agency.