The Pittsburgh Steelers announced today that they re-signed cornerback James Pierre to a one-year contract. Pierre was a restricted free agent, but the Steelers declined to offer him a restricted free agent tender, meaning the contract he signed is likely less than what it would’ve cost to put a $2.627 million tender on him.
Pierre signed with the Steelers as an undrafted free agent out of Florida Atlantic after the 2020 season, and while he was a starter at the beginning of the 2021 season, he saw his snaps decrease after the team’s Week 12 blowout loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. His best season with the black and gold came in this past year in 2022.
The Steelers had Pierre as a depth piece to start the season in 2022 and he saw spot duty on defense, especially after Ahkello Witherspoon went down with a hamstring injury. Pierre played 260 defensive snaps in 2022 and 196 more on special teams. He finished 2022 with 20 total tackles, one interception and four passes defended. Additionally, Pierre logged another nine total tackles on special teams and also recovered a fumble. He was targeted 27 times in coverage in 2022 and allowed 12 catches for 150 yards and a touchdown, per Pro Football Focus. He only missed one tackle on defense, however. His lone interception came in the team’s Week 12 road win over the Indianapolis Colts.
Pierre will provide depth in Pittsburgh’s secondary behind Patrick Peterson and Levi Wallace. He’ll likely compete with Witherspoon as a backup at outside cornerback assuming Witherspoon doesn’t get cut. Either way, after his performance in 2022, bringing Pierre back as depth at cornerback and as a special teamer is a good move for the Steelers. He’s still just 26 years old and has shown a lot of growth. even from 2021 to 2022. If he continues his upward trajectory, he could play a valuable role for the Steelers going forward.