The Pittsburgh Steelers did intend to try to re-sign free agent cornerback Cameron Sutton, if local reports are to be believed. Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette relayed last week that the Steelers were not even in the ballpark of the three-year, $33 million contract that he got from the Detroit Lions, with $22.5 million of that guaranteed.
From the sounds of it, that’s even more than Sutton and his agent were expecting. That’s how Peter King’s latest column reads, quoting agent David Canter as he walked the columnist through the rapid free agency process for Football Morning in America.
According to King, Canter informed Sutton that he’d hoped the deal he could land for him would ultimately come in at around $10 million per season. Of course, he got $11 million per season, and with nearly two thirds fully guaranteed at signing ($1.5 million becomes guaranteed on the third day of the new league year in 2024).
“He just started crying. He told me, ‘This changes my life. Let’s go to Detroit, baby!’”, King quoted Canter as saying after the agent informed Sutton that he would be a Lion “in about three minutes”, and under what terms. He described Sutton as emotional as he responded with, “Really?”.
A 2017 third-round draft pick, Sutton had the poor luck of the Cleveland Browns giving up on Joe Haden that same season. The Steelers signed him the same day he was released and Haden instantly moved into the starting lineup, delaying whatever chances the rookie had of ascending the depth chart.
Sutton largely bided his time for most of his rookie contract, eventually working into sub-packages as a dime, and when injuries allowed, in the nickel. He became a full-time starter in 2021, after re-signing on a two-year, $9 million contract as an unrestricted free agent.
Sutton earned about $12 million in total during his six seasons with the Steelers. He really started to make a name for himself over the length of that second deal, becoming one of the stingiest cornerbacks in the league in 2022 in terms of catch rate allowed. He recorded 15 passes defensed, as well, including three interceptions.
Sutton’s deal came together very quickly. Indeed, Canter described it as “shocking” how rapid deals can be reached during the ‘tampering window’. The window opened a week ago today. The deal was ironed out by 2:30 PM, with reports surfacing an hour earlier.
Before 5 PM, Patrick Peterson himself was talking about his plans to sign with Pittsburgh. Let’s hope that neither end up regretting making such rapid decisions as Mitch Trubisky expressed. But the money moves fast at this time of year, and once you don’t get what you’re after, you have to get back in the hunt. Mistakes will be made, on both sides. But rapid decisions don’t automatically mean bad ones. Either way, they can be life changing.