With the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2022 season over, the team finishing above .500 but failing to make the postseason, we have turned our attention to the offseason. One thing that it means is that some stock evaluations are going to start taking on broader contexts, reflecting on a player’s development, either positively or negatively, over the course of the season. Other evaluations will reflect only one immediate event or trend. The nature of the evaluation, whether short-term or long-term, will be noted in the reasoning section below.
Player: CB Arthur Maulet
Stock Value: Sold
Reasoning: The Steelers granted the veteran cornerback’s request to be traded following the 2023 NFL Draft, during which they selected two outside cornerbacks while also agreeing to a contract with Chandon Sullivan, a veteran slot defender who is likely the frontrunner to assume Maulet’s former position.
Many regular readers likely noticed that I have not been around for a while. I have actually been gone a couple days longer than my last article ran because I had two days’ worth of articles written in advance. The long and short of it is that I have some catching up to do as a result.
I lost my father on May 11 and have been, and continue to be, dealing with the consequences since then. I will not say much on this subject but suffice it to say that he died far too young to a serious disease, but we were not expecting to lose him now. We were hoping to at least have some years left, but life had other ideas about that.
This may be my only public comment on the subject as a means of explaining why I’ll be writing in this column about moves that may have taken place some time ago already. Now, moving on to the matter at hand.
The Steelers announced the release of veteran cornerback Arthur Maulet a little over a week after officially signing Chandon Sullivan to a one-year contract. Maulet was entering his third season with Pittsburgh in 2023, but evidently felt that he could find a better opportunity elsewhere.
Their secondary will look rather different this year, with potentially none of their top three cornerbacks from last season—Cameron Sutton, Levi Wallace, and Maulet—in their starting lineup. Patrick Peterson was signed to fill Sutton’s shoes after he left in free agency, and second-round pick Joey Porter Jr. could take Wallace’s job. Sullivan should compete for the primary nickel role, though Peterson may end up playing there.
While the timing suggests that the draft and the signing of Sullivan were the motivating factors behind Maulet’s request for his release, it may actually be more about the team’s general plans, including the potential for Peterson to play in the slot in their nickel packages.
The Steelers also added Keanu Neal as another option for a slot defender, which likely bumped Maulet down another peg yet again. As of now, he remains unsigned, but he should find a home at some point before the season starts.
Will it be with a team that will give him a better opportunity to get on the field? I don’t know about that. He actually talked fairly recently about how much he appreciated Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin for helping him find a home in the NFL and letting him play to his strengths.
Having already been around the league, does he really expect to find another comfortable niche so easily? I hope for his sake that he does, but I’m not sure he’ll succeed in finding what he is looking for.