Earlier this year former Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Artie Burns signed a one-year contract with the Chicago Bears, hoping that a fresh start would help resurrect a once-promising NFL career. But today Burns had to be carted off the field with a left knee injury, and the news is as bad as feared. According to Pro Football Talk, Burns has suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament and will miss the entire 2020 season.
Burns had been running with the first-team defense and was competing with Kevin Toliver and second-round draft choice Jaylon Johnson for a starting position.
According to Overthecap.com, Burns was scheduled to earn a salary of $910,000 this year, after receiving a signing bonus of $137,500.
Artie Burns’ Steelers Career
Artie Burns was Pittsburgh’s first-round draft pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, selected 25th overall out of the University of Miami. He flashed the ability to be a No. 1 cornerback during his first two seasons in the league, but tailed off badly after that, so his career in Pittsburgh ended after just four years.
During his rookie year he appeared in all 16 games and started nine, collecting three interceptions and adding 13 passes defensed along with 65 tackles and two tackles for loss. He also produced in year two, when he started all 16 games, recording 54 tackles with two tackles for loss, one QB hit, one interception, 13 passes defensed and two fumble recoveries.
But he started only seven games over the course of the last two years, appearing to lose his confidence as he began giving up big plays left and right. According to Pro Football Focus, Burns gave up 13 touchdown passes in 1,357 coverage snaps during his first three years in the league, which made it an easy decision to decline the fifth-year option on his contract and ultimately move on from him this past offseason. He played only 308 defensive snaps in 2018 and just 66 last year. This as compared to 810 his rookie year and a career high 974 snaps in 2017.
The Steelers Secondary Entering 2020
In the past few seasons, the Steelers have completely revamped their secondary, signing cornerback Joe Haden as a free agent in 2017 and drafting safety Terrell Edmunds in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Last offseason Pittsburgh added cornerback Steven Nelson in free agency, and traded a first-round pick for safety Minkah Fitzpatrick during the season.
As a result, the Steelers now have an elite trio of cornerbacks, along with one of the top 25 under-25 players in the NFL. The organization is hoping that Edmunds develops further; he was recently named to PFF’s All-Average Team; of course, you’re looking for something more than average from a first-round draft choice.
The Steelers also have a very promising young cornerback in second-year man Justin Layne, who was activated from the COVID-19 list last week.
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