Steelers Sign Former Jets Defensive Back

Arthur Maulet

Brett Carlsen/Getty Images Arthur Maulet of the New York Jets warms up before a game against the Buffalo Bills on December 29, 2019.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are still in the process of tweaking their offseason roster, as evinced by the addition of former New York Jets cornerback/safety Arthur Maulet, who has signed a one-year contract with the team.

Arthur Maulet’s NFL Journey

Maulet—5-foot-10 and 190 pounds—entered the NFL in 2017, signing with the New Orleans Saints as an undrafted free agent out of Memphis. The New Orleans native spent much of his rookie year on the practice squad but did appear in six games. During his second season the Indianapolis Colts claimed him off waivers, and he played five games for the Colts.

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Maulet, 27, saw much more extensive playing time in 2019 and 2020, starting a total of 11 games with the New York Jets, who utilized him at cornerback in 2019 and safety in 2020. He did spend time on injured reserve last year with a groin injury, but returned to make five starts.

In terms of pass coverage, Pro Football Reference indicates that he was targeted 42 times in 2019 and allowed a 66.7 percent completion rate for an average of 9.6 yards per completion. In 2020, he was targeted 32 times and allowed 20 completions (62.5%), an average of 11.4 yards per completion.

All told, he has recorded 77 tackles (56 solo) in the NFL, as well as two interceptions, one sack, seven passes defensed and five tackles for loss.

In college he played two seasons for the Memphis Tigers after transferring from Copiah-Lincoln Community College. Over the course of 21 starts (26 games total) he was responsible for 111 total tackles, four interceptions, one fumble recovery and two forced fumbles. He also recorded 7.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks.

How Arthur Maulet Fits in Pittsburgh’s Secondary

It remains to be seen whether the Steelers see Maulet as a safety or cornerback—or, more likely, someone who can be a reserve at both safety and cornerback.

Certainly, there’s room to earn a job at cornerback as the Steelers have a clear-cut CB1 in veteran Joe Haden, but no other clearly defined roles. Recently re-signed veteran Cameron Sutton is the leading contender to start opposite Haden, but it’s essentially an open competition to see who fills the No. 2,3,4 and 5 cornerback jobs.

The leading contenders are third-year cornerback Justin Layne (who recently resolved his legal issues stemming from his arrest in April), as well as former undrafted free agent James Pierre.

Other cornerbacks who could be competing with Maulet for a roster spot include: former Chicago Bears seventh-round pick Stephen Denmark and rookie undrafted free agents Shakur Brown (Michigan State) and Mark Gilbert (Duke), the latter of whom is the cousin of former Jets All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis.

Similarly, there’s also room for Maulet to earn a job as a backup safety, as there isn’t a clear picture behind incumbent starters Minkah Fitzpatrick and Terrell Edmunds. The Steelers recently picked up Fitzpatrick’s fifth-year option, but declined the fifth-year option on Edmunds, with Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert citing the salary cap (not performance) as the reason for the Edmunds decision.

The only other returning safety on the 90-man roster is 2020 sixth-round draft pick Antoine Brooks Jr., as Jordan Dangerfield remains a free agent. The Steelers also drafted Oklahoma cornerback/safety Tre Norwood in the seventh round this year, and signed Donovan Stiner (Florida) and Lamont Wade (Penn State) as rookie undrafted free agents.

2 Defensive Backs Waived

To make room on the roster for Maulet & Co., the Steelers waived a pair of defensive backs (safety John Battle and cornerback Trevor Williams), leaving them with a full 90-man roster as rookie minicamp approaches. Joe Rutter of broke the news of the cuts.

Williams originally came to the Steelers just prior to January’s postseason game against the Cleveland Browns, after Joe Haden reportedly tested positive for COVID-19. The team went on to sign him to a one-year Reserve/Future contract in mid-January, much like it did with John Battle.

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