Steelers Named ‘Top Landing Spot’ For $109 Million CB

Mike Tomlin Stephon Gilmore

Getty Pro Football Focus' Gordon McGuinness labeled Mike Tomlin and the Pittsburgh Steelers the top landing spot for former Defensive Player of the Year winner Stephon Gilmore.

Despite landing a highly-regarded class, the Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t add a cornerback before the late rounds of the 2024 draft. For that reason, the Steelers could still consider signing a veteran for their secondary. Pro Football Focus’ Gordon McGuinness argued that veteran cornerback Stephon Gilmore should be a potential target.

McGuinness called the Steelers the top landing spot for Gilmore on May 1.

“Gilmore will turn 34 at the start of the 2024 season but has performed well in three one-year stints with different teams since 2022,” wrote McGuinness. “He earned a 69.3 PFF coverage grade in 2023, allowing 734 yards and five touchdowns from 622 snaps in coverage while totaling 11 combined interceptions and pass breakups.

“The Steelers played Cover 1 on 25.8% of passing downs last season, with the Cowboys one of just five teams to do so at a higher rate, and still have a need at cornerback.”

Gilmore isn’t the All-Pro caliber player he once was. But as McGuinness detailed, he is still a quality starter.

With the Dallas Cowboys last season, Gilmore recorded 68 combined tackles with 13 pass defenses and 2 interceptions. He has recorded 140 pass defenses and 31 interceptions in 165 games during his career.

Over his 12 NFL seasons, Gilmore has made more than $109 million according to Spotrac.

Why CB Stephon Gilmore Could Make Sense for the Steelers

The Steelers added two intriguing cornerbacks prospects late draft weekend. First, they selected Texas’ Ryan Watts in the sixth round. Then, Pittsburgh signed undrafted cornerback Beanie Bishop Jr. from West Virginia.’s Chad Reuter ranked Bishop the top undrafted free agent cornerback of the 2024 class.

But the Steelers could probably still use another cornerback addition, preferably a veteran. In free agency, Pittsburgh lost five cornerbacks that played a total of 2,320 defensive snaps during the 2023 season. One of those cornerbacks, Patrick Peterson, led the entire Steelers defense in snaps played.

That’s obviously a ton of playing time to replace.

The departure of those veterans leaves the Steelers secondary void of valuable NFL experience. Joey Porter Jr. will enter the 2024 season as the top Pittsburgh cornerback. He started 11 contests as a rookie last season.

The Steelers acquired veteran cornerback Donte Jackson in a trade from the Carolina Panthers. But Gilmore could provide another outside cornerback option and replace Peterson from a leadership perspective.

Gilmore began his career as a first-round pick for the Buffalo Bills in 2012. After five seasons with the Bills, he joined the New England Patriots. Gilmore experienced most of his career success with the Patriots.

From 2017-20, he made first-team All-Pro twice and four Pro Bowls. He also won the 2019 Defensive Player of the Year award.

The past three seasons, Gilmore has played for the Cowboys, Panthers and Indianapolis Colts.

Could the Steelers Re-Sign Patrick Peterson?

Gilmore would solidify Pittsburgh’s cornerbacks on the outside. But the Steelers may prefer to add depth inside at nickel rather than another primary outside cornerback.

Pittsburgh’s top 2023 nickel, Chandon Sullivan, was one of the five veteran cornerbacks the team lost in free agency.

Sullivan is still unsigned if the Steelers choose to pursue him on another 1-year deal. But the team could elect to re-sign Peterson instead of Sullivan or even Gilmore.

While Peterson struggled at various times while playing a team-high 1,096 defensive snaps last season, he lined up in a lot of different spots. Peterson played more than 200 snaps at wide corner, slot corner and safety according to PFF.

That versatility could make Peterson an attractive re-sign candidate for the Steelers. The veteran cornerback said during the first week of free agency that he was open to a return to Pittsburgh for 2024.

Gilmore played more than 85% of his defensive snaps at wide cornerback last season. While he presents a potential upgrade over what the Steelers featured in their secondary in 2023, he won’t provide much versatility.

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