Steelers Floated as Potential Suitor for Projected $45 Million CB

Pittsburgh Steelers Adoree Jackson

Getty The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Gerry Dulac named cornerback Adoree Jackson as a potential free agent target for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have a few different needs they could begin addressing during NFL free agency. But during his weekly fan chat on March 6, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac predicted the Steelers to focus on cornerbacks. When asked about specific potential free agent targets, Dulac mentioned veteran cornerback Adoree’ Jackson.

“Free agency could produce a CB because three that the Steelers have — Wallace, Sullivan, Pierre — are all UFAs,” wrote Dulac.

“And I think mid-range players such as Adoree Jackson are that type — guys who can come in and start while the Steelers find out if Cory Trice can help them.”

Jackson started 14 games for the New York Giants last season. He posted 63 combined tackles with 8 pass defenses and 1 interception. Jackson returned that pick for a 76-yard touchdown.

Spotrac projected Jackson to be worth $45.4 million on a 4-year contract this offseason.

In addition to Jackson, Dulac mentioned Kendall Fuller as a potential mid-range free agent cornerback target for the Steelers.

Why Adoree’ Jackson Could Be a Steelers Free Agent Target

Jackson began his career with the Tennessee Titans as a first-round pick in the 2017 NFL draft. He started immediately, posting 17 pass defenses as a rookie. Jackson reached double digits in pass defenses again during his second season.

The Titans picked up his fifth-year option prior to the 2020 season. However, Jackson suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 3. Then the following spring, the Titans released Jackson.

In free agency, Jackson signed a 3-year, $39 million contract with the Giants. He reached 50 combined tackles and 8 pass defenses in all three seasons with New York.

Over seven NFL seasons, Jackson has posted 56 pass defenses and 4 interceptions. He’s also recorded 376 combined tackles, including 9 tackles for loss.

He has started 77 games in his career. With the Steelers, Jackson could start opposite 2023 second-round pick Joey Porter Jr.

As Dulac mentioned, fellow 2023 draft pick Cory Trice is a candidate for a bigger role in Pittsburgh during 2024. But Trice is returning from a torn ACL he suffered during 2023 training camp.

Veteran cornerbacks Levi Wallace, Chandon Sullivan, and James Pierre are unrestricted free agents for the Steelers this offseason. But fellow veteran Patrick Peterson is under contract.

While Peterson led the Steelers in defensive snaps during 2023, it wouldn’t be surprising if the team replaces him in the starting lineup. Peterson, who turns 34 in July, could play more nickel cornerback and safety in 2024.

Interestingly, Pro Football Focus has a much lower projection for Jackson’s market this offseason. PFF, who ranked Jackson the eighth-best cornerback set to be available in free agency, predicted Jackson to sign a 1-year, $6 million deal.

Steelers Free Agency Plans Depend on Mason Rudolph?

Unsurprisingly, a lot of questions Dulac received in his fan chat on March 6 were regarding free agency.

One reader asked Dulac who he thought the Steelers would sign in free agency. Interestingly, rather than continue to float names, the Steelers insider suggested it could depend on if the team can re-sign quarterback Mason Rudolph.

“Some of that will depend on what Mason Rudolph does,” wrote Dulac.

Another reader projected Rudolph’s salary as $10 million over two seasons. Dulac responded by writing, “that’s about the price range the Steelers will offer, no more.”

Given that that’s a very affordable contract for an NFL quarterback, it’s a bit surprising that Dulac predicted Rudolph to have a big influence on what the Steelers do in free agency.

But whether Rudolph returns will greatly impact what the team’s quarterback room looks like. If the Steelers can’t convince Rudolph to return, they will need to find depth behind center elsewhere, and perhaps that will be more expensive.

Spotrac reported on March 6 that the Steelers have $9.57 million in cap space.

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