On Monday Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette indicated that the Pittsburgh Steelers were focusing on trying to retain four of their own unrestricted free agents. It appears that the team has already succeeded in keeping one of the four.
According to multiple reports—including a tweet by ESPN’s Brooke Pryor—the Steelers have come to an agreement with cornerback Cameron Sutton on a two-year, $9 million contract.
CB Cam Sutton is indeed back with the Steelers on a two-year, $9M deal, per source. Sutton was hugely important as a versatile defender and he plugged a lot of holes with starters went down with injury last season. Steelers prioritized keeping one of their own.
— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) March 15, 2021
ALL the latest Steelers news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Steelers newsletter here!
It’s a sizeable raise for the former University of Tennessee cornerback, who just completed the rookie contract he signed in 2017 after he was a third-round pick (No. 94 overall). According to overthecap.com he received a $736,128 signing bonus on that initial four-year deal, with base salaries of $465,000, $587,400, $677,400 and $825,000.
Cameron Sutton’s Steelers Career
In the course of his four seasons in Pittsburgh, Sutton, who is 26, has mostly served in a reserve role, though he did make six starts in 2020, including games when starter Joe Haden was out of the lineup. During that time period he has played in 52 contests and recorded 73 total tackles (64 solo), with three interceptions, two sacks, three tackles for loss, three quarterback hits, four forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.
With Sutton back in the fold, it arguably reduces the urgency for the Steelers to re-sign slot cornerback Mike Hilton, as Sutton has the versatility to play in the slot. He could also compete for a starting role on the outside in 2022, as starters Joe Haden and Steven Nelson are both entering the final year of the contracts they signed in 2019.
Meanwhile, he figures to remain a key component on special teams. In the past three years he has been a part of 46%, 37% and 41% of the team’s snaps on special teams.
Pittsburgh has now re-upped with five of its own free agents, including exclusive rights free agents Marcus Allen (LB), J.C. Hassenauer (center) and Robert Spillane (ILB). Wide receiver/kick return specialist Ray-Ray McCloud, who was a restricted free agent, is also back on a one-year deal.
Steelers GM Kevin Colbert Has Signed an Extension, Too
On Monday the Steelers also announced that general manager Kevin Colbert has agreed to a one-year contract extension. One former Steelers executive recently predicted that Colbert’s retirement will coincide with that of longtime quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Aditi Kinkhabwala seemed to confirm as much in a tweet from Monday afternoon.
#Steelers GM Kevin Colbert has publicly said he likes being on one-year deals and less-publicly said he’ll retire when Ben Roethlisberger does. Well… the QB is back and so Colbert is too. Team announces the GM has signed a one-year extension, through the 2022 draft.
— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) March 15, 2021
Free Agent Center Corey Linsley Signed With the Chargers
Meanwhile, one of the top free agent centers, Corey Linsley, has left the Green Bay Packers to join the Los Angeles Chargers.
Per Mike Garafalo of NFL Network, Linsley received a five-year $62.5 million contract, making him the highest paid center in the league.
The #Chargers are signing C Corey Linsley to a five-year, $62.5 million deal, sources tell me and @TomPelissero. He is the new highest-paid center in the league and will get $26 million over the first two years.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 15, 2021
That’s notable as the Steelers may be in the market for a free agent center to replace Maurkice Pouncey, who retired last month. The Steelers could also address the position in the draft, as J.C. Hassenauer and recently-signed B.J. Finney are the only players on the roster with experience at center.
Follow the Heavy on Steelers Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
• Steelers ‘Preparing to Bring Back’ Versatile O-Lineman
• Lions Release Ex-Steelers Tight End
• Ex-Bills Wide Receiver Sees Steelers as a Fit in Free Agency