The Pittsburgh Steelers are doing their best to lock up their own unrestricted free agents before the legal tampering period begins on Monday March 14 at Noon ET. This past Friday, the team came to an agreement on a two-year contract with strong safety/special teams ace Miles Killebrew, who blocked two punts for the Steelers last season. On Saturday March 12, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported that the team has also concluded negotiations with cornerback Arthur Maulet—and will be signing him to a two-year contract. No financial details were provided, unlike in the case of Killebrew, who is said to be receiving a two-year, $4 million deal.
Maulet appears to have confirmed the contract agreement via a post to his official Instagram account, which is captioned: “2 More Years.”
The latest Steelers news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Steelers newsletter here!
Maulet Joined the Steelers in May 2021
Arthur Maulet—5-foot-10 and 190 pounds—originally signed with the Steelers in May 2021, inking a one-year deal after a two-year stint with the New York Jets in which he appeared in 23 games and made 11 starts. He has also played for the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints; it was the latter team that signed him as an undrafted free agent out of Memphis in 2017.
Thus far in his career Maulet has played in 51 games with 14 starts. According to Pro Football Reference, he has recorded 124 tackles (94 solo), including ten tackles for loss, two interceptions, eight passes defensed, one sack, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
Last year the New Orleans native earned a salary of $990,000, as per overthecap.com, and turned out to be a pretty good value, contributing 47 tackles (38 solo), including five tackles for loss and a pair of quarterback hits.
What About Joe Haden and Ahkello Witherspoon?
Meanwhile, the Steelers have two other cornerbacks who are set to hit unrestricted free agency on March 16, namely Joe Haden and Ahkello Witherspoon, the latter of whom was acquired in a trade in September 2021, with a 2023 fifth-round pick going to the Seattle Seahawks in exchange.
As for Haden, he has sent several tweets in the past week that would seem to indicate his time in Pittsburgh has come to an end.
On March 7, he tweeted: “7 days and counting,” an apparent reference to the aforementioned start of the legal tampering period.
Then on Saturday March 12, he sent a cryptic message addressed to #steelernation that read: “Take YOUR HAT…. Your COAT…. AND LEAVE!”
He went on to follow that up by replying to a fan appreciation tweet in which he acknowledged that both Cleveland and Pittsburgh “have been amazing to me and my family.”
Follow the Heavy on Steelers Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
If the Steelers had their druthers, they would probably prefer to retain Haden for at least one more season. Yet they may not want to pay starting cornerback money—never mind No. 1 cornerback money—to a player who will be turning 33 years old on April 14.
Yet if Haden leaves in free agency, he figures to be a difficult player to replace. As I noted in January 2022, it’s not a coincidence that in the past two years the Steelers have posted a record of 20-6-1 in games in which Haden was in the lineup, as compared to a miserable 1-7 in his absence. That includes an 8-4-1 record with him in 2021, as compared to 1-4 when he was sidelined by injury.
• Steelers ‘Considering’ Ex-Colts Starter as Free Agent QB Option: Report
• Steelers Rumors: Tampa Bay Bucs Safety is Plan B if Terrell Edmunds Leaves in Free Agency
• Steelers Targeting Super Bowl-Winning Bucs Cornerback: Report
• Tampa Bay Bandits Draft 2 Ex-Steelers in USFL Supplemental
• 49ers, Packers Have ‘Sights Set’ on Steelers Free Agent WR: Report