Steelers Sign Free Agent Cornerback, Waive Tight End and Punter

DeMarkus Acy

Donald Page/Getty Images Marquez Callaway of the Tennessee Volunteers and DeMarkus Acy of the Missouri Tigers compete for a pass during a game between the Missouri Tigers and the Tennessee Volunteers on November 17, 2018.

On Monday afternoon the Pittsburgh Steelers announced the signing of cornerback DeMarkus Acy to a one-year contract. Acy signed with the San Francisco 49ers following the 2020 NFL Draft as an undrafted rookie free agent, but was released before the start of the regular season and went on to spend part of the year on the practice squad of the Seattle Seahawks.

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Acy played his college football in the SEC at the University of Missouri, where he appeared in 47 games and made 36 starts. During that time he recorded 99 tackles, with 23 passes defensed, three interceptions, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.


Steelers in Need of Depth at Cornerback

The move to sign Acy perhaps comes in response to the team’s inability to address the cornerback position in this past weekend’s draft. The Steelers took only one defensive back in the draft, that being Oklahoma’s Tre Norwood (in the seventh round), and the Steelers list him as a safety.

The Steelers also added several undrafted rookie free agent cornerbacks last Saturday night, when they signed Shakur Brown (Michigan State) and Mark Gilbert (Duke), who is the nephew of former NFL star Sean Gilbert and a cousin of former All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis.

Meanwhile, veteran Joe Haden is expected to remain as the team’s No. 1 cornerback, with recently re-signed Cameron Sutton getting the first crack at the other starting cornerback job.

In terms of depth, the Steelers also have third-year player Justin Layne (who recently made headlines by getting arrested and charged with a firearm offense after a traffic stop), as well as former Los Angeles Chargers starter Trevor Williams, former Chicago Bears draft pick Stephen Denmark, and James Pierre, the latter of whom earned a spot on the 53-man roster last year after signing with the Steelers as an undrafted free agent out of Florida Atlantic University.

This year the Steelers need to replace starting cornerback Steven Nelson, who was released to save money on the salary cap, and slot cornerback Mike Hilton, who inked a four-year contract with the Cincinnati Bengals in free agency.


The Steelers Waived a Punter and Tight End on Monday

Meanwhile, the Steelers waived two players on Monday, including punter Corliss Waitman, who spent all of last season on Pittsburgh’s practice squad. Waitman became superfluous when the Steelers drafted supersized punter Pressley Harvin III (Georgia Tech) in the seventh round of the 2021 Draft.

The Steelers also waived tight end Charles Jones II, the low man in Pittsburgh’s tight end pecking order. Jones was signed to Pittsburgh’s practice squad in November and went on to sign a one-year Reserve/Future contract with the team in January. But he became readily expendable when the team drafted tight end Pat Freiermuth (Penn State) in the second round of the draft.

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