Steelers Urged to ‘Steal’ Free Agent Cornerback From Rival Bengals

pittsburgh steelers

Getty The Pittsburgh Steelers were urged to sign Bengals corner Chidobe Awuzie

The Pittsburgh Steelers need to get themselves a cornerback during the 2024 offseason.

Their pass defense had some strengths. They held opposing quarterbacks to the league’s sixth-lowest completion percentage.

However, they allowed the NFL’s third-most yards per completion, which means opponents were making up for the bad completion percentage with big plays.

An upgrade at their second corner position could help them fix that.

That need might lead them to try and land a free agent from one of their division rivals.

Steelers Nation’s Parker Abate thinks the Steelers should pursue Cincinnati Bengals corner Chidobe Awuzie this offseason.

Chidobe Awuzie’s Up & Down 3 Years With the Bengals

When the Bengals signed Awuzie back in 2021, he was coming off of a season where he missed eight games and struggled when he was healthy.

Despite the issues of his 2021 season, the Bengals signed him to a three-year contract worth $21.75 million.

The move worked out at the start.

Awuzie had the best season of his career in 2021. He tied a career high with 14 passes defended and set a career high with 2 interceptions.

He was equally impressive in the playoffs. He made 8 total tackles in the AFC Championship Game win over the Chiefs.

He followed that up with an interception to start the second half of the Super Bowl. The pick set the Bengals up for a field goal that extended their lead to seven points.

His next two seasons in Cincinnati weren’t quite as impressive. He only played eight games in 2022 because of a torn ACL, didn’t record an interception and only defended five passes.

In 2023, he actually ended up losing his starting job to DJ Turner before an injury to Cam Taylor-Britt moved him back into the starting lineup.

His performance improved toward the end of the season, but it may not be enough for the Bengals to keep him.

Instead, he could end up joining one of the team’s division rivals.

Why He’d Fit With the Steelers

Signing Owuzie wouldn’t be a huge signing for the Steelers. He was benched during his most recent season and is approaching 30.

However, he could be a good fit as the second option alongside Joey Porter Jr., who spent much of his rookie season locking down opposing teams’ WR1s.

Porter Jr.’s ability to effectively shadow other teams’ stars will allow Awuzie to take easier assignments where he could succeed for the Steelers.

His improved play later in the season could also give the Steelers some hope that his struggles early in the year were at least partially related to his ACL injury from the previous season.

Now that he’s had a full season to play on the recovered knee, 2024 could be a bounce-back season for him. He also wouldn’t have to carry a ton of risk if the Steelers can get him on a short deal.

Signing Awuzie could also just be something the Steelers due out of necessity.

During the 2024 offseason, the Steelers have five main issues they need to address.

One is quarterback and that might go unaddressed until 2025.

The other four are offensive tackle, center, corner, and linebacker.

The team won’t be able to find players to start at each position in the draft, so they’ll need to address some of their issues in free agency.

Bringing in Awuzie to take over their CB2 role and leaving their top two picks available to address O-line issues could just be the best way for the Steelers to make sure they get their roster where it needs to be for the 2024 season.

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