Despite everything you hear, the Pittsburgh Steelers should not seek to sign Stephon Gilmore. While there is no question Gilmore would make the Steelers better, it would not make them a Super Bowl contender. It would in fact end up very similar to the situation that occurred in 2019 when the team acquired Minkah Fitzpatrick. That trade made the team just good enough to keep their streak of seasons above .500, but not even good enough to make the playoffs. This franchise would be once again sacrificing a top ten pick, and a chance to draft a franchise quarterback. All for a quick fix that in all likely hood gets them no closer to the ultimate goal. For this, and several other reasons we will list below, signing Stephon Gilmore is a bad idea.
Stephon Gilmore is 31, and injured:
Corner backs who play at an elite level over the age of 30 are a very rare breed in the NFL. At 31, Stephon Gilmore is in fact one of those players. At least he was before the injury. He is just now recovered from a quad injury that required surgery. The truth is no one knows what they’d be getting with a over 30 corner coming off surgery to his lower extremities. While there will be no compensation to acquire the talented corner, he will be looking for a long term deal at serious money. It’s a huge risk for any team to sign this player to a long term contract without actually seeing him on the field.
Stephon Gilmore is expensive:
With competition promising to be fierce over signing Stephon Gilmore, this is a player who will not come cheap. We can expect him demand somewhere between the $20 million per season Jalen Ramsey gets as the highest paid corner, and the $16 million Darius Slay receives. https://overthecap.com/position/cornerback/ The Steelers do have the cap room to fit this kind of contract in. It would however restrict them from doing certain things next season. It’s unlikely this team could do this deal, then make a big splash at quarterback next off-season. If they did, it would almost certainly mean having to deal off Minkah Fitzpatrick rather than signing him long term. Minkah will rightfully be demanding to be the top paid safety in the league next season.
Stephon Gilmore can’t block, or throw:
This team undoubtedly has a need at the corner back position. Signing Gilmore would solidify the secondary by allowing the Steelers to move Cam Sutton to the slot. Unfortunately this team has much bigger issues. Without improving the offensive line and/or the quarterback play this team is not going anywhere no matter how good the defense is. We saw this in 2019 where the Steelers played their best defense since the early days of the Tomlin regime, but still fell short of the playoffs.
Stephon Gilmore will set this franchise back years:
As we mentioned at the top, the trade for Minkah Fitzpatrick was wildly successful. He almost single hand-idly transformed this defense from bad, to very good. The byproduct of that is this team lost an opportunity to bottom out for one season, and have the ability to draft their next franchise quarterback. We go into this in great detail here as the Fitzpatrick deal realistically cost this team Justin Herbert. The Steelers got Minkah Fitzpatrick, but it cost them Justin Herbert
At the end of the day, a 1-3 team has no business trying to sign Stephon Gilmore. The Steelers can not afford to delude themselves once again that an elite defense alone can win a championship. In this age of football, a superior offense is almost mandatory to win consistently. And that’s not even mentioning that no one knows for sure the defensive player of the year version of Stephon Gilmore even exists anymore. This franchise needs to stay the course, and take their lumps in 2021. They will be far better off in the future if they do.