When looking at the list of upcoming Steelers free agents, Cam Sutton far and away the most important player. It seems like a no-brainer that Pittsburgh would want him back. The price tag however will be far more significant than most think. Is this a player worth big time number one corner money? We make the case for, and against re-signing Cam Sutton….
The case FOR:
Cam Sutton took a pretty significant leap in 2022. He became this team’s unquestioned number one corner. Sutton had 43 tackles, 3 interceptions, and 15 passes defended this past season. That passes defended stat is significant because it ranked him 8th overall in the entire league. Behind names like Sauce Gardner (20), Jalen Ramsey (18), and James Bradberry (17).
Those numbers alone make Cam Sutton immensely valuable to a Steelers team who is in constant search for viable corner play. What’s left behind should Sutton walk is an extremely concerning group heading into 2023. The only other corner certain to return next season is Levi Wallace. It is now a forgone conclusion that the William Jackson III experiment is over. The same can be said of Akhello Witherspoon as well. With no one on the roster to replace him, and an inability to draft the position whatsoever, letting Cam Sutton get away seems inconceivable.
The case AGAINST:
No one can deny that Cam Sutton has turned himself into a very good corner in this league. The question now is how good? When you think number one NFL corner backs, you think of names like Jalen Ramsey, Jaire Alexander, and Marshon Lattimore. You think of elite athletes with blazing speed who can shut down number one receivers. As good as Cam Sutton has become, he’s not that.
Here in lies the problem the Steelers will face. You can make a very good case that Sutton is the number one free agent at the corner back position this off-season. When you factor in age, and production he stands tall against a list with Marcus Peters, James Bradberry, and Patrick Peterson. At the very least, he will be among the top three paid corners in this class.
Being a top three corner will put Cam Sutton in the $14-$17 million per season range. There are some pretty average corners making $10 to $13 million per season. All things considered, the starting point for any contract negotiation with this player will have to be at $14 million at a minimum. https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/2022/07/27/highest-paid-nfl-cornerbacks-cb-2022/10087712002/
In other words, he will be making number one corner money. Is Cam Sutton a number one corner worthy of that much valuable cap space? That is a tough decision this front office is surely wrestling with as we speak.
The Steelers front office is backed into a corner with this one (excuse the pun). They almost have no choice but to do everything possible to get Cam Sutton re-signed this off-season. Corner is one of this team’s biggest needs, so they can not afford to let their best one walk. Top five Steelers draft needs for 2023
When it comes to the list of Steelers free agents, Cam Sutton is the most difficult decision this team will face. There is a real danger is giving elite money to non-elite players. More often than not this sinks most sports franchises. If it were up to us, we would have to pass on paying this kind of money for a borderline number one corner. We would prefer to spend an extra five to six million on a true shut down corner, or just try to draft one in round one. Our feeling is this team will pay Sutton, and retain him however.
Too bad they only did a short term deal when deciding to keep Cam and let Hilton go in FA. I would have made the same choice but also admit that the the team will need to find a way to make up for the blitz production that Hilton brought to the alot.