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ESPN Tabs Ex-Steelers CB as Ideal Free Agent Target for Team

Could the Pittsburgh Steelers make a reunion with former cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon make sense? One ESPN analyst thinks so.

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Steelers Ahkello Witherspoon
Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon (25) during practice at Heinz Field preparing for a Wild Card Round matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs, Friday, Jan. 14, 2022 in Pittsburgh, PA. (Karl Roser / Pittsburgh Steelers)

The Pittsburgh Steelers might not be done at cornerback? That’s what ESPN analyst Aaron Schatz believes should happen for the team. He points to a familiar face as the solution — Ahkello Witherspoon. Most will assume that the Steelers are done following their signing of Cam Sutton, but Schatz thinks Witherspoon could be excellent depth.

Even with the arrival of Cameron Sutton to play in the slot, the Steelers could still use more veteran depth at corner,” Schatz wrote. “Witherspoon, a former Steeler, was surprisingly good for the Rams last season – he ranked 18th in success rate in coverage and 37th in coverage DVOA with 14 passes defended. He will likely be inexpensive to sign, as he’s 29 years old and could back up all three Steelers starters.”

Steelers DB Ahkello Witherspoon

Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon (25) during practice at Heinz Field preparing for a Wild Card Round matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs, Friday, Jan. 14, 2022 in Pittsburgh, PA. (Karl Roser / Pittsburgh Steelers)

Witherspoon had a bounce-back season for the Rams after the Steelers cut him. He dealt with a nagging hamstring while with Pittsburgh in the first year of a two-year deal, and when he did play, it did not yield fruitful results for the Steelers. However, he tore after the team traded for Witherspoon from the Seattle Seahawks. That is where he earned the contract as a sticky man coverage player with boom-or-bust tendencies.

And generally, that is what it came down to for Witherspoon in San Francisco, Pittsburgh, and Los Angeles. However, Witherspoon’s return to Pittsburgh is unlikely. The Steelers have Cory Trice and Darius Rush, who came on strong near the end of the minicamp, and they do not want to shut off the roster space or path for those young guys to get playing time. So, expect Pittsburgh to stand pat at cornerback, essentially.

Meanwhile, Witherspoon should find a home soon enough. He played well for the Rams, and despite his up-and-down career, he provides a lot of value in a position with significant scarcity across the NFL.