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Would Chandon Sullivan be a Better Option Than Cam Sutton or Patrick Peterson?

Is Chandon Sullivan a better option than Patrick Peterson or Cam Sutton for the Pittsburgh Steelers slot cornerback job?

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Steelers Sullivan Riley
Pittsburgh Steelers slot cornerbacks Elijah Riley and Chandon Sullivan celebrate an interception, Aug. 19, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

The Pittsburgh Steelers have a lot of decisions to make at cornerback. Levi Wallace, James Pierre, and Chandon Sullivan are free agents and have signed elsewhere or remain out on the market. Meanwhile, Patrick Peterson will have a critical decision to make about his next stop, too. But Sullivan might be the most interesting player of the bunch just because of how strong he came on at the end of the season. He did not play that much, but when he was asked to play more due to Peterson’s move to safety, he played well. Still, the team has explored a reunion with Cam Sutton, too.

In an interview with Ron Lippock, Sullivan discussed his exit interview with the team, and in that exit interview, they said they would love to do business with him.

“I felt like I did the most with the opportunities I had. I didn’t play as many snaps as I’m used to – that’s just how it ended up schematically. But I took advantage of the opportunities I had on defense and on special teams,” Sullivan said. “I hadn’t played a lot on special teams before but I think I played well there. The team told me before I left that they would like to do more business with me, but who knows. We know how the business of the NFL can be. But no stress – I know I’ll end up playing somewhere.”

The Steelers used Peterson in the slot, at outside corner, and at safety in 2023. Peterson moved to safety to help deal with a glut of injuries at the position. Now healthy, the Steelers have a few defensive backs under contract for 2024, with the trio of Minkah Fitzpatrick, Damontae Kazee, and Joey Porter Jr. set to return as things stand at the moment. But Sullivan could be an interesting player to bring back. He was a core special teamer, and even though he only played about 15 snaps per game, gave Pittsburgh some underneath aggression when they wanted him to do that.

Peterson himself could be due for a return. With a $9.8 million cap hit, he was one of the players who provided the team with substantial salary cap relief with his release, but a reunion in not out of the question. Sullivan could at least provide depth and competition to that room as the Steelers try to sort out how they will address it all moving forward. But the door on Sullivan returning to the team does not seem closed.

Sullivan plays with an edge and grew as the season went along a year ago. His stats in coverage were shaky in most of his stops, but Sullivan clamped down well for the Steelers down the stretch, helping the team solidify its secondary during their three-game winning streak to push to the playoffs.

He is younger and more athletic than someone like Peterson and does not have the off-field questions that someone like Sutton does. Whether Pittsburgh ends up making a move to sign him is up in the air, considering they have three options of former Steelers, including Sullivan, that they could pick from on the open market. But Sullivan’s strong play down the stretch should state his case to be one of the players brought in for that job.