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Steelers Not Operating Like Chandon Sullivan or Patrick Peterson Return Will Happen

The Pittsburgh Steelers have an insurance policy if they can not land a quality cornerback in the 2024 NFL Draft.



Pittsburgh Steelers CB Patrick Peterson
Pittsburgh Steelers corner Patrick Peterson in a game against the Arizona Cardinals on Dec. 3, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

PITTSBURGH — 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 to make a critical decision 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.

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 several safeties 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.

But the team is not operating like those guys are on the team or that they will return to the group. Regardless, there is a known factor that Sullivan and Peterson remain free agents and could be insurance.

“You know, they’re not a part of the team right now. So, until they’re a part of the team, you know, we have to look at every avenue to try to improve the position and add competition and address the needs,” Khan said.

Peterson 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. But that assumption of a return will only exist if the Steelers do not find an obvious replacement for either player.

Alan Saunders provided reporting from Pittsburgh