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Steelers Have Tough Decision to Make With Patrick Peterson

The Pittsburgh Steelers could end up making a tough decision with veteran cornerback Patrick Peterson this offseason.



Pittsburgh Steelers CB Patrick Peterson
Pittsburugh Steelers CB Patrick Peterson against the Cincinnati Bengals, Dec. 23, 2023 - Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

This past season, the Pittsburgh Steelers looked to cornerback Patrick Peterson to help replace the outgoing Cam Sutton, who went to Detroit. While he started off slowly, Peterson started to improve down the stretch as he moved around the defensive formation, but with a cap hit of nearly $10 million this upcoming season, it seems unlikely he will play on that number. n other words, Peterson will need to be extended to take a pay cut, or could be released.

That is what Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette believes will happen, too. In his Steelers chat this week, Fittipaldo is along the lines in thinking that Peterson could end up being a cap casualty, too.

“Better than 50/50 unless he takes a pay cut to return,” Fittipaldo wrote. “That’s my analysis. Can’t see them taking on a $10 million cap hit for a guy who can no longer play outside. And you don’t keep that cap hit for a hybrid safety rotational type player.”

Peterson is the only veteran cornerback under contract heading into the 2024 season. Levi Wallace, James Pierre, and Chandon Sullivan are all free agents. Meanwhile, Cory Trice, Darius Rush, and Joey Porter Jr. create plenty of young depth, but they will need some veterans to guide them. The team will likely add in the NFL Draft given how deep this cornerback class is, too, but their decision on Peterson will decide just how urgent their needs are at cornerback in free agency and the NFL Draft.

Peterson is due a $3 million roster bonus in March and is set to earn $3.85 million in 2024 salary, making his cap hit next season $9.775 million. Porter is now clearly the team’s No. 1 outside cornerback, and while Peterson could man the second spot, or play in the slot or at safety, those positions don’t usually come with the same kind of price tag as top guys on the outside.