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Steelers CB Patrick Peterson Unsure of Future in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Patrick Peterson wants to return but the team will ultimately make the decision if he will be back in 2024.



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 Steelers cornerback Patrick Peterson is coming back for 2024, but it might not be with Pittsburgh. On the All Things Covered Podcast, Peterson discussed his upcoming offseason and confirmed that he expressed to the Steelers front office and head coach Mike Tomlin that he wants to return, but it will ultimately be their decision if he is back.

“You know I want to (keep playing). The question is if the Steelers want me to finish with them,” Peterson said. “Me and Coach Tomlin had a great conversation after the season. Obviously, I know that you have to go through your evaluations in the draft and free agency and things like that, but for me, what I was able to do in Year 13 playing different positions, coming into a new environment. I felt my season was very successful playing 97 percent of my snaps.”

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.

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 price tag as top guys on the outside.

Peterson indicated he would like to play a significant amount of snaps rather than push into a reserve role. And for his cap hit, that is not feasible. More than that, Peterson is aware of the cap implications of his contract. And the decision to retain Peterson will be made at some point within the next point with roster bonuses due.