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Steelers Curiously among Favorites to Sign Top DBs Gilmore, Howard, Simmons

The Pittsburgh Steelers are among the favorites to sign top free agent defensive backs Stephon Gilmore, Xavien Howard and Justin Simmons.

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Pittsburgh Steelers FA Target Xavien Howard
Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard (25) celebrates after making an interception against the Pittsburgh Steelers in an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 28, 2019, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright)

The Pittsburgh Steelers secondary appears to be largely set for the 2024 since the club added slot cornerback Cam Sutton to the mix earlier this spring.

Sutton, Donte Jackson, Joey Porter Jr., Minkah Fitzpatrick and DeShon Elliott should figure to be the team’s five secondary starters, at least pending Sutton’s potential suspension following his domestic violence arrest earlier this offseason.

Cory Trice Jr., Darius Rush, Josiah Scott, Beanie Bishop, Damontae Kazee, Miles Killebrew and Ryan Watts all appear to be poised to provide quality depth.

Pittsburgh Steelers CB Cam Sutton

Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Cam Sutton during minicamp on June 12, 2024. — Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

But despite all of that, the betting market likes the Steelers’ chances of signing another defensive back — and some of the top ones on the open market.

According to odds posted this week by SportsBetting.ag, the Steelers are among the favorites to land each of the top defensive backs remaining on the open market. The Steelers have 20/1 odds to sign former All-Pro cornerback Stephon Gilmore, 22/1 odds to land All-Pro cornerback Xavien Howard and 25/1 odds to sign All-Pro safety Justin Simmons.

Gilmore, 33, played all 17 games for the Dallas Cowboys last season after being traded for a fifth-round pick last March. He set a career high with 68 tackles and added 13 passes defended and two interceptions. He earned a little over $10 million last season.

Howard, 31, was released by the Miami Dolphins in March to avoid paying him a $7 million roster bonus. The two-time All-Pro played 13 games in 2023, but missed Miami’s last two regular-season games and playoff loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. He says he’s fully cleared, but has yet to find a new home amid revenge porn allegations.

Pittsburgh Steelers Free Agent Target Denver Broncos Safety Justin Simmons

Denver Broncos safety Justin Simmons (31) before an NFL football game in Empower Field at Mile High Sunday, Dec. 24, 2023, in Denver. (AP Photo/Geneva Heffernan)

Simmons, 30, has been an All-Pro for four of the last five seasons, but was waived by the Denver Broncos this March to save $14.5 million. He recorded 70 tackles and had eight pass breakups and three interceptions for the Broncos last season.

The New York Giants have the best odds of landing Howard at 4/1, followed by the Jacksonville Jaguars (5/1), Chicago Bears (6/1), Baltimore Ravens (8/1) and Houston Texans (9/1).

The Jaguars are at the top of the board for Howard at 4/1, with the Bears (6/1), Giants (7/1), Ravens (8/1) and Texans (9/1) all also in the top five for the other top cornerback on the board.

For Simmons, the Giants are again favored at 4/1, with the Philadelphia Eagles (6/1), Buffalo Bills (8/1), Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers (9/1) all trailing.

The Steelers have above-average odds to land all three is curious, especially considering the team has a much more obvious need at wide receiver, but they are 40/1 long shots to sign the top free agent wide receiver, Michael Thomas.