The Steelers have placed a second-round tender on restricted free agent cornerback Mike Hilton, securing his rights for the 2020 season, his agent told Adam Schefter of ESPN.
Hilton remains a restricted free agent. If another team wishes to sign him, they can sign him to an offer sheet, at which point the Steelers could match it or allow him to sign elsewhere and receive that team’s second-round 2021 draft pick in compensation.
The tender contract is a one-year offer for $3.259 million. Hilton can either sign the tender or he and the Steelers can negotiate a long-term contract.
The second-round tender is the middle option of the three the Steelers had available to them. A first-round tender would have come with a $4.641 million contract. An original round tender would have paid $2.133, but would have netted the Steelers only a seventh-round draft pick because Hilton joined the team as an undrafted free agent in 2016.
Hilton, 26, has become a reliable presence in the Steelers’ sub-package defenses, particularly as the best run-stopper of the Steelers’ options at slot cornerback.
In 2019, Hilton made a career-high eight starts while playing in all 16 games and secured 65 tackles, six tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. Hilton also had an interception, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
Hilton will re-join fellow slot corner Cameron Sutton and starters Joe Haden and Steven Nelson as the Steelers bring back all four of their top options at the position from last season.