5 free agents the Steelers have to sign in 2021 offseason

Desmond King #33 of the Tennessee Titans (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Desmond King #33 of the Tennessee Titans (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) /
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Cornerback Desmond King II #33 of the Tennessee Titans (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

Desmond King

Had you said that Desmond King would be the lesser of Mike Hilton and Cameron Sutton heading into free agency two years ago, anyone would have laughed. King had an extremely strong first two seasons in the league, but time has not been kind to him, unfortunately. The past two years have seen some regression from the former star slot corner. He did play better while with the Titans, but he seems to have lost some of that shimmer that he had early in his career.

That said, if the Steelers can’t afford either Hilton or Sutton, King could be a great replacement in the slot. While not the physical run defender that Hilton is, King is more adept in coverage like Sutton is. This would keep their pass coverage strong despite losing two of their top corners in free agency. King can hold his own still, and he would be mighty tempting for the Steelers if the other options are too expensive.

On Spotrac, King currently has a value of 6.8 million dollars per season. While he could hit that number, he is entering a rather crowded free agency group, particularly at the slot position. If the Steelers could get him closer to 4-5 million on a two-year deal, he could have a small-cap hit in year one and still be counted on to start. While getting Hilton or Sutton back would be the ideal option, King would be a great backup plan if that doesn’t happen.

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Even with the Steelers not having a lot of cap space, the early signs have been good that the Steelers won’t be in as dire of a situation as once thought. While they won’t be huge players, the team should still be able to make a few smaller deals. Keep all of the names above in mind as potential fits with the Steelers.