5 of the Steelers worst moves during the 2021 NFL offseason

Steven Nelson #22 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Steven Nelson #22 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Mike Hilton #28 of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

Steelers let Hilton go

Now, to be fair, not many people expected Mike Hilton to return to the Steelers this offseason. He has developed into one of, if not the, best slot cornerbacks in the league. His unique style of play makes him a weapon for a defense to use and offenses to try and scheme around. It seemed like he had a realistic shot to get 8-10 million a season and become the highest-paid slot corner in the league.

The Bengals got him for a bargain though, as he is only earning an average of 6 million dollars a season and he is easily cut after this year if need be. The fact his market value was so much less than what was expected means the Steelers could have realistically brought him back. On a deal structured how the team typically does (minimum salary year one and a signing bonus around what the contract would average out at), he could have been signed and would have had a first-year cap hit of around 2.5 million in year one.

Had the team still cut Nelson and, once again, not signed either Haeg or Wormley, they would be in an identical cap situation as they are right now, and the roster would be in better shape. Hilton would resume his role as slot corner while Cameron Sutton would become the outside starter opposite of Haden. Had his deal been for much more, this narrative would be different, but the Steelers really made a big mistake by not getting Hilton back at such a reasonable rate.

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While the Steelers had limited resources to work with this offseason and a slew of pending free agents, they did their best to get a complete roster put together before training camp begins. While most of the moves aren’t noteworthy, these five certainly seem the most puzzling. Despite the good moves they made, the Steelers offseason was far from perfect as evident by these five decisions.