3 Steelers free agents-to-be who have earned new contracts in 2022
By Tommy Jaggi
Steelers CB Ahkello Witherspoon
In the first half of the season, it would have been impossible to make a case for re-signing cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon to a contract extension. After trading a fifth-round pick to the Seattle Seahawks for his services on a one-year rental, Witherspoon was an utter disappointment when he stepped onto the football field. Most of the time, however, he couldn’t even earn a helmet on gameday.
After getting his feet wet, Witherspoon has become one of the most notable players in the secondary with some very strong performances late in the season. While signing him to a big, new deal is still a risk, he has the length, athleticism, and upside to be a stating-caliber cornerback in this league.
Meanwhile, the collection of Pittsburgh cornerbacks have really struggled this year and losing Steven Nelson and Mike Hilton in free agency in 2021 proved to be bigger than most fans expected. Joe Haden is likely done with the team following the season, while James Pierre, Cameron Sutton, and Justin Layne have been very underwhelming.
The 2022 free-agent class doesn’t look good at the cornerback position outside of J.C. Jackson (who could be retained by New England), and the Steelers need to go into the 2022 draft with at least one quality option at the position. Re-signing Witherspoon makes sense.