As we inch closer to the end of the 2023 season, it has not been hard to identify some of the biggest issues on the Pittsburgh Steelers roster. This team has gotten disappointing play out of some of their recent draft picks, while a few free-agent signings have yet to earn their paychecks from the team.
Several of these players already have fans and bloggers detailing what the team could do to replace them during the 2024 offseason. One thing the Steelers do have going for them is that they have the highest percentage of snaps played so far this season set to return on their 2024 roster.
Unfortunately, this might not be a good thing in their case, and there are plenty of players who need to hit the road early in 2024. These four players are under contract for at least one more season, but their performance in 2023 shows why they are playing their way off the Pittsburgh Steelers' plans for the new year.
1. Patrick Peterson, Cornerback
Eventually, you reach a point where a player's past reputation (no matter how impressive) no longer is relevant. We are well past that when it comes to veteran cornerback, Patrick Peterson. This is a player who has managed to play 13 seasons in the NFL and has an impressive resume that could even warrant Hall of Fame consideration.
But at age 33 in Year 13, Peterson's play has fallen off a cliff. The former three-time First-Team All-Pro cornerback opened his career earning 8 straight Pro Bowl honors, but his play gradually went downhill in his late 20s and early 30s. Now with the Steelers, Peterson should no longer be a cornerback who should be starting on an NFL roster.
What's worse is that Pittsburgh gave the aging veteran a two-year contract. Peterson is set to have a cap hit of over $9.77 million next season, per Over the Cap, and the team would be forced to eat nearly $3 million in dead money to get out of his deal in 2024.
However, this is what is likely to happen based on his unspectacular performance. Mike Tomlin should learn rather quickly that experience and reputation only mean so much if your secondary is old and slow. I highly doubt Patrick Peterson will be part of the Steelers' future plans.