On paper, the Pittsburgh Steelers weren't nearly as good as their record suggested at times during the 2023 season, but as he typically does, Mike Tomlin was able to keep his team competitive in just about every game. Last offseason, fans questioned whether or not throwing a huge sum of money at Alex Highsmith would be worth it. The answer has been a resounding 'yes'.
Highsmith and T.J. Watt have been well worth the combined $45 million Pittsburgh is dishing out at the position, and these two deserve a lion's share of the credit for the team's success in 2023. Unfortunately, not all money has been well spent. These four players robbed the Steelers blind with their bad contracts this season.
1. CB Patrick Peterson
Most fans loved the Patrick Peterson signing early in the 2023 free agency period, but I had a hard time getting on board. I have done extensive research on cornerback shelf life, and it was unreasonable to expect the 33-year-old to have a great season in Pittsburgh.
Sadly, we can't even say that Peterson has given the Steelers 'good' play this year. The veteran has been very up and down all seasons. He has had some big moments (like the tipped pass in the endzone to force the game-winning interception), but has also been a step slow and has allowed some huge plays this year.
Peterson was the epitome of an average NFL cornerback this season. We wouldn't have much to complain about if this didn't come with a 2-year, $14 million contract attached. The Steelers elected to give Peterson a small base salary in 2023, but they will feel the effects of this when they have to cut him next offseason and take a dead money hit. The veteran and former All-Pro cornerback hasn't come close to playing up to his pricey contract.
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