Steelers and Arthur Maulet had an irreparable falling out before his release
By Tommy Jaggi
On May 10th, the Pittsburgh Steelers released cornerback Arthur Maulet out of the blue. Despite signing free agent cornerback Chandon Sullivan on Day 3 of the 2023 NFL Draft, this was a move that was completely unexpected.
Maulet was under contract for the 2023 season where he was set to have a cap number of $2.29 million and a prorated roster bonus of $500,000. At first, it seemed like the Steelers were content moving on from the veteran cornerback -- perhaps with a plan in mind to bring in another slot cornerback. Later, however, it was confirmed that Pittsburgh granted the release of Maulet upon his request after a falling out of sorts had occurred.
Cameron Wolfe of NFL Network confirmed that there was a difference of opinion regarding the language of Maulet's contract. This is one that apparently the two parties were not able to mend, and it ultimately led to his release.
Maulet was visibly frustrated with the situation as he took to Instagram to wave goodbye to the team and fanbase. Here's what ESPN's Brooke Pryor shared on Twitter:
We don't know at this time what the exact language details were that had Arthur Maulet so riled up, but this irreparable fallout now leaves the Pittsburgh Steelers with some major questions at the slot cornerback position.
Do the Steelers need to add another slot cornerback?
After adding Patrick Peterson in free agency and a pair of talented cornerbacks in the NFL Draft with Joey Porter Jr. and Cory Trice Jr., the Steelers suddenly have a pretty deep cornerback room. The problem is that they have almost all outside, boundary cornerbacks and only one player who is known for covering the slot.
That player is former Viking, Chandon Sullivan. Unfortunately, Sullivan's film has not been great over the past few years. Despite taking 886 snaps from the slot CB position last year in Minnesota, Sullivan earned just the 96th best overall grade (103rd-best coverage grade), according to Pro Football Focus.
It's hard to imagine that Pittsburgh will be content going into the season with just one nickel/slot cornerback on their roster. Some have suggested using Patrick Peterson or Tre Norwood in a large capacity in this role, but we have only seen limited snaps from either player in the slot in the past.
With the departure of Maulet, it does feel like the Steelers could now go out and sign a slot cornerback to cover their bases this year. A seasoned veteran like Bryce Callahan would make a lot of sense. However, it remains to be seen if Pittsburgh will go this route. Whatever they decide, there's little question that slot cornerback is the weakest position on the roster at this point in time.