Steelers could target these 2024 free agents who had fifth-year options declined

Isaiah Simmons, Steelers
Isaiah Simmons, Steelers / Michael Owens/GettyImages
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One of the added benefits that clubs see with a first round pick is the fifth-year option that is included in their contract. That allows for the NFL club to decide if they want to pick up that option or allow that player to become a pending free agent if they decline that choice. If that fifth year is added onto the contract, that brings a hefty raise to the player before they become a pending free agent a year later.

Having that choice is always an added benefit and the Steelers have made different decisions with their former first round picks over the past several years. Usually, when you have your fifth year declined, something is not going particularly well with their young NFL career. Either they are a bust or struggling to stay healthy during their first contract.

A former top cornerback prospect could try to renew his career

Things have not gone to plan for C.J. Henderson as he tries to figure out the NFL before hitting free agency in the offseason of 2024. He has not been good during his short career and was shipped off from the Jacksonville Jaguars to the Carolina Panthers in 2021 for nothing too valuable to note. Since the trade went through, this player has still struggled to find any stable ground in the league.

Why would the Steelers want Henderson? Well, he is still only going to be 25 years old after this season and could still have some juice in the tank. Signing this player to challenge for a starting spot on defense would be a mistake, but he could be a nice depth option.

Henderson is still young and could develop a little further. Another change of scenery in a successful environment might be the recipe for better success for this cornerback.