Steelers cut Arthur Maulet, slot cornerback remains a big question mark

Steelers, Arthur Maulet
Steelers, Arthur Maulet / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

One of the biggest glaring needs that the Pittsburgh Steelers chose not to invest in this offseason was the slot cornerback position. Now the Steelers made a roster move that creates more questions than answers.

On May 10th, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported that Pittsburgh is releasing Arthur Maulet. Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette quickly confirmed his release from the organization.

After losing a slot-capable cornerback (and their best CB on the roster) in Cameron Sutton, the Steelers really needed to find an answer at the nickel cornerback position. On Day three of the NFL Draft, Pittsburgh signed veteran Chandon Sullivan. The former Viking has lots of experience covering the slot, but like Maulet, the results have been underwhelming.

Last year, both Maulet and Sullivan graded out 90th or worse among 118 qualifying NFL cornerbacks, according to Pro Football Focus. Now Maulet is gone and Sullivan is the only option with any sort of notable experience covering the slot.

In 2022, Maulet had a whopping 420 snaps from the slot CB position, and Sutton counted for an additional 185 snaps covering the slot. Now both of their top slot CB options are gone, and the Steelers are left with some major questions.

What is the Steelers answer at slot cornerback?

Right now, it's really hard to get a good feel for what the Steelers intend to do when it comes to covering the slot this year. Though Maulet certainly wasn't a premier slot CB in terms of coverage ability, he at least had experience at the position.

Based on Pittsburgh's current roster construction, it's assumed that newcomer, Chandon Sullivan, will take his place. Sullivan did have a substantial 886 snaps at slot CB last season, but his 53.7 coverage grade was even worse than Maulet's and leaves a lot to be desired.

Some have flirted with the idea of moving a seasoned Patrick Peterson to the slot -- especially now that the team doubled up on boundary cornerbacks with Joey Porter Jr. and Cory Trice Jr. But this seems very unlikely, given the fact that Peterson played just 8 snaps here with the Vikings last year (1,087 came out wide).

Outside of Sullivan, the Steelers have a team solely comprised of long, boundary cornerbacks with Peterson, Porter, Trice, Ahkello Witherspoon, Levi Wallace, and James Pierre. At the moment, there doesn't seem like another viable option on the team at slot CB (or even a depth option, for that matter).

Next. Early 53-man roster predictions for Steelers after the NFL Draft. dark

The decision to release Arthur Maulet could mean that the Steelers are eyeing someone else to bring in. If Sullivan ends up being the guy to fill that role in Pittsburgh this year, we need to hope that he plays much better than he has the past few seasons in Minnesota, as the film simply isn't very good. Let's hope Omar Khan has a plan here.