There’s only so much you can do when your head is barely above water. That’s where the Pittsburgh Steelers are in terms of the salary cap so no one that pays a lick of attention should be surprised that that they were unable to keep two more guys on the team. Both Defensive Tackle Tyson Alualu and Cornerback Mike Hilton are signing elsewhere.
Alualu will return to the team that drafted him in the first round many years ago as he signs a two-year, $6 million deal to play for the Jacksonville Jaguars. I cannot state enough how important he was to the Steelers’ defensive line in recent years as both a reserve and starter. This is a tough loss because of those reasons but also because it seemed like him staying would was almost a given.
For Hilton, it was a simple matter of math. Pittsburgh needed to choose between he and Cam Sutton and with Sutton signing yesterday, the writing was on the wall. While Hilton is a very good tackler and blitzer, he is not nearly as strong in coverage as Sutton is. In the NFL right now, if you can’t cover, then you can’t compete and that’s why Sutton was the clear choice to remain in the Steel City.
Hilton’s contract numbers have yet to be announced as of this writing.
With Dupree off to Tennessee, Alualu to the Jags and Hilton to the Bengals, the Steelers have lost a big chunk of their defense which was good last year but not where it was a year prior. If I could ponder for a moment, I wonder if the Steelers weren’t ready to move on from Hilton and Alualu. I say this because there are other roster moves that could have been made that would have freed up the money necessary to sign Alualu at the very least. We must remember that what we see and perceive as fans is not always what the organization sees.
These developments are obviously hitting Steelers Nation hard but the news is likely to get worse. JuJu Smith-Schuster’s fate has yet to be announced yet we all know it’s coming. For Hilton and Alualu it’s off to more money so good for them. Is it off to more success? The jury will remain out on that.