Lions To Sign CB Cameron Sutton

Ending last season with the NFL’s worst-ranked defense, the Lions are adding one of the top cornerbacks available. They are picking up former Steelers corner Cameron Sutton, Ian Rapoport of tweets.

Sutton, who has spent his entire career in Pittsburgh, will head to Detroit on a three-year, $33MM deal featuring $22.5MM guaranteed. Aaron Wilson of reports (via Twitter) that Sutton will also receive a $10.9MM signing bonus.

A former third-round pick, Sutton will do far better on his third NFL contract compared to his second. He just finished out a two-year, $9MM deal — agreed to just prior to free agency in 2021. The Steelers received quality work from Sutton last season; he was by far their most dependable corner. Sutton finished in the top five in passer rating allowed as the closest defender, per Next Gen Stats, last season (among corners) and ended the year with a career-high 15 passes defensed.

The Lions, meanwhile, ranked 30th in pass defense and have not been able to rely on Bob Quinn-era draftee Jeff Okudah just yet. The new addition will now be a centerpiece player for Aaron Glenn‘s defense in 2023. The seventh-year veteran will attempt to fill a void on the outside in Detroit, though Sutton also brings extensive slot experience as well. That will give Glenn options as he attempts to pick up the pieces ahead of his third season as DC.

Detroit did not roster a cornerback that ranked inside Pro Football Focus’ top 60 at the position last season. Despite Okudah being the highest-drafted corner (No. 3 overall) since 1997, he has not shown sufficient consistency. The team is almost definitely targeting upgrades at other defensive positions as well, though Sutton will qualify as a significant improvement at corner.

The Steelers have T.J. Watt and Minkah Fitzpatrick tied to top-market deals at their respective positions, and Cameron Heyward is on an upper-tier interior defensive line pact as well. The team has not devoted much in the way of financial resources to the cornerback spot since passing on a third Joe Haden contract last year. Pittsburgh rolled into the 2022 season with no corner tied to a deal north of $4.5MM per year. The team has since signed Patrick Peterson to a two-year agreement, but it can be assumed the aging veteran’s contract will not qualify as a high-end accord.

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