Cameron Sutton was a third-round pick for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He has spent the past four seasons as a versatile depth defender in their defense. He has played outside, slot, and safety for the Steelers. Now, he is set to enter free agency. Is Cameron Sutton the underappreciated defender that the Chicago Bears should go out and pay, or is there a reason many of you are learning about Cam Sutton today for the first time?
Projected Contract For Cameron Sutton in NFL Free Agency
There is a bit of a consensus around what the worth of Sutton could be on an open market. Over the cap has him valued at about $2.6 million per year. Meanwhile, PFF has him valued at $2.75 million per year. That is a pretty clear, and reasonable price.
However, spotrac has him projected to see closer to $7 million on an open market. That will certainly sway the Chicago Bears interest one way or the other. $2 million may be low, but $7 million is a lot for an unproven veteran.
Chicago Bears should sign Cameron Sutton in NFL Free Agency
Cameron Sutton is like killing a few birds with one stone. On one hand, he could be viewed as an upgrade on Buster Skrine. His slot coverage was better. The Bears will save about $3 million letting Skrine go and could offer that $3 million to Sutton.
However, beyond that Sutton can also slide into the box and take on dime linebacker duties, essentially pushing out Deon Bush, who is a free agent. The Bears have always struggled with the dime spot, and have relied on Danny Trevathan in coverage too often.
Bush is a free agent but the Bears do have Duke Shelley signed, who can man the slot. So, the Bears can look at Sutton as their starter at slot corner. However, when they roll to dime, Sutton can kick to the linebacker spot, and Shelley can jump on the field as a slot.
Most of these slot corners would block the progression of Shelley, but Sutton would not. Beyond that, in an emergency, he plays outside too. His versatility and smarts is undervalued, and that is why the Steelers have put him in these spots.
Chicago Bears should pass on signing Cameron Sutton in free agency
Just because he can play outside, does not mean he should. Stefon Diggs put him in a blender, and his worst play has typically come on the outside. With the increased playing time, Sutton also missed a career-high nine tackles, per PFF. That is a by-product of being in the box.
While the Chicago Bears have had issues with Danny Trevathan and Deon Bush, the Steelers have had the same issue with Vince Williams Cam Sutton. When Sutton steps in, teams run, and they attack Williams in coverage. Teams will challenge Sutton, who has never started a full season, to step up his physicality.
Of course, it is much easier to pay Sutton $2 million, but once we get over $5 million, we are talking about a bigger bet on an unproven player.