Mike Tannenbaum explains why Steelers will struggle this season. (0:55).
PITTSBURGH -- The Steelers acquired Ahkello Witherspoon from the Seattle Seahawks in a trade that strengthened the position after a 53-man roster was lacking cornerbacks. Sources confirmed this to ESPN on Friday.
Sources claim that Seattle will receive a fifth-round selection in 2023.
In March, Witherspoon, 26 years old, signed a $4 million, one-year deal with the Seahawks to compete for the position of starting left cornerback. However, D.J. Reed switched from the right side to the left, making Witherspoon an attractive trade candidate. Only $1.5 million of Reed's salary is paid to the Steelers.
NFL Network reported the trade first.
In 2017, San Francisco took Witherspoon in the third round. He played 33 of his 47 career games for the 49ers, and was selected in the fourth round. He had 116 tackles and four interceptions, as well as 24 passes defense.
Following cuts, the Steelers had only four cornerbacks remaining on their 53-man roster: Cam Sutton (James Pierre), Justin Layne, Joe Haden, and Justin Layne. After moving three players to injured reserve, they added Arthur Maulet as an additional cornerback. Keith Butler, the defensive coordinator, expressed concern about starting the season with so few corners.
Butler stated, "I don’t believe anybody is comfortable with four cornerbacks." We have guys who can play different roles. Cam is capable of playing different positions. Cam can play the nickel. He has demonstrated that he is capable of playing in preseason.
"We believe we are able to play them in other positions right now. We'll see what happens if someone becomes available in never-never Land.
Witherspoon provides Steelers depth at the corner, behind veteran Haden and Sutton. Witherspoon was the likely slot corner after Mike Hilton's departure. Pierre, an undrafted free agent, was to take the spot of Haden. Witherspoon's extensive experience and youth in the outside corner make it a promising position.
To make space for Witherspoon, the Steelers released Henry Mondeaux, a defensive lineman.