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The Steelers were busier this offseason than most years. They added potential starters, one via trade, and they also traded off two players. After trading Sammie Coates to the Cleveland Browns, the Steelers traded starting cornerback Ross Cockrell to the New York Giants.
Steelers trade Ross Cockrell to New York Giants
When the Steelers traded for Joe Haden, it became a lock that Cockrell would released. Yes, Cockrell was a starter last season. However, the team had been rotating him with Coty Sensabaugh all offseason. Sensabaugh is signed on for 2018, he can play special teams and he can play in the slot. Cockrell is a free agent next season and had no dead money if he was released. This was a no brainer decision.
However, Cockrell does have some value. While most of the fan base was not his biggest fan, he rated as the 27th best cornerback in the NFL via the Pro Football Focus grading. He is limited, and will not make game changing plays or breakups. However, he did a good job of staying in his lane and making tackles.
It was enough to catch the Giants attention. The Giants have three legitimate cornerbacks in Janoris Jenkins, Eli Apple, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. However, they were struggling with depth at cornerback. All three have suffered injuries in their careers so adding a player with the ability of Cockrell seems very necessary.
It was a conditional draft pick and likely will wind up being based on playing time and roster status. Still, the Steelers have to look at it as a free roll of the dice because Cockrell was going to be gone anyway. They still get to root for Cockrell and wish him the best and it only helps their draft considerations if the draft does equal something.