Steelers Sign 6-Time All-Pro to 2-Year Deal

The Pittsburgh Steelers have been one of the NFL’s busiest teams over the past couple of weeks.

Former Tennessee Vols WR Cordarrelle Patterson lands with new NFL team

They’ve already brought in a pair of big names at quarterback to fix their issues at the position and added one of last season’s All-Pro’s at linebacker.

They’ve also traded away their old starting QB and a former Pro Bowl wide receiver.

On March 25, they made a few more moves as they continued to shape their roster. They signed wide receiver Quez Watkins, quarterback Kyle Allen, and defensive end Dean Lowry.

Now they’ve gone out and added another veteran in free agency.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Steelers are signing former Atlanta Falcons RB/WR Cordarrelle Patterson to a two-year contract.

Patterson’s Versatility on Display for Falcons

Patterson was drafted late in the first round back in 2013 as a wide receiver.

Unfortunately, he never panned out at the position, but he has shown off plenty of other skills during his time in the NFL.

He put all of those skills on display over three years with the Falcons.

His biggest contribution in Atlanta was as a running back, which is a position he hadn’t played much in the NFL previously.

He ended up taking over the team’s starting job from Mike Davis during his first season in Atlanta and ran for 618 yards and 6 touchdowns that year. Patterson also caught 52 passes for 548 yards and 5 TDs.

He also returned 18 kicks for 434 yards.

It was the most productive season of his career.

He entered the next season as the team’s RB1. Patterson ended up sharing the backfield with Tyler Allgeier, but still had a solid year. He ran for a career high 695 yards and 8 touchdowns.

He added 9 kick returns for for 284 yards and a touchdown.

This past season, he lost much of his role in the offense after they drafted Bijan Robinson, but he remained a factor in the return game.

Now he’ll be reunited with Arthur Smith, who was his head coach in Atlanta, and his versatility could be put to good use again with the Steelers.

His Fit With the Steelers

The Steelers got some solid production out of their kick returners in 2023.

As a team they averaged they averaged 23.5 yards per return, but the only player that returned a kick for them in 2023 who is still on the roster is George Pickens. They won’t want him taking on the injury risk of returning kicks in 2024.

Their returners also weren’t nearly as prolific as Patterson has been as a returner in his career. After the Steelers made the signing, Steelers Depot’s Alex Kozora pointed out that Patterson is third all-time in yards per kick return and also holds the record for most kickoff return touchdowns in a career.

He has also earned All-Pro nods in six different seasons as a result of his talents as a kick returner.

That should be his biggest impact in Pittsburgh, especially with the big change to kickoffs in the NFL, but he could also factor in to the offense.

His experience with Smith could mean he’ll be entrusted with some touches on offense.

He is currently the third running back on the Steelers’ depth chart, which is the same spot he was in last season for the Falcons. He had 50 carries for them.

Patterson could also be used a bit in the passing game. The Steelers are expected to pursue a WR2 before the offseason comes to an end, but right now they have a lot of similar options behind Pickens.

Patterson could compete with Watkins, Van Jefferson, and Calvin Austin to carve out a role for himself in the passing game, even if it isn’t a particularly big one.

Much like the other signings they’ve made this week, Patterson isn’t a huge name, but his addition absolutely strengthens the Steelers’ roster.

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