Steelers sign cornerback Ross Cockrell to one-year contract extension
January 22, 2016 11:27 PM
Steelers' Ross Cockrell breaks up pass intended for the Cleveland Browns' Terrelle Pryor at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio.
By Ray Fittipaldo / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The Steelers Friday signed cornerback Ross Cockrell to a one-year contract extension and signed quarterback Dustin Vaughan to a futures contract.
The Steelers signed Cockrell in September after the Buffalo Bills released him after training camp and he became an immediate contributor when starter Cortez Allen exited the Steelers lineup with a knee injury.
Cockrell played in 15 games, including seven starts, and recorded two interceptions and 11 pass break-ups. He intercepted passes against Baltimore and Oakland in the regular season and recovered the fumble late in the fourth quarter of the Steelers’ victory against Cincinnati in the wild-card round of the playoffs.
Cockrell played 62 percent of the defensive snaps, the third most on the team among cornerbacks. He is one of only four cornerbacks under contract for next season. Allen is one of them, but he is a candidate to be released after struggling to live up to the $25 million contract extension he signed in 2014.
The others are rookies Senquez Golson and Doran Grant. Golson, the team’s second-round pick in 2015, missed the season with a shoulder injury, but he is expected to ascend to a major role in the defensive backfield next season. Grant, the team’s fourth-round pick in 2015, spent half the season on the practice squad before being elevated to the active roster. He is a candidate to move to safety, coach Mike Tomlin said Wednesday at his season-ending news conference.
Starters William Gay and Antwon Blake played 96 and 83 percent of the snaps. Both are unrestricted free agents.
Vaughan, who played in college at West Texas A&M, spent part of the 2015 season on Buffalo’s practice squad. He was Dallas’ No. 3 quarterback in 2014.
Ray Fittipaldo: email@example.com and Twitter @rayfitt1.
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