Alejandro Villanueva on Mike Hilton: Betting on yourself usually works

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Steelers cornerback Mike Hilton said recently that he’s not planning to skip any of training camp, but he also hasn’t budged from his stance of looking for a contract beyond the $645,000 he’d be due to make if he signed his exclusive rights free agent tender from the team.

Players in that position rarely wind up landing new deals, but Hilton doesn’t have to look far to find one that did. Steelers left tackle Alejandro Villanueva got a four-year, $24 million deal in 2017 when he refused to sign his ERFA tender. Villanueva continued to work out with the team and has spoken to Hilton about his situation this offseason.

The nature of those talks hasn’t been disclosed, but Villanueva said, via Jeremy Fowler of, that “betting on yourself, in this business, usually works.”

“You don’t want to have a guy in the locker room who’s not happy with his contract, especially when he has the backing of his teammates,” Villanueva said. “He’s been about it the right way. He’s shown up every single day, not making it a big deal. For that, he gets a lot of respect from all of us.”

Hilton is an ERFA because he was a practice squad player in 2016 and did not accrue a season toward free agency. He has played in 31 games over the last two seasons as the top slot corner in Pittsburgh.

11 responses to “Alejandro Villanueva on Mike Hilton: Betting on yourself usually works

  1. I like Hilton and very much appreciate what he brings to the Steelers. However, he is fairly average and the Steelers have several younger players that they may decide to give a chance if Hilton doesn’t sign his contract. I’m pretty sure that a player can’t attend training camp without a signed contract so if Hilton keeps refusing to sign he may lose his chance to a younger player who has already signed.

    Remember Mike, refusing to sign worked for Villanueva, but it didn’t work out so well for Leveon Bell.

    Full disclosure: With me it has always turned up snake eyes.


    So that explains why you hate Bens success…..cheer up we forgive….oh wait no we don’t.

  3. Hilton is actually pretty good. Most people outside Pittsburgh won’t notice but he does a lot of things well. The Steelers haven’t been able to find good corners and while he’s not a shutdown guy on the outside, he plays very well and can even do a great job blitzing.

  4. If they found out what years players played lights out. Vs years they killed clubs cap space. 🤔

  5. PFF did an article on Hilton last week. They rated him as one of NFL’s best slot corners, and far higher than any other DB on the Steelers (including Hayden). Sign him.

  6. Another stick of dynamite in the ever exploding Steelers. Though it shouldn’t matter much. Hard to commit arson on a building that’s already burned to the ground.

  7. How did not signing a contract not work out for Bell? He is just signed a new massive contract with the Jets and he didn’t have to touch the ball 200+ times last year. Got a little rest and is ready to move on. Sounds like he won to me. Also the Steelers got nothing in return for him. Sounds like they lost.

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