Nov 17, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (81) catches a pass and runs for a touchdown past Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor (24) during the first half at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Steelers Ike Taylor Contract Details Emerge, What It Means

Late Monday afternoon, the Pittsburgh Steelers inked a new deal with veteran corner Ike Taylor.  Swaggin U appeared pretty happy about it as he went to Twitter with the announcement.

The Steelers were poised to offer Taylor a hefty pay cut to stay with the Steelers in 2014 or hand him his walking papers.  Taylor’s cap hit was a very bloated $11+ million; money the Steelers desperately need as they need the space to even have a chance to compete in the free agency market.  Per Jason La Canfora on Twitter, the Steelers lopped off the majority of Taylor’s base salary.

That’s $4.25 million in savings from what his base salary was supposed to be for the 2014 season.  That quite a cut to take for a veteran like Taylor, but it’s apparent where his loyalties lay as the ink dried on the newly drawn up agreement – using all caps such as ROONEYS and LEBEAU in his tweet.  Taylor will play one more season with the Steelers and more than likely retire at that point if he expects to “retire a Steeler.”

So what does this mean for the Steelers and the secondary next season?  Taylor’s signing does not necessarily guarantee him the #1 spot at corner,  as mentioned by Behind the Steel Curtain writer Neal Coolong as we went back and forth on Twitter over the signing.  I’m on the fence about this signing, but Taylor does at least guarantee depth at the corner position for 2014.

Taylor was nearly a shell of himself last season.  He did get better during the last month or so of the season, but that was after Dick LeBeau moved him off of covering a team’s #1 wide receiver.  Taylor and Cortez could swap spots with Allen taking up the challenge of covering the best of the best.  But, there is still the strong possibility that the Steelers make a large play for a free agent corner.  Alterraun Verner has stirred up interest from numerous teams, though there are ripples out in the Twitt’o’sphere that he is very interested in what the Pats will have to offer him.

If the Steelers can land Verner or another younger and capable corner, a few things are in place.  They will potentially will have Allen, Taylor, Gay, and acquired FA as the top four corners.  Any combo of Allen, Taylor, and FA would work well for the Steelers while forcing Gay to stay in nickel and dime packages (where he works best anyways).  This also takes pressure off of the Steelers to draft a corner early in the draft when we all know that they are trying to target a tall wide out for Ben Roethlisberger.  Remember, they only get Taylor for one more season, so they can’t completely ignore the free agent market or the draft at the corner position.

Was Taylor’s signing a good one?  A necessary evil?


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  • Kerry Parkes

    I can definitely live with this if we get a better FA and Ike is used as depth

    • Craig

      Kind of spendy for a backup, but I’ll take it as long as he doesn’t let Josh Gordon light him up again…. twice.

    • TiVoMan

      I absolutely agree! Paying $2.75MM for Taylor, even with his diminished skillset —but years of experience—is a GREAT signing in my book. The B&G could have spent much more on a free agent who might not fit into their system right away. Let’s get a good, solid CB or two in the draft, and let Ike help them learn the ropes for one season. I am very pleased that Ike was willing to take a major pay cut in order to stay one more year—just like my hero, Bettis, did— so he could proudly retire as a Steeler. Ike showed me unexpected loyalty, and his good friend Dan suitably rewarded him for it!
      Boy, it’s great to root for a “class” football organization (I sure hope that Dan can stay involved as long as possible, because the “classiness” that he and his father always displayed may just end with Dan’s departure!!!)

  • Jorge Ortiz

    I say move ike to the safetyposition. He can still tackle and would be great in coverage supporting the CB.

    • Craig

      What Stanley said….

  • Stanley Turner

    Ike can’t tackle, no way they move him to safety

  • Shawn Winbush

    Ike can still be an effective #2 .after all,#2 still get safety help.his experience and leadership ia still valuable,well worth 2.75 for both sides

  • bk

    Good deal at that price, I still think by mid-season he will be dime back…Still need a CB in the draft.. rd 2-4.. Watkins Fl?

  • [email protected]

    Like most Steelers fans, I like seeing ‘our guys’ retire as Steelers. It’s part of the way we do business. That said, I am a little alarmed at the amount paid to Ike given that he’s being brought back for his swan song and the rapid drop off in his skill level. Surely, we could have got him for like $500k to $1 million less? I mean, he had to know it was take it or leave it time….. My concern – that by giving him this extra million or so, it impacts our ability to land the FA cornerback we want. If we lose Verner because of a million bucks, this signing will look awful!! Not bad to have Ike for depth though; hope this doesn’t lead to us taking our eye off the ball in getting a CB in the draft (first round if we don’t get a good young CB in FA, 3rd or 4th round or later if we do).

    • Craig

      If the Steelers are going to lose Verner it’s going to be over years and signing bonus. And it will be by millionS not a million. Some teams interested in him and other corners have over $20 million in the bank to work with. If the Steelers get out dueled for a corner they will get blown out of the water in the deal. This was actually a ‘safe’ play by the Steelers. That extra million is a great insurance policy in case they can’t get Verner, et al., in case Cortez Allen can’t play at #1/is injured, and in case a rookie CB isn’t let on the field by DLB. It’s a pretty decent move.