At least he will be if his Twitter update Monday was any indication:
The INK is about to dry on this paper...im a LIFER...#6BURGHfoalldemhatas...will retire as a ROONEY and a LEBEAU...✌️— Ike Taylor (@Ike_SwagginU) March 10, 2014
Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports later reported how much the deal was worth:
Ike Taylor's new deal with the Steelers is 1yr, $2.75M. Big pay cut, but he would have been released into this flooded market otherwise— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 11, 2014
The Pittsburgh Steelers locked up the veteran cornerback before the free-agency period officially begins Tuesday, at which point other teams would have had a chance to negotiate with him if Pittsburgh parted ways. The Louisiana-Lafayette product is approaching his 12th year in the league, and the Steelers clearly think he has more left in the tank to make this move.
Pittsburgh stumbled to an 8-8 finish in 2013, but the pass defense did rank ninth in the NFL in opposing passing yards allowed per game.
Taylor was clearly a primary part of that solid secondary, although he failed to tally an interception for the first time since his first season in Pittsburgh in 2003. Yet he is still a valuable player says Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
I actually think the Steelers need Ike Taylor as I said on my @TribLiveRadio Show today. Appears the Steelers agree.— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly_Trib) March 10, 2014
Looking forward, there has to at least be some concern that Taylor’s most productive days are behind him.
While interceptions are far from the only indicator of success for a corner (after all, the best cornerbacks rarely see passes thrown their way), his age (33 years old) has to be factored into this decision.
Was bringing back Ike Taylor a good decision for the Steelers?
Taylor registered fewer than 13 passes defended for only the second time since 2004 as well.
The timing of this move is interesting because Scott Brown of ESPN.com recently indicated that Taylor would have to take a pay cut to remain in Pittsburgh: “Cornerback Ike Taylor’s has a base salary of $7 million this year, and the 11th-year veteran will have to take a pay cut to return to the Steelers.”
If the Steelers hope to return to the playoffs next year, it will be important for Taylor to at least maintain his level of play from 2013 as part of the secondary.