William Gay Re-Signs with Steelers: Latest Contract Details, Comments, Reaction

Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 8, 2016

Pittsburgh Steelers defensive back William Gay during an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns in Cleveland, Ohio Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016. (Winslow Townson/AP Images for Panini)
Winslow Townson/Associated Press

Cornerback William Gay is staying put, as the 31-year-old veteran signed a three-year deal to return to the Pittsburgh Steelers next season, the team announced.

Gay first announced the deal on Instagram:

Gay is set to enter his 10th NFL season, and aside from a one-year stint with the Arizona Cardinals in 2012, he has spent his entire career with the Steelers.

The Steelers selected him in the fifth round of the 2007 NFL draft out of Louisville, and there is no question that he has outperformed expectations.

Remarkably, the Tallahassee, Florida, native has never missed a game during his career, and he started all 16 contests for the first time in 2015.

He was a rock within Pittsburgh's otherwise questionable secondary, making 58 tackles and two interceptions, including one that was returned for a touchdown. That came on the heels of a career-best 2014 campaign, which saw him register 69 tackles and three picks, all of which were taken to the house for six points.

Gay has been one of the few stabilizing forces in the Steelers' defensive backfield in recent years, which is a fact that wasn't lost on linebacker Vince Williams:

With so many holes at the cornerback position, it was assumed by most that the Steelers would go to great lengths to prevent Gay from leaving.

ESPN.com's Jeremy Fowler supported that notion prior to the start of free agency by reporting that there was mutual interest in getting a deal done between the two sides.

Based on Gay's solid track record and the idea that he wouldn't cost as much as some of the top-flight corners on the market, though, the Steelers likely weren't alone in their pursuit.

The Steelers have a high-powered offense that makes them potential Super Bowl contenders in 2016 and beyond, but their defense is lagging behind, which is a departure from the norm for the franchise.

Losing a player of Gay's caliber would have widened the gap between the offense and defense, but the front office went to great lengths to prevent that from happening.

Finding a suitable replacement for Gay at a reasonable price may have been an exercise in futility, which is why it was so vital for Pittsburgh to lock him up.

Gay appears to be very much in his prime despite being 31 years of age, and while help is still needed elsewhere on defense, his role is one thing the Steelers won't have to worry about.


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