No, we have not been able to re-sign any of our players, other than the most important one, LaMarr Woodley (Here is a GREAT article by Chris G. on LaMarr Woodley). But other than losing a player or two to free agency, like we normally do, this has been a normal offseason for the Steelers.
Since the Steelers lost in the Super Bowl to the Green Bay Packers, simply because the play of the secondary was not good enough, everyone has been saying, me included, that Ike Taylor needs to be the Steelers TOP priority once a new CBA is reached.
After considering this further, I have changed my view on the whole Ike Taylor issue, and now believe that maybe the best thing for the Steelers to do is to allow Taylor to walk away from the Black and Gold.
Now I know most of you are going to tell me how crazy I am, and I am OK with that. But hear me out before you make your final decision.
Second only to former Oakland Raider Nnamdi Asomugha, Ike Taylor is going to be one of the busiest guys this offseason with teams wanting his experience for their squad. Taylor has had a great career with the Steelers to this point, but reality is, he is much closer to the end than he is to the beginning.
Being the second most sought after player, Taylor is probably going to command somewhere in the neighborhood of $9-$11 million per season, and three to four years in duration.
Sorry, but Taylor is no longer worth that type of money. Let a team (like Dallas) overpay for Taylor.
The reality is, players play for two reasons.
1. Super Bowl Championships. Taylor has two rings.
2. Money. Taylor will make more on the open market than Pittsburgh is going to pay.
Taylor has been a solid corner for the Steelers since 2005, when he finally earned his starting role. He did that because of his amazing speed.
Now on the wrong side of 30, Taylor only has a year or two before that amazing speed is average and no longer an asset, but a liability.
This is not even getting into the conversation about Taylor's inability to intercept a pass, even if it hits him directly in the hands.
Yes, he is good at defending the pass. But, how many times does he defend a pass on second down, only to have the third down pass be a completion?
Too many for my blood.
I hate to be the one that has to bring this to everyone's attention, but the Steelers have spent the past few years addressing the CB position, and it is time for these young players to step up and win some playing time.
Keenan Lewis has had his time on the sidelines, and it's time for his buddy Mike Wallace to teach him how to step up and be a player that the team can count on.
The Steelers also have Crezdon Butler, who is entering the second year with the Steelers, and is ready to take the next step up.
In the 2011 NFL draft, the Steelers also added two players to the secondary, with the third-round selection of Curtis Brown and fourth-round selection of Cortez Allen.
Bryant McFadden will have to be the man to show these young guys the Steelers way. As long as Taylor is on the roster, one of these four young men are not going to make the team (McFadden just re-signed last year, and is playing for a serious discount, starting CB wise). There simply are not enough roster spots, and none of these guys will survive the Steelers roster if they are put on the practice squad.
This is also taking into account that the Steelers will allow Will Gay to leave the team.
Yes, at the moment, none of these guys are as good as Ike Taylor. BUT, the Steelers way is to let someone go a year too early rather than a year too late.
Keeping Taylor another year, while allowing one of these young guys go, could be a mistake that haunts the Black and Gold three to four years from now, and many years into the future.
Steelers Front Seven
The other reality is, Ike Taylor has had the success he has had based on the pass rush that is in front of him. When you have Pro Bowl players in front of you, it makes your life MUCH easier as a corner.
Yes, a couple years ago, Taylor took on some of the best WRs in the game, and handled them. Does he still have that in him?
If you think it does, you then have to factor in the other issues presented, and decide if Taylor for a year is worth the gamble for the future.
Taylor is NOWHERE NEAR the talent of Rod Woodson, and the Steelers allowed him to leave. Why would they keep Taylor, when he is at the same point Woodson was when he left?