LATEST STEELERS FREE AGENCY BUZZ
The Steelers signing of William Gay to a three year, $4.5 million contract directly effects Keenan Lewis who badly wants to return and continue playing under Dick LeBeau. However, the Steelers jumping on Gay and overpaying him when 10 days from now they could have likely signed him to a 1 year, vet minimum deal, plays in part to the belief that the value the Steelers have on Lewis is even lower than first believed and they expect to lose him.
We can't rule out Lewis resigning with Pittsburgh as the Steelers will monitor his market, but the odds have lessened from last week and word in Steelers circles is they won't be losing any sleep over Lewis signing elsewhere.
Looking to become more of a dynamic defense that creates turnovers, management wants Cortez Allen put into the starting lineup opposite Ike Taylor and there's some sense that if Lewis returns, the coaching staff will continue to play Lewis over Allen as a starter.
Losing Lewis, though, would be a blow as Ike Taylor turns 33 in May and could be entering his final season as a Steeler, being a prime candidate to be cut next season. A bold move for the Steelers would be cutting Ike Taylor now and getting younger by resigning the much younger Lewis, but the cap savings to release Taylor is much larger to release him next season than now.
Taylor, 32, had an up and down 2012 season. His first five games were horrid and ProFootballFocus had him rated as the 96th best cornerback based on performance through five games.Taylor, though, rebounded and played much better in his final seven games of the season before getting injured.
Question for Steelers fans: Would you rather have Ike Taylor, Cortez Allen, William Gay or Keenan Lewis, Cortez Allen, William Gay?
*Another player who had been considered as having good odds of being resigned is Doug Legursky but that might not be the case anymore. Legursky left his exit meeting with the Steelers coaches in January believing the team wanted him back as a swing depth player, but with the Steelers expecting to keep Willie Colon and move Kelvin Beachum to guard, ¬†Legursky¬†is in the dark for now regarding his Steelers future as free agency is just days away.¬†Legursky is now preparing to actively explore options elsewhere.
"Next Tuesday whether he wants to be a Steeler or not, he's on the market," an NFL source in Legursky's camp said. "It's hard to resign a contract they don't offer you."
While I'm in the group who feel that Legursky was overrated by the Steelers coaching staff, word is Legursky's camp has teams they know about interested in talking as soon as they can. His versatility could be attractive to some teams.
John Malecki will be a prime candidate to fill Legursky's role if he doesn't return to the Steelers.
Right now the only sure bets to return among the Steelers unrestricted free agents are Charlie Batch and Larry Foote.