Steelers Free Agency Buzz
The Pittsburgh Steelers, as expected, did not reach a deal with cornerback Ike Taylor before yesterday’s deadline and once a new CBA is in place, the Steelers No. 1 cornerback will become a free agent.
Following a meeting between high powered agent Joel Segal and front office executive Omar Khan at the combine, what’s been relayed to me for over a week now is that Taylor expressed to the Steelers that he has all intentions on testing the free agent market.
Those in the media calling Taylor re-signing with Pittsburgh a slam dunk due to Taylor wanting to stay in Pittsburgh, are said to be a “bit too optimistic” on that front.
The cornerback position has become a premium in the NFL with over 8 cornerbacks making at least $9 million in 2010 (including all bonuses).
So where does Taylors future in Pittsburgh stand?
In 2006, Taylor received a four year extension worth $22.5 million from the Steelers with $6.4 million in guarantees.
According to sources, Taylor is seeking over $10 million in guaranteed money on at least a four year deal and word around the league is that Taylor’s camp believes at least two specific teams are prepared to make a “big run” at Taylor.
Leigh Bodden’s four-year, $22 million agreement to remain with the New England Patriots last off-season, that included $10 million in guaranteed money and $14 million over the first two years of the deal, will just be the starting point for Taylor’s camp.
On NFL agent predicted to me that Taylor will land a 4 year deal worth $24-$27 million with $12-$13 million in guaranteed money on the open market.
Just because free agency has been put on the back burner for now due to the CBA, doesn’t mean tampering at the combine between agents and teams all of a sudden went away this off-season.
Tampering in fact is prominent in most sports, including hockey where agents tell me it happens all of the time during draft weekend as free agency is just day aways.
I’m under the assumption that Taylor’s camp has an idea of a few specific teams who intend to throw big money at him that the Steelers might not being able to come close to.
The Steelers are hopeful to be competitive in keeping Taylor. Pittsburgh is said to be willing to go four year with a deal likely front loaded in the first three years.
The hope for the Steelers is that Taylor’s desire to stay in Pittsburgh will win out and lead to a lesser deal. In fact with Taylor sometimes you just never know.
Negotiations between the Steelers and Taylor’s previous agent Scott Smith came to a halt in 2006 and Taylor became so fed up that he stormed into Kevin Colbert’s office and negotiated his own deal on the same day, while firing Smith later in the process.
More Free Agency Tidbits
*The Steelers have informed the agents for William Gay and Mewelde Moore that the team would like both players back. Moore will be an unrestricted free agent and there’s a mutual interest from both sides.
I’m told the Steelers will not go into the season with Jonathan Dwyer as their No. 3 running back and would seek additional depth if a deal couldn’t be worked out with Moore.
*All indications also point to William Gay returning next season, whether it be through restricted free agency or unrestricted free agency. The Steelers felt Gay progressed nicely last season and they intend to re-sign him and have him compete for a starting spot.
*Leading up to the March 4th deadline, the Steelers held preliminary discussion with offensive tackle Jonathan Scott. Scott has an interest in returning to Pittsburgh but is expected to see what comes of Flozell Adams and Willie Colon.
Interesting tidbit is that Scott and Flozell Adams are both represented by agent Jordan Woy.
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