Pittsburgh Steelers’ cornerback Ike Taylor has been the team’s top corner for many seasons now but just like the rest of the Steelers’ defense, he’s aging and his productivity is declining.
The Steelers have several contract issues to deal with this offseason and many of them are veterans to the team. Taylor is entering the final year of his contract, and is scheduled to make around $7 million in his final year under this contract; that money isn’t guaranteed though. That kind of money isn’t in the Steelers’ budget, at least not to give to Taylor. Releasing him would free up a lot of cap space.
Taylor has always been the cornerback to cover the opposing team’s best receiver and Taylor’s been one of the league’s best at the position. However, this is no longer the case.
Taylor’s never really lived up to all the hype he was given. He’s a good corner but he’s never had that “it” factor about him. He isn’t good at forcing turnovers or getting turnovers and that’s a big factor when playing corner. No doubt he was and may still be the best corner the Steelers have had but that’s not saying much.
A lot of talk has been about how Taylor may be making the switch from corner to safety. No official word of that actually happening has come out but if it were to happen it probably wouldn’t be that ideal of a situation.
Two former Steelers, Hall-of-Famer, Rod Woodson and Carnell Lake, made the transition from corner to safety and did it well. Taylor’s no Rod Woodson. Not to say he couldn’t handle playing safety, heck if Ryan Clark got away with playing safety at mediocre level this season so could Taylor next season.
The corner position has been a hot topic amongst Steelers’ draft rumors. Various mock drafts have the Steelers gunning for Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert in the first round. The cornerback position needs attention and selecting Gilbert wouldn’t be a bad option especially if Taylor were to be let go.
I just can’t see the Steelers moving Taylor to safety or paying him the large sum of money.
So is it worth keeping Taylor?
I believe it is, but for a significant pay cut. If Taylor is willing to take a pay cut, the Steelers would still have a good corner to put out there. Taylor would also be a valuable mentor to a young guy like Gilbert if he were drafted by the Steelers.
Taylor still has a few season left before he’s completely done and Taylor has said before he’d like to finish his career in the steel city. If he’s willing to take the pay cut then I’d expect to see Taylor remain a Steeler for another season.