Street Talk Thoughts on Ike Taylor, Steelers

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The Pittsburgh Steelers agreed to terms with No. 1 cornerback Ike Taylor on a four-year contract late Tuesday night.

Here are some thoughts on Taylor rejoining the Steelers:

  • I liked how the Steelers, as usual, quietly went about their business to re-sign Taylor. Pittsburgh didn’t say much about Taylor in the offseason but quickly went after its No. 1 target when the free-agency period opened. There were a lot of solid corners out there. But this is a good move in terms of continuity, and the Steelers stuck to their philosophy that their players are more valuable than chasing outside free agents.
  • Signing Taylor takes pressure off young corners Crezdon Butler, Keenan Lewis and 2011 draft picks Curtis Brown and Cortez Allen. The aforementioned players can now battle for backup roles instead of being counted on as every-down players. The best young corner in training camp will earn the nickel spot, while the second best from this group plays the dime corner.
  • The length of the contract scares me a bit. Taylor, 31, is one of Pittsburgh’s best-conditioned athletes. But he plays a demanding position and will be 35 by the end of this contract. Most likely, the Steelers needed to give Taylor an extra year or two to keep him in Pittsburgh while also keeping the money reasonable. The figures have yet to be released.
  • The Steelers still have a lot of work to do to get under the salary cap — and now even more so after giving Taylor his extension. Pittsburgh started about $10 million over the allotted $120 million cap and has until next week to get under. It appears getting Taylor was the Steelers’ first plan of action. Now expect a flurry of roster cuts in the coming days to players with high salaries. The Baltimore Ravens, for example, took the opposite approach to slash salaries first. Then, they worked out a contract with their biggest in-house free agent: guard Marshal Yanda.
  • Don’t expect more big-name signings this summer by the Steelers. That is not their style and their cap situation won’t allow it. Taylor is probably the biggest name Pittsburgh gets in free agency, as the team prepares for the 2011 season.

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