Steelers have space available to make a legitimate offer to Alterraun Verner

Donald Miralle

Judging by history, the Steelers won't pursue the high-priced free agent, and that's been a successful strategy for them, by and large. But they can make a solid but not crippling deal to help shore up the cornerback position.

If the Steelers are, in fact, serious, about their alleged pursuit of Titans cornerback Alterraun Verner, it appears they would have the cap space to do it, provided Verner takes a little less than his projected market would bear.

At the risk of this sounding like O.J.'s "IF I killed her, this is what I would have done," book...IF the Steelers were to get Verner to sign a deal, it would likely have to basically replace the soon-to-be-terminated contract of CB Ike Taylor, and apply a fairly decent amount of guaranteed money over the first three years of the deal.

Packers CB Sam Shields signed a four year deal that is giving him $16 million guaranteed, a total value of $39 million. Verner could get a five-year contract on the market with little difficulty. How much guaranteed money would the Steelers give him?

The cap space that will be freed after June 1 when LaMarr Woodley's contract comes off the books will net a sizeable return at that point. The Steelers aren't typically hitting the ground running in free agency, and by June 2, they will have drafted their class and free agency will be picked clean.

That said, there will still be productive players to be had. They can make a signing around that time and sign the class, as well as have money available for extensions.

And they'd still have room to sign the "right" kind of player now.

A player who just played the last three years for the Steelers new offensive line coach. A player who played a year in college under the Steelers defensive backs coach. A player who got beat on a route but recovered nicely enough to pick off Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in Week 1 last year.

Now, Verner is not going to command the same kind of salary as Darrelle Revis, but he's still a safe investment. A very solid all-around player, with a justifiable reason why he's looking to cash in this free agency period.

What's it worth? Five years, $40 million total value, $22 million guaranteed - $12 million signing bonus, $4 million guaranteed salary in years 1 and 2 of the contract and $2 million in year 3.

That's the price for a friend, so to speak. He would be able to get better offers from teams with loads of cap space, but will another team offer him much more than that?

All hypothetically, of course. I mean, the Steelers don't pursue free agents on the first day...right?

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