Free Agency 2014: Absent Alterraun Verner and Aqib Talib, cornerback market continues driving

Andy Lyons

Two of the top names are signed, and one other still may be traded, but the Steelers are still in a position to get a solid cornerback, should they choose to do so.

Free agent cornerback Alterraun Verner signed "quickly" in the start of free agency Tuesday.

The term "quick" used to be more closely aligned with "six hours," but in today's lightning-fast world, six hours was an eternity. Whether it met Verner's definition of "quick" or not, he would have to admit his market, and that of other top-end free agent cornerback Aqib Talib, slowed down largely due to the potential release of Bucs cornerback Darrelle Revis.

Revis is expected to be released or traded by 4 p.m. today, with the Browns considered as a possible landing spot. Several other teams would get into a bidding war for Revis's services, should he be released. The Patriots are considered to be among a group of favorites to land the game's best cornerback, who's looking to sign to play for his third team in three seasons.

It's not exactly a bold prediction to think the Steelers would not enter a bidding war for Revis - who's bizarre six-year, $96 million contract contained very little guaranteed money, but roster salaries of $16 million in each of those years. He's often stated his desire to continuously be the highest paid defensive player in the game.

What Revis is doing for his hometown team, though, can be considered valuable as well.

By holding the market down, he's keeping eyes on him, while the Steelers have the opportunity to continue negotiations with transition-tagged Jason Worilds (on the hook for $9.75 million on the salary cap pre-extension) and even get another restructure set up - highly-likely with linebacker Lawrence Timmons - in an effort to make a run at a cornerback, should they wish to take that route.

The signing of former Panthers safety Mike Michell Tuesday is a departure for a Steelers organization that typically doesn't make splashes on Day 1 of free agency, but clearly, after two consecutive 8-8 seasons, that priority shifted a bit.

Why does it stop now? Dolphins cornerback Nolan Carroll, among others, remains unsigned. Mitchell's teammate, Captain Munnerlyn, is available as well.

While Talib (Denver) and Verner (Tampa Bay) are off the board, still others are available, and the Steelers are one team that can let Revis hold hostage the attention of any other cornerback-needy team while they shop around for the best bargain.

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