It's sort of "damned if you do, damned if you don't" for the Steelers regarding veteran cornerback Ike Taylor.
His nearly $12 million cap number for the 2014 season is way too high for the 34-year-old cornerback who doesn't create turnovers. But the lack of depth the Steelers have at the position forces them to keep an open mind regarding his inclusion in plans for 2014.
One has to wonder what exactly went on in negotiations with former Steelers cornerback Keenan Lewis. Before he signed with the Saints for a reported 5-year, $26 million deal with $11 million guaranteed, the Steelers had Taylor, Cortez Allen and William Gay - who was signed a week prior to Lewis's departure - fitting nicely into a three-man cornerback unit.
With something of a down year for Allen and Gay's known struggles defending on the outside, Taylor's age looks much more advanced than it probably is. The idea of drafting a rookie to start, or dipping into free agency for a veteran with no ties to the Steelers' defense (assuming they won't yank Bryant McFadden out of retirement) isn't all that appealing either.
Something has to give, though.
Taylor said in an interview with FOX Sports he may be amenable to a paycut. But even if he wasn't, the Steelers don't really have a choice but to figure out a way to keep Taylor on the roster and on the field. Whatever the result is of their negotiations, the Steelers are almost forced to select at least one cornerback in the 2014 NFL Draft, and agents of potential free agents are likely working on their sales pitches for the Steelers now.
It's hard to see Taylor, the longtime Steeler, in another jersey next season, but it's really going to depend on how low he's willing to go. It's also difficult to speculate on how much that figure will be but both sides appear to have leverage on each other, and both may just need to admit they're in a tough spot, and come up with some kind of arrangement for the upcoming season.
Taylor's future will have to become one part player, one part mentor to the younger guys the team will need to bring in this offseason.
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