The Pittsburgh Steelers typically like to keep their own players, and have shown that still to be the case after a Monday where they signed both wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey and safety Robert Golden to three-year contracts. Both players were set to become Unrestricted Free Agents on Wednesday March 9th, but have now been taken off the market.
The team still has a lot of work to do, in regards to signing their own players, but Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com is reporting the team and cornerback William Gay are trying to come to terms on a new contract. Gay, like Heyward-Bey and Golden were, is set to become a free agent on March 9th at 4:00 p.m. EDT.
According to Fowler, both parties are interested in getting a deal done.
Steelers and cornerback William Gay have mutual interest to reach contract extension, per source. Let's see if they get something done before league year opens Wednesday.
Bringing Gay, the team's best defensive back in 2015, back to the team would be a great move, if the price is right. Both contracts which were signed Monday by Golden and Heyward-Bey were both for a little over $1 million dollars a year. Those type of contracts can go a long way for a team with as little salary cap space as the Steelers currently hold heading into the 2016 league year. Gay will demand more money than that, and rightfully so, but signing a deal which helps the Steelers situation will be paramount.
It was last year when Gay, arguably the team's best slot cornerback, moved to the outside and matched up against some of the best receivers the opposition had to offer. While some will suggest Gay benefited from having Antwon Blake, the league's most picked on cornerback, opposite him, his numbers don't lie.
Last year Gay registered 58 tackles, 1 sack, 2 interceptions (one returned for a touchdown), 7 passes defended and 6 tackles for a loss. All while rarely giving up a touchdown pass to his receiver.
If the Steelers are able to come to terms with Gay it should give fans a little better sense of calm heading into 2016. With the addition of Gay, the Steelers would have Ross Cockrell, Senquez Golson, Doran Grant and Gay available as the team's core cornerbacks. This and any addition the team makes in free agency and/or the NFL Draft.
Gay has left the Steelers before, and returned, so it wouldn't shock anyone to see Gay want to finish his career in a black and gold uniform.