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2017 Steelers Free Agent Market Watch: Cornerbacks

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With free agency a day away, the Steelers are expected to make a concerted effort to acquire a cornerback. BTSC continues their analysis of the more notable names and whether or not they seem like a viable option for the Steelers.

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Cornerback seems to always be a glaring need for the Pittsburgh Steelers. These days you need three of starter-quality at the position. It's true that Artie Burns, after only one season, seems to have taken huge steps to assuming the role as a mainstay at the position. Everyone else is a question mark. Ross Cockrell was given a lowball offer and could very well depart. Senquez Golson is merely a ghost until he at least plays in one preseason game. William Gay has shown some decline on his advancing age and may end up a cap casualty. So, the unit needs addressing once again.

Cockrell staying would help hold the unit together. But the team's alleged interest in Dre Kirkpatrick could be a sign that the team is serious about investing in a different corner.

Here are the top free agents at the corner position and whether or not they could find their way to the Steel City.

Malcolm Butler - RFA - New England Patriots

Butler was assigned a first-round tender for $3.91 million for 2017. The SB 49 hero has 31 pass defenses and six interceptions the past two seasons. I foresee Butler signing a long-term deal to stay in New England and I don't see Pittsburgh giving up the number-one pick necessary to sign him.

AJ Bouye - Houston Texans

Bouye took four years to come out of the shadows, but in just one season, he has emerged as a Pro Bowler and a shutdown corner. In 15 games, he had 16 pass defenses and an interception. Bouye is going to get paid, but the gamble is predicting whether or not he's a walk-year wonder. The Steelers could kick the tires of the Texan, but will probably not get in a bidding war for him like the Texans, Browns, Eagles, Colts, 49ers, Titans, Jaguars are willing to.

Trumaine Johnson - Los Angeles Rams

The Rams just franchised the outstanding corner, but are looking to trade him now. Johnson excels in coverage, but is merely an average tackler. Johnson had seven interceptions and 17 pass defenses in only 14 games in 2015 and one pick and 11 pass defenses in 14 2016 games. Although a high caliber corner, I don't for see the Steelers giving up picks or players for a possible one-year rental for a $16.7 million-dollar player.

Brandon Flowers - Los Angeles Chargers

Flowers is 31, but was cut on Tuesday to clear cap space. The veteran had five pass defenses and one pick in only six games last year due to two concussions. If healthy, Flowers could be a great fit on a team-friendly "prove-it" deal. I could see the Steelers going after Flowers. However, a free agent signing of a concussion-prone Charger seems like bad deja-vú.

Dre Kirkpatrick - Cincinnati Bengals

Kirkpatrick has been linked to Pittsburgh and the Tennessee Titans. But then again, everybody's been linked to the Tennessee Titans. My seven-year-old daughter has been linked to the Tennessee Titans. Dre has talent. In fact, he has done very well in his five seasons in the league neutralizing Antonio Brown. With nine career picks, the Pro Bowl corner has averaged 13 pass defenses the past two years. What scares me about the Alabama product is discipline and composure. All you need to know about this guy is December 18, 2016. His second-half implosion sunk the Bengals against the Steelers with his multiple penalties. I'd stay away, but the Steelers know more than I do. If they can reign him in, he could be a coup. They have a decent shot olf bringing Kirkpatrick in.

Stephon Gilmore - Buffalo Bills

At age 26, Gilmore has had a very solid career and may cash-in around the $12-15 million neighborhood. The All-Pro and Pro Bowler Gilmore had five of his 14 career picks in 2016. The Steelers would definitely welcome a player of such immense talent. However, the Bears are pursuing him hard and I see the Steelers looking elsewhere.

Darelle Revis - New York Jets

Revis, at 32, has regressed. However, he still seems to have gas left in the tank at corner or safety. Due to his legal troubles, I think Pittsburgh, at a hometown discount, would be a likely landing spot.

Other Notables:

Prince Amukamara - Jacksonville Jaguars

Logan Ryan - New England Patriots

Morris Claiborne - Dallas Cowboys

Sam Shields - Green Bay Packers

Deshawn Shead - RFA - Seattle Seahawks

Captain Munnerlyn - Minnesota Vikings

Marcus Williams - RFA - New York Jets

Darius Butler – Indianapolis Colts

Brandon Carr - Dallas Cowboys

Leon Hall - New York Jets

Brice McCain - Tennessee Titans

Nolan Carroll - Philadelphia Eagles

Terence Newman - Minnesota Vikings

Davon House - Jacksonville Jaguars