The Pittsburgh Steelers saw two sought after defensive backs visit the team and sign with other NFL franchises Thursday. Many are thinking the Steelers have exhausted their options at the cornerback position, but looking at the free agent landscape there are still some veteran defensive backs who could be acquired without breaking the bank.
Tarell Brown of the Oakland Raiders was an extremely solid cornerback for the San Francisco 49ers before signing a one-year deal with the Raiders, and just as many players for the Raiders in 2014, underperformed. Brown is 30 years old and could be signed to a two-year deal, or possibly a one-year deal as the Steelers offered Brice McCain before the 2014 season. Brown would certainly compete for significant time in the team's secondary.
Zack Bowman of the New York Giants is another 30 year old cornerback still looking for a home. Bowman played well for the Giants, but if it weren't for being behind two capable players would have started for New York. Bowman, like Brown, could be acquired to a financially friendly deal which could pay dividends for the Steelers' secondary this season.
Carlos Rogers is getting up there in age for a defensive back in the NFL, at age 34, but despite coming off a knee injury could be a cheap option to be a 3rd CB or strict nickel back. Not necessarily what the Steelers need, but could help fill some holes left from McCain departing for the Miami Dolphins.
Josh Gordy is another name the Steelers could target in free agency. Gordy has played both cornerback and safety and was Antonio Brown's teammate at Central Michigan. On top of position flexibility, Gordy has recorded 5 interceptions with limited playing time the past 4 seasons.
Kyle Wilson of the New York Jets was part of one of the worst secondaries in the NFL last season, but that doesn't necessarily mean on a different team, in a different scheme things couldn't get better. When the Steelers signed McCain from the Houston Texans in 2014, it was a very similar situation. A player with a lot of potential who was on a very bad team. McCain signed a one-year prove-it deal for $750 thousand dollars and turned it into a multi-year deal with the Dolphins. Wilson could possibly be a similar player if given the chance.
These options are the best, but at this point and time it is the best of what is left. There are a few other names like Josh Wilson, Terence Newman and Chris Owens, but at this point the team is searching for the best of what is left off the scrap heap.