For all the ups and downs of Ike Taylor's careers, from Super Bowls wins to missing the majority of this past season with a broken arm, the Pittsburgh cornerback has shown to definitively be a team-first kind of player.
Last March, due to receive nearly $7 million in base salary, Taylor accepted a pay cut of over $4 million to free up extra cap space. An admirable move, considering the dire cap situation the Steelers found themselves in last season. After the conclusion of the 2014 season, Taylor has publicly announced his plans regarding his immediate future in the NFL. Simply put, Ike Taylor will either be a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2015, or he will retire from the NFL.
This declaration, courtesy of Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, by no means is stated with ill intent or with the goal of extorting the Steelers. Taylor, of course, feels as if he "has a lot of years left" but has also made it clear he's perfectly okay with retiring from the NFL should the Steelers choose to not resign him. In fact, Taylor wants to remain on the Steelers in any capacity, stating, "As far as the Steelers organization, it doesn't have to be with the cleats anymore. I can be in the office. I can be at the bottom and work my way up. I can be an assistant. I don't mind working my way from the bottom up."
This news is actually extremely encouraging for the franchise, as they don't have to worry about hard feelings should they let their decade-long shutdown corner walk away. If the Steelers choose to retain Taylor, it would almost assuredly be at a bargain basement price, and given the weak play of the Pittsburgh secondary, Taylor could potentially remain the starter in 2015. Even at his advanced age, Taylor's size and athleticism could allow him to take the Charles Woodson route and switch to safety, should Pittsburgh choose that alternative form of positioning. At the very least he could serve as a positive locker room influence.
Taylor, one of the remnants from the past two championship teams, along with Troy Polamalu and James Harrison, has already cemented himself as one of the finest Steelers to ever suit up.
The Steelers certainly have options going into the offseason, including the draft and free agency, and some players will likely be cut to get their salaries off the books. Regardless of what capacity Ike Taylor serves for the Steelers, it would be a good idea to keep him around in some way.