In 2016, the Pittsburgh Steelers secondary will likely be a revamped unit. With William Gay, Antwon Blake and Brandon Boykin, the three cornerbacks who saw the field the most, all approaching free agency, there is a strong likelihood the secondary will look and feel different in comparison to the 2015 unit -- which ranked 30th in the league in terms of pass defense.
Many fans are starting to put on their General Manager hats and suggesting Cortez Allen could have a bounce back season and be a starting cornerback alongside the likes of Ross Cockrell, Senquez Golson and possibly William Gay -- if he is re-signed.
Fans who are banking on Allen to contribute in a big way next season might want to pump the brakes on such an idea. In Mike Tomlin's season-ending press conference, he was asked whether he is confident in Allen being an impact player for the team in 2016, his answer spoke volumes.
"I'm not. We'll see."
Cortez Allen has played only 12 games since being rewarded with a $24.5 million dollar contract the night before the 2014 season opener.
Some might view Allen as a player with the upside and size to help the ailing secondary, but Tomlin seems to be as skeptical as anyone in regards to Allen's future with the organization. In fact, the Steelers very well could be looking not to see what Allen has left in the proverbial tank, but parting ways with the cornerback all together.
Allen has a $5,750,000 cap hit for the Steelers in 2016, per OverTheCap.com, and if the team were to designate him as a post-June 1 release, the move would save the team $4,400,000 in salary cap space, and equate to $1,350,000 in dead money.
At some point, the team has to wonder if enough is enough, and cutting ties with Allen could be the best situation for all parties involved. Sure, there is always the hope he could bounce back to his 2013 form and show just a portion of his capabilities, but the team can't afford to waste a roster spot, and valuable cap space, on a player who has only played 12 games in the past 2 seasons.
The Steelers defensive secondary will look different in 2016, and don't be shocked if Cortez Allen is not part of the renovation process.