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With the Steelers asking Cortez Allen to take a pay cut, is this the first step out the door for the cornerback?

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Cortez Allen was once a prized possession of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Now, he has become a punch line. The team wants him to take a pay cut, is this the beginning of the end for Allen with the Steelers?

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers have been extremely busy with the start of Free Agency signing several key members of the team to multi-year contracts. Cortez Allen isn't a free agent, but likely remembers all too well what it was like to get that shiny new contract.

It was just two years ago Allen was given a 4-year $24 million dollar contract extension, which he has done everything but live up to. When the team watched Keenan Lewis take his talents to the New Orleans Saints, the team made a knee jerk reaction in giving the money to Allen.

Heading into 2016, Allen is due $4.4 million dollars. A hefty chunk of change for a player who has rarely seen the field the past two seasons, and when he was on the field was being targeted and torched by opposing offenses. If you don't recall, Allen was the Antwon Blake of two years ago.

The team, not necessarily wanting to completely cut ties with Allen, have reportedly asked him to take a pay cut before the 2016 season, per ESPN's Jeremy Fowler. Decreasing his $4.4 million dollar cap hit would go a long way towards helping alleviate some of the salary cap stress the Steelers find themselves in currently.

Allen is due his money, and doesn't have to succumb to the Steelers' wishes, but what would happen if he would say 'No' to their request? Most likely it would be the end of his career in a black and gold uniform. Allen would then most likely be designated a post-June 1st release, meaning his contract would be negated but he would still be owed $1.35 million dollars in dead money.

If Allen could somehow find his way back to his 2013 self, where he was a steady defensive back on the team, he could find a spot on this 2016 Steelers team, but if his knack for penalties and blown assignments persist, the team might just be better off cutting ties and moving on from the troubled defensive back. At this point the ball is in Allen's court, what he does with it could significantly impact his football career.