Face The Fact That Face Me Ike Faces Final Season With Steelers

It is hard to imagine that the only active starting cornerback in the NFL to win two Super Bowls would finish his career in a uniform other than a Steelers one, but that is exactly what likely will happen with Ike Taylor. Taylor is entering the final year of a $23.75 million contract extension he signed in 2006 and regardless of his play in 2010, just will not be a priority next offseason for the Steelers. It is yet to be seen what type of tag if any will be included in a new NFL CBA, but the Steelers would likely not use it on Ike anyway.

Ike TaylorA healthy, productive season by “Face Me Ike” will price him well out of the ball park for the Steelers as veteran free agent corners tend to strike it big in free agency over the several past seasons. There is no reason to expect that Taylor will not “get his” as they like to say. In his 7 years with the Steelers, Taylor has 9 interceptions, 88 passes defended and 415 tackles. He also set a Steelers franchise record by recording interceptions in 3 consecutive playoff games and on top of everything else, he has never missed a game due to an injury.

As I mentioned in the training camp preview of the Steelers cornerbacks, the move to youth at cornerback is in full swing for the Steelers. They drafted Joe Burnett and Keenan Lewis in 2009 and hope to have found Taylor\’s future replacement at right cornerback in the form of 2010 5th round draft pick Crezdon Butler out of Clemson. Butler has impressed in the OTA sessions and will be scrutinized closely in training camp as he already has been receiving occasional reps with the first team defense when Ike needs a breather, according to reports.

Ike has a great relationship with the Steelers and even restructured his contract the previous two offseasons to help free up money for other players, but in the end this is a business. The Steelers have to try to find a way to lock up linebacker LaMarr Woodley as soon as possible and need to start over hauling a veteran, aging defense. Taylor will be the first player to suffer because of this new move to youth. While there are several unknown factors about how a new CBA or salary cap will look like, it is hard to imagine that either will help Taylor end his career as a Steeler.

Taylor was major cog in the Steelers two recent championships and it will be so hard to see him play elsewhere. Like it or not, it is a reality Steeler Nation needs to face. The only one that will be glad to see him go, will be Chad Ochocinco. Face it, Ike never kissed that baby!

  • Trey Brooks

    Ike is still a beast. Did you see that hit he put on pat white last year in the miami game. I think he could even switch to free safety. He’s still fast and he’s 6’1″. Rod woodsen did just that and played another 7 yrs.

  • admin

    I am not doubting his ability Trey, just doubting the Steelers will pay the price tag on him to give him his big, final pay day.

  • John P.

    I will be sad to see Ike go…yes, he has had some bad moments, but when you break it down, he is one of the best corners in the league. The youth-movement can be a tough one, if these kids don’t produce at a high level from the day they take over that starting job, they will be scrutinized and compared to Ike and the Steelers will look bad for letting him go. I understand how they work though, I’ve been a fan since the mid 70’s (when I was 6) and know that they just don’t believe in overpaying anyone for any reason. It’s just how they do business. So, if nothing is done with his contract now, then it’ll be a given that he is gone. That is what scares me about Woodley. If they let him get to Free Agency, that WILL be a huge mistake.

  • m

    the steelers should resign ike taylor, lamarr woodley and willie colon. woodley being the main priority.

    the secondary is already short on quality cornerbacks. would you rather have the steelers resign william gay? I am aware that gay is younger and comes at a cheaper price but taylor is far and away the superior player. ike taylor has proven to be be a solid cover man and productive in run support.

  • mghjr

    The Steelers should resign Woodley, Taylor, Colon and Dixon.

    Ike Taylor is 30 years old and the Steelers top cornerback. Taylor has great speed and prototypical size for the position as well as strong coverage skills and the ability to contribute in run support. The Steelers would be exremely vulnerable at cornerback if they decided to let Taylor go.

    If the Steelers resign these three players they could further bolster either the defensive line, secondary or offensive line in the draft.