Will The Steelers Be Able To Keep Free Agent Cornerback Keenan Lewis?

The Pittsburgh Steelers will most certainly look to try and sign unrestricted free agent cornerback Keenan Lewis to a long term deal prior to the start of free agency, but the Oregon State product would be best served to at least check out the market with the Steelers best offer in hand.

Below are what I believe to be the biggest named unrestricted free agent cornerbacks hitting the market this upcoming offseason along with their 2012 stats and Lewis is most certainly included in that bunch. His 69 total tackles and 23 passes defensed will most certainly raise some eyebrows with teams as will his ability to play though injuries.

Cary Williams746771104176
Keenan Lewis6954150210233
Quentin Jammer63549031287
Sheldon Brown595271313122
Sean Smith575250032126
Derek Cox555410114111
Chris Houston544311032293
E.J. Biggers46379132163
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie453870003174
Aqib Talib403370102103
Brent Grimes660000000

So how much will Lewis stand to get as a top notch free agent cornerback? Below are the contracts of the top free agents from last offseason with the top three earners getting an average year value of around $8-10 million.

2012 Free Agency Top Cornerback Signings

Lardarius Webb (RFA) – Signed with Ravens – Signed a six-year, $52.742 million contract that included a $10 million signing bonus.

Cortland Finnegan – Signed with Rams – Signed a five-year, $50 million contract that  contained $27 million guaranteed, including a $5 million signing bonus.

Brandon Carr – Signed with Cowboys – Signed a five-year, $50.1 million contract that contained $25.5 million guaranteed, including a $10 million signing bonus.

Carlos Rogers – Signed with 49ers – Signed a four-year, $29.3 million contract that included a $5 million signing bonus.

Terrell Thomas – Signed with Giants – Signed a four-year, $17.4 million contract that contained $11 million guaranteed, including a $1 million signing bonus.

Aaron Ross – Signed with Jaguars – Signed a three-year, $9.75 million contract that included a $1 million signing bonus.

Keep in mind that the guaranteed money is always the biggest factor here, as is the structure. Also keep in mind that the franchise tag for the cornerback position is scheduled to be $10.668 million.

The Steelers will most likely try to keep Lewis with an average value of around $7-8 million on a four or five year deal with a signing bonus of anywhere between $8-10 million. Will that be enough to keep him in Pittsburgh? It is hard to say, but Lewis most certainly would like to stay with defensive backs coach Carnell Lake, who is responsible for his fantastic development. Money of course talks the loudest so it will be interesting to see if Lewis will be willing to give a hometown discount to remain with the Steelers.

  • mghjr88

    Hopefully Lewis is retained. I don’t see them going after anyone else in free agency, but if they did, the two players I would want them to LOOK at would be Sean Smith and Derek Cox.

  • Jason White

    I hope they can keep him. I’d hate to see them lose out on the 4 years they have invested in him. He has developed into the player I thought he would be. I was very high on him when he was drafted but I knew it would take time to develope him into that. I’d like Keenan and Cortez to be the future corner duo cause we know Ike isn’t getting any younger.

  • alex

    id rather spend money on Lewis than Wallace…i know our problem is scoring, but we really do need to draft a big wide out to handle the bump n run response were geting to the dink n dunk…

  • zyzak

    Since the team hardly ever signs free agents I think Lewis will be back. Wallace too

  • Mike Carroll

    The fact the Steelers will be hard pressed to sign Lewis is a direct result of the “all in” approach they’ve taken the last couple of years (retaining/resigning every signifcant veteran, and restructuring many players to boot) in an attempt for one more SB run. I had no problem with that approach at the time, but there has been a price paid. And if the salary cap remains flat thru 2015 as John Clayton (and I believe Peter King) reported as a possibility last year, the price paid will be very steep.

    Now is the time to change that approach as it is clear the bet did not pay off and the team has significant, recurring problems. Not sure if I would pay Lewis the type of money being discussed here, even if they have it at their disposal. Of course, I wish it were an option and I’d rather be paying Lewis the money instead of an aging vet such as Ike or Troy. I think the Steelers have some real work ahead of them.

  • I would be tempted to tag Lewis. Someone will throw a crazy offer at him and after one good year matching it wouldn’t be very bright.

  • Maurice_hill_district

    Thank you for listing the details of all those.

    Rooneys wont compete for any FAs from other teams, they only offer $ to their own & only if no other team pursues the player hard.

  • steeltown

    Agreed. I could see good things with a Keenan /Cortez duo

  • steeltown

    There is definitely alot going into this decision and I think the fact that Mendy and Wallace might both be gone will be huge. But, also the fact that Lewis twice this year has played through injury and played well. This Teams covets toughness. I could see a 5yr $35million with a nice (prorated or soon to be prorated) signing bonus

  • steeltown

    PLEASE sign this guy, Ike is still playing great, but he is aging and the only other guy we have that could even start on Defense is Cortez Allen

  • Clint Martin

    The Steelers won’t be able to match what another team will offer Wallace.

  • steeltown

    Dont think they can afford to tag him. The only way is to try to get a deal done before the FA period begins.. give him a good offer with a high signing bonus and see if he bites

  • steeltown

    Going back to the most recent roster moves.. why didnt they re-sign CB Walter Mcfadden way back when, instead of bringing in Victorian, Justin King or Issiah Green? Was Walter on another roster?? He played well in the preseason and actually has some game experience.

  • JohnnyV1

    I’m not sure what value other teams would place on him. And I don’t think he’d leave the Steelers to go work for; A. Team that isn’t historically very good or B. Team that doesn’t have a solid DB coach & DC coach. I think Lewis and the Steelers get something done. Wallace, on the other hand, is gone.

  • HoustonJr

    Agreed. If the Steelers don’t keep Wallace, a team like Oakland is going to break the bank for him – only for his career to vanish (much like Santonio’s).

  • PoKey21

    At this point I think Keenan Lewis is more of a priority this offseason than Ike Taylor is. Keenan is the future and in his first whole year as a starter proved he can handle NFL WRs consistently. And when Ike went down I think Keenan proved he can be the teams #1 corner for the future. Right now I think he is only worth between Terrell Thomas and Carlos Rogers money. Maybe a 4 or 5 year deal worth between 18-24 million.

  • Ahmad

    I don’t think he’ll give a hometown discount, but I don’t think he’ll be greedy and expect the Steelers to break the bank for him.

  • israelp

    That table you have, Dave. Why isn’t there a column for pass interference calls? (Maybe holding as well, but certainly PI.)