Steelers CB Keenan Lewis Says Steelers Made A Mistake In Not Locking Him Up

Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Keenan Lewis will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason and he appears to be ready to test the market and shop his services.

According to Alan Robinson of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on Twitter, Lewis made it known that the Steelers “made a mistake” by not offering him a multi-year deal before the 2012 season.

Lewis had a great 2012 season and finished second in the league in passes defensed with 23. He also registered 71 combined tackles and forced 1 fumble.

The franchise tag on cornerbacks this offseason is $10.66 million and the Steelers just won\’t be able to do that from a salary cap standpoint, so it appears that the Oregon State product will join his childhood friend and Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace in entertaining offers once the free agency signing period begins.

As I pointed out in a recent post, Lewis figures to be one of the top five or six free agent cornerbacks on the market this offseason. If he is not willing to give the Steelers any hometown discount he very well might have played his last game in the black and gold.

The free agent signing period begins at 4:00 p.m. eastern on March 12th.

  • No chit! Everybodies acting like the Steelers will resign him. He’s gonna be one of the top free agents in the NFL this year. He had a solid year despite not intercepting a single pass, but he’ll win the lottery in 2013. Goodbye.

  • RW

    This is exactly what I’m talking about – the organization needs to stop fooling around and waiting until the last year of a player’s contract to work out a deal. This is just awful management on our part. I thought Colbert was better but he may just be a great draft guru and nothing more. On the other hand, K. Lewis seems to share his childhood friend’s sentiment about the organization, so good riddance. Better grab a cover corner in the draft because if either Ike or Allen goes down, we’re screwed. Also, better make Allen a priority and sign him long term if Lewis does leave. It’s too bad, because we have so many other needs (Rush LB, Safety, MLB) that I’d like us to fill in the first round.

  • Reader783

    Sign an untested player to a multi-year deal?

  • Tom

    I think this just shows the absolute importance of figuring whether a player is a “keeper” within their first 3 years. That way you can lock them up long term, hopefully on team friendly terms. Waiting to play them full time in their fourth year undermines the strategy, particularly as in this case. Sounds like Keenan is ready to “get paid” and I won’t hold that against him. I can’t blame the Steelers for not locking him up… But going forward, it might be a good idea to let some of the young guys on the field earlier.

  • Tom

    Absolutely correct. The Steelers were not sure whether he was a keeper. What do you an offer a player that you are not sure about?

  • Mike Carroll

    I am fine with Keenan testing the market. I would like to sign him but only at a reasonable price. With the Steelers coming off an 8-8 season, their free agents are less likely to draw ridiculous offers as in other seasons. And I’m not convinced the Steelers have priced their own guys appropriately as of late anyways. It’s a good time to let the market speak on one their players.

  • yeah, well fuck him and his me first attitude

  • mlc43

    Looks like we might finally agree! lol

  • steeltown

    Agreed. They need to stop the whole ‘no signing players during the season’ crap.. they couldve gave Lewis an extension mid season when it was clear he could handle the starting job

  • SteelSpine

    Good thing Stelers hedged their bet long ago by drafting Cortez Allen. Before this season noone knew Keenan would be good this year, he used to do dumb things on the field which outweighed his non-spectacular performance prior to this year, back when he was getting himself yanked off the field into doghouse. Back then he looked like someone we wouldnt want to keep after this contract ended, Keenan was why we had to then spend 2 draft picks on CBs (Cortez & CurtisBrown).

    Keenan turned it around via improved himself this year, but hindsight can make anyone a genius. Steelers simply waited til that player looks like might be a keeper. Cant start locking up all players sooner who dont yet look like keepers, because too often would get burned.

    Keenan seized the opportunity this year & really improved, dont we wish we could say that about some other players? Too bad we dont have this problem with other players who had a chance to justify getting a big contract if they too had knocked it outta the park this year (are you listening Ziggy & Wallace & Mundy, etc?).

  • 3 things we need to realize here

    #1 Keenan didn’t make any splash plays…he played good coverage and tackled when they caught the ball. Allen showed in the last few games he can make splash plays

    #2 Keenan may not be able to play in all systems thus limiting him to where he can go. William Gay went to a team that played a similar defense and still was awful…he came back here and played well.

    #3 Many players will make comments to try and boost what they will make. Ryan Clark’s agent wanted top 5 safety money he said publicly…no one here thought that and Clark didn’t get top 5 safety money

    because CB’s are a premium in this league someone will probably overpay but I wouldn’t be surprised if he flops.

  • RW

    Less money than you offer a player that you are sure about, and you get him long term. You don’t get to wait until a stock “gets good” and then magically go back in time and get the same deal on it – you have to pay a premium when it does. If you take a risk at the beginning you can either get in on the ground floor and ride it until it produces something meaningful or it can tank. Either way, you didn’t have to pay the premium. This is why the rich get richer in our country – they aren’t risk averse. The Steelers organization shouldn’t be either.

  • Chris S

    Wow at the stuff some people are saying here. Running his mouth? Blaming him for the Cincy loss (when he was playing injured…did he even finish that game?), etc. Come on people. The guy was confident before the season that he was going to have a solid year…and he did…so what he said they should have locked him up? Another thing thats missing from this story I read from Jim Wexell…while he said he may test Free Agency (which why wouldn’t ANY FA…even to see his market value…MANY players have done this over the years)…he does want to stay in Pittsburgh. Relax people…Keenan is a good guy and a solid player and I’m sure one of the top if not the #1 priorities this off season. Hopefully they’ll work something out.

  • Thomas

    I don’t think theres any doubt that Cortez is better then Keenan out on the edge but I do worry about injuries

  • zyzak

    Overrated baby who doesn’t make plays like his buddy Wallace. F him

  • Tom

    Reinventing history? Gay never left and returned. McFadden did…but was awful the second time around.

  • Going the way of Porter. See you in 5-6 years to retire as a steeler…

  • alex

    when we loose him, wallace, and mendy, maybe we get a stack o’ comps. for 14′

  • Bob Loblaw

    I don’t understand the hate players get for testing free agency. If their team didn’t have the foresight to leave enough cap room to adequately pay them, why should they be obligated to stick around? Especially when entering the prime of their career. With the rate players get injured this could easily be the last contract he signs.

  • mokhkw

    Not knowing what context he meant this in but it seems everyone is jumping to conclusions. “Make a mistake because now I’ve increased my FA value it will cost the Steelers more to sign me” perhaps?

    That’s nothing more than a statement of fact really.

    Other Teams will be wary of offering Lewis too much $s because (a) he’s only started to play well in his contract year and (b) ex-Steeler CBs generally don’t do as well on other teams as they’re a product of LeBeau’s system and (when healthy) a top-flight pass-rush and No.43.

    It’s also a pretty decent draft for CBs this year; the top 5 are also larger CBs as well (6′ +) & a cheaper option than Lewis will probably end up being. He’s shown that he’s slow to pick things up so between a Rookie and signing Lewis it’s the same amount of risk involved for other teams

    Lewis played way above expectations this season & congrats to him for that. It would be great if we could keep him but at this stage, with everyone healthy I think he’s a No.3 as it’s obvious that Cortez has to start and Lewis isn’t better than Taylor. Having Ike-Cortez-Lewis as our 3 CBs in 2013 would be fantastic and if we could lock up Cortez and Lewis long-term we’d be set for years to come.

    I think Lewis will find that he won’t be offered as much $s by other teams as what he thinks he will be & signs a 3 year deal to stay with the Steelers.

  • Michael Lepley

    It is the problem with social media and dumb athletes. He really should have kept everything tight lipped until after he signed with whoever. Some GMs will see this and say no biggy, but some will say I don’t want this guy. The Steelers themselves may now be less inclined to make a realistic offer because they don’t feel he’ll stay. Noone knows what he meant, but Lewis himself. No matter what a jerk you are it is always better to say the right things publicly, but none of these guys do it any more. It was always tough with cameras everywhere, but with social media young and dumb will dod what they will do.

  • Michael Lepley

    No one faults a player for testing the market. That doesn’t mean you should make comments saying they made a mistake. “My agent and I feel we should at least see what the market has to offer so we will not be signing any contracts prior to FA opening.” It would be to easy to leave it at that.

  • Michael Lepley

    Lewis will not be like Porter. Lewis only started 1 season in Pittsburgh. He’ll be signing at least a 4 year starter contract once free agency starts. Why would he retire a Steeler?

  • Michael Lepley

    The problem is Brown has done nothing to deserve a chance at the nickle spot, no one outside of Allen has.

  • Bob Loblaw

    I won’t argue that he probably shoulda just kept his mouth shut. Still, there’s always a lot of backlash directed at players testing the market, regardless of what they say.

  • your right…my bad…got them confused some…lol

  • Mike Carroll

    A lot good points here. I’m not convinced other teams will throw big money at Lewis based on one year as primarily the second corner on the team. And I agree that the Steelers will be fine with Cortez and Ike starting next year, but as you say it would be great to keep all three, especially in a pass happy league. I would add, that in the end Cortez will probably deserve more money than Keenan, and the Steelers will need to factor that into their strategy with Lewis.

  • 86n96

    @KeenanLewis23 wrote:
    I was misquoted by a reporter saying it was a mistake not to give me a contract last year. Try to make my image look bad, but here Wat it is, I’m not money greedy, I had my exit meeting today and it went great. I know we in the right direction as far as a contract, I believe strongly I would be apart of Steeler Nation next season. To do a three peat as the number one pass defense period. Here we go