Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman was a guest Friday on NFL Total Access and was asked who he thinks are the best cornerbacks in the league besides himself. His answer included a somewhat surprising name from the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“Well if Darrelle Revis is playing then I would say it\’s him, but this year he didn\’t get a chance to play,” started Sherman. “So there were some pretty good performances. Tim Jennings had a great year, but I think it would be out of, surprisingly, Antonio Cromartie, and Keenan Lewis from Pittsburgh doesn\’t get a lot of respect because he doesn\’t get a lot of picks, but he\’s a heck of a corner. So I think it\’s a close discussion between those guys and Charles Tillman. That\’s the discussion.”
Sherman is definitely one of the top young cornerbacks in the league right now. He finished tied for second last year in interceptions with 8 and led the league in passes defensed with 25 of them. Lewis finished second behind Sherman in passes defensed with 24, but of course failed to record an interception.
This will be an interesting offseason for Lewis, who is all set to start off the new league year as an unrestricted free agent. The Steelers seem set to allow him test the market to see what is out there before making an attempt to re-sign him.
I broke down back in December what the possible market value for Lewis could be based on his free agency competition, and what happened last year with the free agent cornerbacks, and came up with an average year value between $7-8 million. The lack of interceptions by Lewis, however, combined with the fact that several teams might consider him a system cornerback, could of course severely drop his market value by a couple of million a year.
Keep in mind that several more teams will be switching to a 3-4 defense in 2013, and that includes the Cleveland Browns, who now have Ray Horton as their defensive coordinator, and a lot of cap space of which to work with. Horton was of course the Steelers defensive backs coach when Lewis was drafted back in 2009. While Horton worked with Lewis his first two years in the league, it wasn\’t until Carnell Lake replaced him when Lewis started to turn the proverbial corner.
Lewis has credited Lake in the past with his turnaround and he said on Twitter after the season ended that he was not money greedy and that his exit meeting with the Steelers went great. He also added at that time that he believed he would be with the Steelers in 2013 and that the two sides were moving in the right direction as far as early contract talks had gone.
Free agency starts on March 12 so in four weeks we should have a pretty good idea if Lewis will remain in Pittsburgh or not. I, for one, hope he does.
Over the years our D has either had a strength in the front 7 or the secondary. Lately its been the secondary. Loosing Keenan would diminish that strength, and I don’t see the front seven being a strength next year either unless young guys step up. However, I would rather stick with what we know works.
If Ike was a few years younger this wouldnt even be a discussion as Cortez would be the next man up opposite Ike, but Ike is no spring chicken and I see Lewis and Cortez as the future.. and the future is bright. SIGN THIS GUY
Resigning Keenan is a must. As it was already mentioned He and Cortez are the future. Cortez already proved he can force some turnovers. He sure was fun to watch at the end of the season. I also believe that if the front 7 starts getting consistent pressure on quarterbacks that Keenan too will get turnovers. Even if he isn’t getting turnovers he is playing smart and keeping the receiver from catching the ball and if they do catch it he is great at tackling the catch. He is the perfect corner for Dick LeBeau’s defense. And Lake made that possible. Horton certainly didn’t have him playing like that. I believe his desire to return to Pittsburgh coupled with their desire to resign him will bring him back to Pittsburgh in 2013 and beyond. I only hope that if some team makes him an offer that he doesn’t get hypnotized by all the zeros.
You don’t improve your team and defense through subtraction!! I say they resign Lewis. It is that or risk him playing for the Brownies and Ray Horton a division rival!
I believe his desire to play for Lake who helped him improve so much is the biggest advantage the Steelers have in resigning Lewis!!
+1. sign him! Don’t count on a discount due to lack of interceptions, not going to happen. There are some horrible teams w/ horrible defenses that need fixing, with lots of cap room.
I would love the Steelers to resign him, but I won’t be heartbroken if they decide not to invest money into yet ANOTHER defensive player. He had a solid year, but Sherman’s evaluation is a bit off in my opinion. One career interception in 4 years playing is not worth a huge contract, especially when you have a talented player behind you ready to step in and GLARING needs on offense.
AJ Green, Torrey Smith, Anquan Bolden, Gresham, Pitta, even the up and coming Josh Gordon in Cleveland, these guys are IN our division, we need all the quality CB’s we can get
Nobody is ready to step in at his level, not to mention Ike has 2 year left at tops. And we don’t have two guys ready to step up. Wait, we do, but Lewis is one of them. Nor are INTs the be all end all for a CB when not a lot of passes are completed his way. Ike Taylor anyone?
The sad thing is he should have been starting a year ago. Over William Gay
He started 1 season the Steelers secondary was the best in the NFL the turnovers will come. The team should have been starting this kid over William Gay last year.
I think he should be resigned and should’ve probably started over Gay, but to say the turnovers will come is quickly becoming a go-to cliche for the Steelers defense. The same has been said about Ike Taylor in the past, but he just doesn’t have good hands. Players that cause turnovers cause turnovers. If it’s a choice in the front office between Lewis and Allen.. I go with Allen. As a fan it’s a great choice to have to make either way.
If Lewis gets other teams offering him the Federal Reserve yes let him go but to have 3 weapons such as Lewis,Taylor and Allen you got to try to keep that together. It is a cliche about turnovers, but imagine if the defense can get more pressure and more sacks on QB’s.
The first five games the Steelers were sending pressure that wasn’t getting to the QB and the result was giving up big plays, the last seven games they didn’ t send that blitz we are used to seeing yet less passing yards given up.
The pressure sent at QB’s has to get there it will force turnovers and cause QB’s to hurry and make more mistakes.If they can get pressure with this secondary look the hell out!
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