The first day of free agency in the 2013 NFL league year has come and gone and Pittsburgh Steelers unrestricted free agent cornerback Keenan Lewis remains unsigned. Is that surprising? No, not really, considering how flooded the cornerback free agent market seems to be at this moment.
Heading into Wednesday there hasn\’t even been any news of teams being very interested in Lewis, but that could certainly change in a matter of moments. So do the Steelers still have a chance to re-sign him? The longer he remains unsigned, yes.
The Steelers did what they normally do on the first day of free agency, and that\’s sign a few of there own unrestricted free agents. As of Tuesday evening they had re-signed guard Ramon Foster, linebacker Larry Foote, wide receiver Plaxico Burress and tight end/fullback David Johnson. All of those moves did not eat up as much cap space as you would think and the team still sits roughly $4.4 million under the cap with all tenders and restructures accounted for.
The Steelers will gain $5.5 million in cap space come June 2nd as a result of the expected release of guard Willie Colon on Wednesday. They also will not need to worry about signing their top two draft picks until after that date. As I see it right now, they have roughly $2-3 million that they could afford in a way of a first year cap hit for Lewis.
I suspect that within 72 more hours, maybe less, we will know if Lewis is staying or going. The Steelers are not going to wait around for a week and let Lewis hold up their plans. They will likely want a verdict on him by the weekend. Wouldn\’t you?
There are a ton of experienced cornerbacks on the market right now and that list grew even larger on Tuesday when Nnamdi Asomugha and Antoine Winfield were released. Remaining unsigned in addition to those two and Lewis are Sean Smith, Brent Grimes, Aqib Talib, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Chris Houston. That\’s a large list and don\’t forget that Darrelle Revis is still in play as well.
Should Lewis remain unsigned through Wednesday evening, you would have to think that he would start considering returning to Pittsburgh at discounted rate. They can still afford him at the right price, but they won\’t wait all summer for him to make his decision.