Former Steelers CB William Gay One And Done With Cardinals

Former Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback William Gay signed a two-year contract last offseason with the Arizona Cardinals during the free agency signing period. He won\’t, however, see the second year of that deal as he was released on Friday as the Cardinals attempt to get under the salary cap.

Gay, who was an unrestricted free agent last offseason, was rumored to have turned down a one-year offer for the minimum to stay in Pittsburgh. He chose instead to sign a two-year deal with the Cardinals worth $3.2 million. That deal also reportedly included a $500,000 signing bonus. His signing with the Cardinals also reunited him with former Steelers defensive backs coach Ray Horton, who was the defensive coordinator at the time.

Gay was scheduled to make $3.2 million in 2013 after a playing time escalator bumped his salary well over the original $1.475 million he was originally set to earn.

Now that Horton is the new defensive coordinator with the Cleveland Browns, that could possibly be the next landing spot for Gay as a backup and special teams contributor. Only if he takes the minimum, however.

Could Gay return to the Steelers on a non-guaranteed one-year deal for the minimum? Anything is possible, I suppose, but the Steelers seem to have moved on with young cornerbacks DeMarcus Van Dyke and Josh Victorian as depth players that also play on special teams.

Should unrestricted free agent Keenan Lewis ultimately be re-signed, the Steelers will have him, Ike Taylor, Cortez Allen and Curtis Brown as their top four cornerbacks with Van Dyke and Victorian fighting to provide depth. Should Lewis wind up elsewhere, then Gay might be considered an option for depth purposes and special teams.

  • steeltown


    I could see Horton bringing him into the mix in Cleveland

  • Dan

    I’m a bit suprised that he must have performed that poorly in AZ to be a salary cap release that probably saves <$2mil. He had a few pretty good moments for us in 2011, and although far from stellar he seemed adequate enough. I don't recall any particularly atrocious performances outside of his rendition of "Here we go" at a Super Bowl parade.

  • SteelersDepot

    Maybe markthompson above can point to more of these “stupid ideas” of mine. I obviously posted that the Browns would be the logical landing spot for Gay. The ONLY way I could imagine his return would be for depth purposes only and ONLY if Keenan Lewis is not retained. Gay has always been a good special teams player. Nobody is suggesting he come back and play 800 snaps.

  • SteelersDepot

    Why? You can’t pay a backup CB & special teams player $1.5 million when you are cap crunched.

  • steeltown

    Ha! Yea and he also seems to think Sylvestor (who played all of ONE snap in 2012) is better than Larry Foote! Haha!

    Everyone says how terrible Foote was in coverage, I’ll admit he’s not the greatest when dropping into coverage, BUT we were still #1 in Pass Defense, again…. Larry played his butt off!

  • Sylky_Mcnasty

    He was pretty atrocious in pass protection up until his contract year Ill give him that. He pretty much was an automatic 3rd down conversion until 2011. Ill give him that much. He stepped it up in 2011 but not worth millions.

  • Sylky_Mcnasty

    I will not lie. The ideas on this blog are much more in line with what is the Steelers ideology. Ive see some mock draft say we should take a run at Christine Michael…I cant see us even looking at him because of how badly character and motivation issues have affected us in recent drafts. His whole attitude stinks. I mean cmon he even missed interviews at the combine because of oversleeping.

  • I think he’ll land in Cleveland most likely as well. But Gay was a decent nickel guy as long as people realize his ceiling, that he is only a nickel guy and never going to be a 1 or 2. We could do worse than pick him up as a 3 or 4 at league minimum.

  • Lewis was pretty atrocious until 2012..his final year of his rookie contract. That’s why teams will likely view him as a system corner. Gay is a system corner and could return for the minimum to back up Allen if Lewis leaves. Cleveland would be more likely to go after Lewis than Gay in my opinion. Hayden/Lewis would set them up pretty well.

  • steeltown

    If we lose K.Lewis.. I wouldnt mind bringing in Gay for cheap to be the #3 behind Ike and Cortez

  • Sylky_Mcnasty

    I forgot to mention this bodes well for us with Kenan Lewis with the whole system DB perception. But thats about where I will end my comparison. Kenan plays more physically than Willie and makes better plays on the ball. Willie was always getting caught looking into the backfield and always turning around late. Kenan matched up with number 1 receivers down the stretch and played well, and I doubt Willie would have ever been able to handle that during his contract year.

  • SteelersDepot

    Gay was scheduled to make $3.2M in 2013 after a playing time escalator bumped his salary well over the original $1.475M.

  • Jollyrob68

    I’d sign Gay now for Minimum. Can never have enough CB. It puts some pressure on Lewis to resign because Gay did start. plus they might trade Curtis Brown is he doesn’t turn the corner this year. I wouldn’t he’s awesome on special teams.

  • Jollyrob68

    Remember Gay sealed some games for The Steelers. Sign him for league Mini

  • CW

    I could see the Steelers bringing back Gay if he doesn’t get picked up by early summer even if Keenan Lewis is retained. Gay is probably best as a special teams and nickel back role player in the Steelers defense and by then the team would have a pretty good idea how well Curtis Brown, Josh Victorian, and DVD are working out.

    While I expect them to keep two of those three regardless of what happens with Keenan Lewis, if Gay can come in and be a cheap backup option and special team player like he was before and any of those three look like a total flop, Curtis Brown I’m looking at you, the Steelers could pull him back in as a solid backup.

  • Pete

    Wow Dave. I’m surprised you even bothered to comment on that one. Have you ever read some of the Facebook comments on PG? All I can say is thank goodness a lot of these fans do not manage the Steelers. They would’ve fired Tomlin, Hayley AND Colbert, gutted the team of most of the players including Woodley, and goodness knows who they would draft.

  • Maurice_hill_district

    Agreeing. Doubt Gay wuld take the vet minimum but if he wuld, he’s better than VanDyke & Victorian, for our 4th CB. And if Curtis Brown doesnt improve then Gay is same player as C Brown, for nickel D only & special teams.

  • I wouldn’t mind if they signed him now. I would rather they signed Breaston and/or Henderson first though. They probably have to clear up a bit more cap space before any of the above happens anyway.

  • Exactly!

  • I would much rather have Lewis too.

  • Sylky_Mcnasty

    That he did and he also helped put a SB out of reach for us by getting abused by James Jones and Aaron Rodgers (which I know is unfair because that combo has done that to tier 1 CBs but it still stings! lol)

  • steeltown

    Exactly.. I dont see any reason to sign Gay (unless K.Lewis walks of course) given our current cap situation, as said, I would rather have Breaston or be able to re-sign Will Allen than bring back W.Gay

  • JohnnyV1

    For $500k, I’d leave Pittsburgh too, well, if I were in Pittsburgh. Mr. Gay made he right move. He might wind up in Cleveland w/ Mr Horton, his old boss.

  • alex

    excellent, we now have a deep secondary, but will we have enough $$$ to retain Foster now that somebody has a secret…

  • Guest

    I’m not saying we should bring Gay back, nor was Dave endorsing the idea. So, for starters, some of you need to work on your reading comprehension skills.

    Second, Gay left because he played pretty well two seasons ago and the Cardinals offered him more money. The idea that he ought to take less money to stay in Pittsburgh, where he might very well have ended up sitting on the bench, “for the good of the Steelers” is beyond asinine.

    Third, Gay was responsible for as many takeaways last season as Cortez Allen (2 int, 3 ff). All Steelers CBs combined (including Allen) accounted for 7 total.

    Finally, as has already been pointed out, Gay was released because he hit the playing time escalator clause in his contract (which suggests he played well enough to be on the field, albeit for the Cardinals), and thus he would have counted for more than $3 mil against the cap, which is more than twice what the Cardinals originally signed him for.

    I realize it’s the Internet, but next time you feel the need to share your uninformed opinions, take a minute to ask yourself whether you have any clue what you’re talking about or if you’re a victim of the reactionary groupthink that grips a small but vocal portion of our fan base. You’re not just embarrassing yourself; you embarrass the rest of us.

  • Jollyrob68

    I’d love Henderson. I’m surprised more Vikings haven’t tried to play for Tomlin

  • Jollyrob68


  • Jollyrob68

    Someone mentioned he could possibly back up the FS. Special teams can always use the help.