Looking At The Soft Cornerback Market

He we are roughly 42 hours now into the 2013 league year and Pittsburgh Steelers unrestricted free agent cornerback Keenan Lewis remains unsigned. Lewis is, however, making a visit to the New Orleans Saints on Thursday, but no news has come out of that at the time I am writing this.

It appears that the surplus of above average cornerbacks on the market now has created a soft market as teams just don\’t seem to be willing to pay $7 million a year plus for cornerbacks that are deemed elite.

There have been a few free agent cornerbacks that have signed, however, so let\’s take a look at those deals.

The Detroit Lions signed Chris Houston to a five-year, $25 million contract that included a signing bonus of $6.5 million and base salaries of $1 million, $3.5 million, $4.5 million, $4.5 million and $5 million. If indeed those numbers are correct, the 2013 cap hit for Houston will be $2.3 million and the average yearly value is $5 million.

Leodis McKelvin re-signed with Buffalo Bills and reportedly received a four-year, $17 million contract. The deal contained a $4 million signing bonus and annual $50,000 workout bonuses throughout the contract\’s life. His base salaries are reportedly $2 million, $2.1 million, $3.1 million and $3.1 million. He also is due a $1 million roster bonus in 2014 and a $750,000 roster bonus in both 2015 and 2016. If those numbers hold true, his 2013 cap hit would be $3.15 million because of the structure. His average yearly value, however, is only $4.25 million.

Structure and signing bonus is everything.

Greg Toler signed a three-year, $14.25 million contract with the Indianapolis Colts that included $5 million guaranteed, including a $1 million signing bonus. There is another $750,000 is available to him through incentives. I don\’t have the base salary breakdown, but the average yearly value is $4.75 million.

The San Diego Chargers signed Derek Cox to a four-year, $20 million contract that includes $10.25 million guaranteed and a $5.2 million signing bonus. Once again, we don\’t have the base salaries yet, but average yearly value is $5 million.

Finally, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie signed a on a one-year, $5 million deal with the Denver Broncos on Wednesday.

I will let you decide where Lewis slots within these five cornerbacks. If you think he is worth more, then there is no way he is coming back to Pittsburgh. Should his visit in New Orleans end without him signing, the places that he could possibly land are slowly decreasing. We will likely see a few more cornerbacks sign somewhere on Thursday. Will Lewis be one of them?

  • zyzak

    Dave in you opinion if he returns to the Steelers will he be the starter opposite Ike day one?

  • steeltown

    Love it!

    The flooded market makes the top guys worth $5MIL instead of $7MIL… good news for us, it could help secure him long term in the end… guess we’ll see

    I cant believe these numbers.. if we were ever going to get a deal done with Keenan it would be this year, in this market

  • steeltown

    Are you serious?

    Cortez will eventually take over Ike’s position, but for now, he is a solid nickel behind Ike and Keenan

  • HarryBackside

    I think Lewis’s agent will call the Steelers before accepting an offer from another team. The Steelers can’t offer a high year one salary, so the attractiveness of any offer they make we be the guaranteed money. From the looks of things, I think the Steelers can keep Lewis with a 5 year $30M offer, $10M guaranteed, with the bulk of the salary back loaded to the last three years.

  • Jollyrob68

    I’m for signing Lewis &extending Allen and cutting Ike to save 7million. The future is now.
    ok I’d trade Ike to New Orleans

  • steeltown

    Man.. if we can get him for 5yrs $25-28MIL that would be awesome, a 2013 cap hit of $2-3MIL I think is very doable… basically the Chris Houston type deal

  • Jollyrob68

    McKelvin’s deal works out Great for Lewis & The team but he’s running out of time.

  • SteelersDepot

    you would think, with Cortez being the nickel

  • John21

    Visiting your hometown team will generate a lot of emotion for. Lewis. I think he is gone. With his best friend Wallace gone, it’s easier for him to go. Iwould like him to stay but the price has to be reasonable. Toler’s deal is fair for a benchmark.

  • I think he’s gone. Knowing Peyton and Loomis, they want him and they’ll use the home team advantage to lock him in. AND he’ll get a better deal than any of those you mentioned. Time to start thinking about what to do next.

  • steeltown

    You may be right

    I’ll be upset, but not overly concerned, we have Ike through ’14 and Cortez and Gay will be #2 and #3 respectively, then it gets interesting with C.Brown and Van Dyke

    They’ll draft a CB at some point in the upcoming draft if we lose K.Lewis

  • Reg Sayhitodabadguy Hunt

    I like lewis but if he does go so be it this year its plenty of fish in the sea or draft that being said who do you guys want to go after fa/draft?

  • Alan Felicia

    Here’s a breakdown:
    Houston – (2012) 11 PD/2 INTs/56 tackles, (2011) 14 PD/5 INTs/54 tackles, (2010) 12 PD/1 INT/56 tackles, (2009) 9 PD/INT/47 tackles
    McKelvin – (2012) 3 PD/1 INT/21 tackles, (2011) 8 PD/1 INT/39 tackles, (2010) 11 PD/2 INTs/62 tackles, (2009) Injured only 3 games played
    Toler – (2012) 8 PD/2 INTs/27 tackles, (2011) Injured Out all season, (2010) 9 PD/2 INTs/90 tackles, (2009) 2 PD/1 INT/11 tackles
    Cox – (2012) 11 PD/4 INTs/60 Tackles, (2011) Injured only 6 games, (2010) 8 PD/4 INTs/49 Tackles, (2009 Rookie season) 11 PD/4 INTs/72 tackles
    Rodgers-Cromartie – (2012) 17 PD/3 INTs/51 tackles, (2011) 6 PD/0 INTs/28 tackles, (2010) 17 PD/3 INTs/44 tackles, (2009) 25 PD/6 INTs/50 tackles

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    Structure and signing bonus are everything only if you have placed the correct valuation on a player. The flat cap seems to be causing a lot of re-valuing in the market. I would not want to see them go above $4m/year for him, given the market. I think if you’re the Steelers, you look to give guaranteed money and years for a lower annual cap average

  • Alan Felicia

    $10M guaranteed? That’s a bit much. IMHO, Lewis is worth the same money/salary Pittsburgh gave to William Gay.

  • Alan Felicia

    Nickel? Allen is going to be better than Taylor and Lewis.

  • steeltown

    Key words “going to be” for now he’s playing nickel and doing a damn good job at it

    Although its very likey he may be starting opposite Ike in 2013

  • hergieburbur

    That is right where I think he fits as well.

  • hergieburbur

    Because we have such a stellar draft history with CBs?

  • hergieburbur

    May be, but he’s not right now.

  • Reg Sayhitodabadguy Hunt

    No because we have the right coach in place in lake to mold a the next corner and we havent drafted a cb in the first three Rds for some time which says a lot but I doubt that it happens this year one can only hope

  • No way Taylor will accept a lower annual average than McKelvin, right?

  • HarryBackside

    Same as Gay? That’s a ridiculous.

    $10M is a lot guaranteed, but it’s the only way the Steelers can sign him and stay under the cap. They don’t have the room to pay him a decent year 1 salary and a reasonable signing bonus. Because the signing bonus is generous, the first and second year salary can stay small, and then jump up in 2015 when the Steelers are out from under their large contracts.

  • HarryBackside

    The new CBA says that you can’t renegotiate a drafted rookie’s contract until after he’s been in the league for 3 years.

  • HarryBackside

    Even when Allen becomes a starter, he’ll probably still move to NB when the Steelers use 3 corners. Dude can shut down TE’s.

  • hergieburbur

    Lewis and Brown were both 3rd round picks. We don’t usually a CB in the early rounds because the position isn’t as important in the zone blitz as the front 7 positions are. Even still, we have not had great success in recent years developing CBs. Taylor was a great pickup, Lewis is a solid start and Allen is coming along, but we have had a lot of misses as well.