Steelers Sign CB William Gay To Three-Year Contract

The Pittsburgh Steelers officially announced on Monday that they have signed free agent cornerback William Gay to a three-year contract.

The length of the contract, more than the one-year deal that I was expecting, is a bit of a surprise, but I wouldn\’t read too much into the length of the deal as the signing bonus will tell us everything that we need to know. I expect that to be $1 million or less, which should but the first year cap hit for Gay at right around $1 million. Maybe a little more, maybe a little less.

Assuming that is indeed the case with Gay, it would mean that he could easily be released after just one season with very little dead money to account for in 2014. Should he stick in 2014, his second year cap number should also be very manageable. I will pass along the specifics of the deal as soon as they become available.

Being as there was likely a signing bonus involved, Gay is now almost certain to make the Steelers 2013 roster and he provides great insurance should unrestricted free agent cornerback Keenan Lewis leave via free agency over the course of the next few weeks.

Should Lewis indeed be lost, Gay will be the odds on favorite to play the nickel role with Ike Taylor and Cortez Allen manning the two outside spots. Gay also will likely be a candidate to be the Steelers special teams captain in addition, a role that should suit him well.

  • I have no faith in C. Brown covering anyone. Good move!

  • HarryBackside

    Dave, Any chance that this move may be a sign that the Steelers are choosing Lewis over Ike? CB is the only position where the Steelers have a high priced vet and young, proved depth. I would be as shocked as the next guy if Taylor became a cap casualty, but If the team can only afford one high priced CB, I would understand why they would want to go with youth.

  • Kusko_Ken

    This is a great move. says much more about curtis brown than keenan lewis in my opinion.

  • Welcome Back Willie. Now we have 3 corners that work together down here in Florida with Tom Shaw. TEAM UNITY!

  • Kusko_Ken

    i vomit alittle bit in my mouth when i think about his “performance” in that cryboys game,.

  • I think the situation with Lewis is what is has been all offseason They have a price in their head that they are willing to pay him. All it takes is one team to overpay and then he will be gone. They won’t get in a bidding war for Lewis. Gay provides insurance if Lewis leaves and cheap veteran depth if he stays. I don’t think that Taylor has anything to do with all of this at all. A first year cap hit on Lewis, if the deal is structured right, would be managable.

  • Jollyrob68

    It says neither. They always need depth at CB and The Steelers got him at a team friendly discount. C.Brown will be fine as he learns the Steelers system. Remember it took Lewis 3 yrs to get it.

  • steeltown

    Agreed.. Brown needs the competition.. they will battle for #3 or #4 pending the K.Lewis situation… but this move instantly improves special teams

  • Jollyrob68

    Ike would take the paycut to Stay/retire a Steeler. I think this is The VeteranDefense & Dick LeBeau’s last ride.

  • steeltown

    This is a good move on so many levels..

    1. William is cheap and brings experience 2. He can help on special teams, where we need all the help we can get. 3. Good depth, after last year we all have seen how fast you can lose starters, you can never have enough good CB’s, plus lets say K.Lewis is not re-signed, then we’ll have Ike and Cortez with Gay and Brown as nickel and dime backs (better than Brown & Victorian or any other mix of street players) BUT lets say K.Lewis is re-signed, in a year or two Ike Taylor will be gone anyway, and we’d still need the depth and experience that Gay can provide.. not to mention Cortez Allen will be up for a new contract as well. 4.William will push Brown for the 3# or #4 spot (pending what happens with the K.Lewis situation) and right now, Brown needs to be pushed, competition is good

  • Maurice_hill_district

    If Brown’s problem was because he hasnt learned Steelers system, then how did Cortez same draft & smaller college outplay & pass up Brown?

  • steeltown


    Im not giving up on C.Brown yet, but it is interesting that Cortez Allen, who by all accounts was a very raw player coming out of Citadel learned and played almost immediately, while Brown is deemed as not ready and still learning

  • Guest

    I still can’t get over the reaction of the FB crowd, with apologies to Chris Ward. Yeah, DVD really flashed last year: he just about led the league in penalty yards per snap played. Curtis Brown? Is that the lost puppy I saw running around out on the field in the Chargers game? Poor thing, he looked so confused. And let me just say what a great move this is even though the $1 million they’re spending on Gay next year is, down to the penny, the $1 million keeping us from signing BOTH Wallace and Lewis. Keep on keepin’ on, FB Brain Trust.

  • steeltown

    People forget while we were #1 in pass defense in 2012 with Keenan Lewis as a starter, we were also #1 in pass defense in 2011 with William Gay… system players or not, It works

  • SteelerDave

    Unexpected length but a smart signing.

  • Brown has a LONG way to go to be a decent player. Allen is way ahead of him right now, and he still has a ways to go.

  • Kusko_Ken

    If Curtis Brown was playing at Cortez’s level would they have signed Gay?

  • mlc43

    I don’t understand all the hate for this move. I’ve made fun of Gay as much as anyone but he isn’t a bad option at all…could be much worse. The price was more than reasonable for the experience he has. My only hope is that we can still sign Lewis…which I’ve doubted all off season.

  • mghjr88

    Since his rookie season in 2007, William Gay has played in 96 straight regular season games, the longest active streak among NFL cornerbacks.

  • Thomas Rancy

    I’m ok with this as a 4th corner/special teams guy but I want Keenan, Cotez and Ike in top 3 positions.

  • Pete

    Not that I disagree that Brown has room to improve but we have to remember that Brown was drafted in 2011, had no mini camps etc in the strike shortened pre-season and to make matters worse was injured much of that season. 2012 was essentially his rookie season. Cortez Allen has a year of development on him.

    Give him a chance because it’s still early for him. He has the raw tools. Just needs more time with Lake and we should see a lot of improvement. Look how long it took Lewis to turn the corner (no pun intended).

  • Pete

    Brown was injured much of his rookie season. Cortez Allen took advantage of being healthy and working with Lake. Brown couldn’t get on the field. Allen essentially has a year start over Brown. Give Brown more time under Lake and you’ll see he’s going to be good.

  • NW86

    While I’m not too surprised Gay ended up back with the Steelers, I am surprised it happened this quickly. I doubt they offered him any more than Dave indicated above, and if it was in fact a modest deal, you’d think Gay would have preferred to wait until some of the free agency moves start to happen to see if he could do a little better. Maybe it wasn’t about the money, maybe he just wanted to be back in Pittsburgh?

  • WilliamSekinger

    My goodness their is such a disparity among the regular posters on here and the FB crowd. I like the signing…IF they use him as a nickel back. He was and still is a very good nickle back. If the manage to resign Lewis their secondary will be even better than it was last year.

  • Kusko_Ken

    I’m all about giving the kid some time to learn the system but some of this stuff, like basic knowledge of down and distance should already be engrained. He was playing 10-12 yards off the ball at times in that cowboys game on 3rds and medium and short. He has the tools i just hope he has the head.

  • Kusko_Ken

    thats a nice little stat there. too bad ike got hurt, i think he had that streak going since his rookie season too?

  • Phil Heidenreich

    Great points here, and correct me if I’m wrong but the Cards last year had a stout defense under Horton, particularly the secondary with Gay starting opposite Peterson. He may not be starting material, but we’re clearly not paying him to do so. Great value and really adds to the ideas from the earlier post on LeBeau’s DBs.

  • alex

    way too much negative energy goin’ on here…with Gay you get a veteran that the players know, depth at DB, and a leader for an average special teams unit at an economical price…oh, and he likes to blitz off the edge…

    any of that sound good to you guys?

  • Gay was beat early and often. This guy is one of the worst in the league. He can compete with Victorino to have the title of “Worst”. What has happpened to thweyouth movement

  • SteelSpine

    ? How did Marcus Gilbert play offensive tackle as a rookie then? Gilbert didn’t have mini camps etc either. Offensive tackle is kinda hard to play.

  • SteelSpine

    Gay bashing?

  • mghjr88

    Ike had 135 straight games played before he missed this year’s San Diego game. Had Ike not been benched by Cowher earlier in his career, the number would have been higher

  • Fu-Schnickens

    I’d like to officially go on record as officially saying, “OH NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” I have trouble believing that this was a bulwark against anything other than being any good if Lewis leaves. Really?!?! William Gay again? One turn at the mediocrity wheel with the guy wasn’t enough, huh?

  • steepens

    Gay has some good football instincts and has made some good plays for the black n gold, but he is inconsistent and lacks focus at times. Maybe coach Lake will be able to improve upon his game as he’s done for our other corners.

  • steeltown

    Exactly.. and we still had the #1 pass defense in 2011 when Gay started opposite Ike, but as you mentioned he wont be asked to start on the outside this season or next, now its just solid depth

  • Fu-Schnickens

    No, it sounds terrible. He was barely serviceable when he left and now he’s good enough to be a leader for special teams?….and an “economical” price isn’t economical if the guy is a flat out liability – it’s called wasted money on any level.

  • Fu-Schnickens

    If he was THAT good, they wouldn’t have let him go in the first place and he also wouldn’t be leaving the Cardinals without a big paycheck. Let’s employ some critical thinking here…