Many Pittsburgh Steelers fans have experienced a higher level of excitement around the free agency period than at any other point in the Mike Tomlin era, given the fact that the team actually had some cap space to spend this season.
To top it off, they even signed another team’s free agent on the first day of the free agency period, adding Carolina Panthers safety Mike Mitchell on a five-year, $25 million deal to replace the aging Ryan Clark.
It seems as though fans won’t be getting the player they most wanted, however, and it’s honestly not much of a surprise.
Reports began surfacing over the past 20 minutes that Alterraun Verner has gone off the market, and it appears as though his landing spot is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who intend to offload Darrelle Revis in the coming days.
The excitement for Verner was elevated after reports a couple days ago linking the Steelers to a long list of teams that had expressed interest in Verner, citing the fact that offensive line coach Mike Munchak was his head coach in Tennessee for the past three seasons, and secondary coach Carnell Lake was his secondary coach in college.
The truth, however, is that there was never any clarification as to the sincerity of the interest from the Steelers, nor the Steelers’ belief in the logistics of a Verner contract.
According to Adam Schefter, Verner’s deal is good for $26.5 million over four seasons, with $14 million guaranteed.
That’s a little more than $6.5 million per season, which is a more than reasonable amount for the 2013 Pro Bowl cornerback.
There was some belief that he could command over $10 million per season. The Green Bay Packers re-signed their own Sam Shields to a deal that came in very nearly $10 million per season.
But Verner recently spoke on the radio about his thought process when it comes to money in free agency, saying that he looks at the money more about as a sign of respect from the team, and not simply the total amount, adding that he would rather take less from a team that wanted him more.
Kicking Revis to the curb to bring you in is probably a reasonable sign of respect.
Could the Steelers have afforded the contract given to Verner? Probably, but perhaps they valued help at safety more.