After initially Tweeting about a new contract, reports are now slowly flowing in that the new contract for Ike Taylor is a straight pay cut for the 2014 season, not an extension similar to the cap-friendly deals given earlier this offseason to safety Troy Polamalu and tight end Heath Miller.
Attempting to read between the lines of Taylor’s Tweet led me to the conclusion that he was more likely referring to years added rather than a straight pay cut, but as Dale Lolley and others have written, that is not the case.
In his Tweet Taylor wrote that the contract would result in him retiring as a Rooney and as a LeBeau—as in Dan Rooney and the Rooney family, and Dick LeBeau, the team’s defensive coordinator.
The INK is about to dry on this paper…im a LIFER…#6BURGHfoalldemhatas…will retire as a ROONEY and a LEBEAU…✌️
— Ike Taylor (@Ike_SwagginU) March 10, 2014
Given that Taylor has spoken on his radio show and elsewhere of his belief that he still has some more good years left in him, I made the assumption that a contract allowing him to retire would run more than one season.
Taylor even spoke earlier this offseason of having approached the coaching staff voluntarily about the possibility of moving to safety in order to extend his career, such is his desire to continue playing.
With a base salary of $7 million owed to Taylor coming into the day, the Steelers will save exactly the amount that that salary is reduced, both in real money and in cap space, whenever that amount is announced.
The pay cut will likely come in at at least a few million dollars, and he would not be the first veteran to take a similar pay cut to remain with the team. Nose tackle Casey Hampton accepted a $3 million salary reduction in 2012 to play one more season.
James Harrison was not as amenable to a pay cut last season, and the Steelers released him as a result.
Taylor’s love and admiration of the Rooney family and for LeBeau, or “Coach Dad”, is well known, and quite obvious from the Tweet. It is not surprising in the least that he was willing to accept less pay in order to remain with the organization that drafted him.
Update: Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting that Taylor’s new one-year contract is worth $2.75 million. Given that his scheduled salary was $7 million, that equates to a pay cut of $4.25 million, which is the amount the Steelers will save in both cap space and real money. Whether true or not, Jason La Canfora writes that Taylor would have been released if he did not accept the proposed reduction amount.