Steelers Rumored To Show Interest In Titans CB Alterraun Verner

Even though the Pittsburgh Steelers are potentially within striking distance, it’s not yet known just how seriously they intend to be players during free agency—at least with respect to other teams’ players. With having already wrapped up their own top free agent—outside linebacker Jason Worilds—there are rumors of their interest turning elsewhere.

As reported yesterday, there seems to be potential interest in Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley, who is recovering from spinal fusion surgery performed by one of the Steelers’ own team physicians.

Also late last night, word came out from Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean that the Steelers are among several teams that have expressed interest in pending free agent cornerback Alterraun Verner.

A former fourth-round pick of the Tennessee Titans in 2010, Verner has played in all 64 games of his career, starting 47 of them, including all 32 contests over the course of the 2012 and 2013 seasons.

He really blossomed in particular during this past season when he intercepted five passes and got his hands on another 22. In total, he has 11 interceptions in his four-year career to go along with 50 pass deflections.

A competent run defender for the position, Verner is regularly in on the tackle, making 57 this past season, with 49 being solo tackles. The season prior, he made 81 tackles. In his rookie season, he had 101 tackles.

In coverage, Verner allowed under half of the passes targeted in his zone to be caught, allowing 39 receptions on 79 targets for 579 yards and two touchdowns. His quarterback rating against was just 55.8.

The Steelers are certainly in the market for a cornerback. Their top cornerback, Ike Taylor, is in the last season of his contract, and likely the last season of his career. If the Steelers really want Verner, they may release Taylor altogether.

Either way, there will be an immediate need at the position in 2015 with only William Gay and Cortez Allen possessing any experience.

Gay, primarily a nickel corner, is in the second year of a three-year contract and himself is 29 years old. Allen is in the final year of his rookie contract, and where his ceiling lies is still a mystery.

Cornerback is a high-priority position as a draft target for the Steelers right now. But if they decide to make a splash in free agency with a signing such as Verner, that could quickly change overnight.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • CW

    I’d believe a first round trade back to acquire another 3rd round pick story more than the Steelers being serious players for one of the top free agent cornerbacks this year.

  • Jeff Anoble

    If cutting Ike Taylor outright, how much can the Steelers afford to offer Verner? Seems like a no-brainer if they take Ike’s 7 mil or so and give it to him? Pay a guy 7 mil who was the worst corner in the league last year and probably in his last days or get a young guy for multiple years.

  • Brian K

    If they were to sign Verner and cut Ike, I still think they go for one in the draft. The CB depth is so thin and bad that adding one guy isn’t enough.

  • Jason White

    Going off of what Sam Shields just got from the Packers its sure to drive up the price on Verner.

  • sean mcmartin

    would be a nice addition ..cut Ike and get a starter..

  • Matthew Marczi

    Oh, no question about that. But it does lessen the urgency, I think, to reach for one in the first round, for example. But you’re right, they definitely need to replenish the depth some, even if they hypothetically landed Verner.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Verner is a big playmaker…would be a nice addition.

  • Mar

    Boy I wish. If we really have a chance to get Alterraun and cut Ike I say do it 110%. If u haven’t had the chance to watch him play he is simply a baller that plays with aggression and confidence. He is without a doubt one of the best corners in the game and and if he decides to rock with the black and gold he will bring something we’ve been missing forever from the CB position (and will be the first All-Pro CB to play for the Steelers since Rod)

  • gene mann

    Did Ne like playing for MM maybe that could be an ace in the hole

  • SteelerDave

    I live in TN and see more Titans than Steelers sometimes but I tell you, Verner is the real deal. Play-maker, durable and one of probably the top 6 corners in the league. I would think it would take at least 8 or 9 mil per to sign him though. Probably 5/47 with 25 garunteed.

  • cp72

    It’s likely that the Sam Shields deal put any of the top tier corners out of our reach. I was hoping 7 to 8 million per year was going to be the market for the top tier corners. It’s looking like it’s going 9 to 10 million. Maybe they can pull it off but that seems pretty steep for us to handle.

    We will likely let the smoke clear after a few days and let sanity set back in and then make a few moves.

  • steelster

    if they restructure Timmons and cut taylor that would give them 11 million more this move might be possible wow that would be awesome


    I’m all for the Steelers to bring in a FA cornerback. I’m not sure if Verner is going to command $9 million a year like Shields. If so, I’d look elsewhere.


    What about Tracey Porter? He seems solid, makes plays and wouldn’t command a ton of money.


    I don’t see the Steelers being players at that price.

  • Callentown

    If he’s this good, why are the Titans letting him go??

  • NW86

    Umm, they’re not trying to. He is testing free agency – may end up staying with the Titans but if not, it will be because they were out-bid for his services.

  • Paddy

    Every team will make a bid but it will be the classic overvalue

  • dgh57

    At least this make more sense than the Jermichael Finley rumor and a position of real need with a CB in Alterraun Verner! The problem I see is they’ll have to change their ways about FA and be involved early(instead of picking up what’s left over)or they’ll miss out on the guy. Another problem is MONEY! Unless they cut Ike I can’t see where they can come up with his asking price. So in the end I don’t see us signing him but going about business as usual.

  • ergomesh

    How much for Talib? Seem like they have similar tangables except Talib coming from winning term having top play to WR week in week out . Would love to see estimats on all CBs in free agency with rating compared with last years CB signings ala Kennan Lewis we also need to still ink cortex now before we have to loss him next year after he has a a lockdown year (pray no injury)

  • Dan

    Dan Rooney loves Ike he ain’t goin no where I will b shocked if he gets cut even though it’s. A no brainer he should’ve been cut a long time ago

  • Brian Miller

    I agree….with his price going to skyrocket, there is no way we afford this…but some of the other, lesser priced Cbs might be an option…

  • Dan

    Ike aint goin anywhere dream on everybody the rooneys luv him and he will take the paycut they ask of him even though he shoud b cut do to his play

  • dkoy85

    Right now we know they can clear the space to get him. It’s all going to come down to how they view Ike and if they want to release Woodley post June 1st to use that cap space to sign the draft picks. I’d rather see them go FS in free agency but I’d be very happy if they signed him. They must feel like they have a shot right? Otherwise, why show interest to a player everyone knows will command top dollar? Due dilligance is for looking at the draft and looking at cheap bargain FA’s, not top tier corners IMO.

  • Callentown

    Gotcha. Thx..

  • Josh Knepshield

    Trade back with the 49ers, grab one of their 2 second rounders. At 30, select Louis Nix III, DT, Notre Dame. At 46, select Kyle Fuller. At 56, select Allen Robinson, WR. Sign: Chris Cook, CB/S, from Minnesota. The Steelers loved him when he was in the draft, but the vikings snatched him from us.

  • Josh Knepshield

    Talib is more man to man, Verner is more zone

  • steelster

    Vikings fans say chris cook sucks and gets burned a lot, no thanks

  • Bradys_Dad

    I’m good with everything except Nix. I just don’t think that he’s the real deal. Weight issues aside, he’s slow and I think he’ll have a hard adapting to 2 pro OL on him versus what he’s used to in the college ranks. The men get separated from the boys in those trenches.


    If he loves him so much give him a job as a coach.

  • Dan

    Ya he can teach all the dbs how to catch

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    If Kevin Colbert projects the salary cap to be much higher, you bet he’ll go after the most coveted (by the Steelers, not anybody else) free agent and sign him to not a backloaded deal but a dumbell deal that goes up big in mid years and lower in late to last years of contract. It’s not a favorable situation for anybody because its agents would want a backloaded/frontladed deals where they either will be guaranteed big bucks or earns some now. Also that its more complicated too.

    If you really know Verner, he’s one of two best zone cornerback in league (richard sherman being other) and would make a great transition to the Steelers.

  • Jazz

    For years the F/O never has considered the position of DB a high priority. Dating back to 1987 when they drafted Rod Woodson in the 1st round, there has been only two other DB’s drafted in the 1st round since then. Chad Scott – 1997 and Deon Figures – 1993. With the exception of Woodson, the previous two 1st round picks never became an impact player. Their Defense is focused primarily on the LB’s. How many times have we seen their defense get torched in the secondary due to slow and inefficient DB’s? Yes, I know the defense cannot have All Pro’s at every position, but when was the last time the Steelers had an All Pro CB? A legit Playmaker? Something is clearly wrong there, should they reevaluate the way they scout their DB’s? They have selected several CB’s and Safeties with the 2/3 and 4th picks in recent drafts. Unfortunately, most have turned out to be DUDS!

  • Jazz

    I think the Steelers Organization is one of the best in all Professional Sports. But lately the F/O has become too emotionally attached to their players and this has clouded their judgement as when to move on from aging veterans. The same thing occured after the Steelers won their 4th Championship back in the 70’s. You cannot mix your personal feelings with business, it never works. It took the Steelers nearly two and half decades to get back to the Super Bowl after winning their 4th Lombardi. I hate to see what lies ahead. Extending Troy was a mistake, he is no longer the playmaker he once was. If they extend Ike Taylor, then my point is well justified. And say what you will, Mike Pouncey is WAY OVERRATED.

  • Jazz

    I wouldn’t touch this guy; he seems to always get hurt during the biggest games of the season. He’s not durable. I say Pass.