Steelers Show Interest In Cornerback Market With Nolan Caroll, Captain Munnerlyn

Yesterday, we reported that the Pittsburgh Steelers have interest in arguably the top cornerback on the free agent market, the Tennessee TitansAlterraun Verner. ESPN’s Scott Brown later wrote that a source confirmed the interest.

Today, Jason La Canfora is reporting that the Steelers also have interest in another free agent cornerback set to hit the open market in a little over 24 hours.

Pittsburgh is just one of several teams reportedly interested in Miami Dolphins cornerback Nolan Caroll, a former fifth-round draft pick in 2010. The Dolphins have already committed $32 million over four years to cornerback Brent Grimes this offseason.

Brown also reports that the Steelers have inquired about Carolina Panthers cornerback Captain Munnerlyn. The Panthers are busy trying to retain many of their own this offseason, and Munnerlyn could slip through the cracks.

Caroll and Munnerlyn, of course, don’t figure to be nearly as costly as the top end of the cornerback market, which is where Verner will assuredly fall.

Last season, Caroll started 12 of 16 games for the Dolphins, making 47 tackles and intercepting three passes, adding two sacks to the mix as well. He also had a career-high 11 pass deflections in just over 800 snaps.

In 90 targets, he allowed 43 catches for 640 total yards, according to Pro Football Focus, giving up two touchdowns for a quarterback rating when targeted of 65. He is also an efficient tackler, missing only three tackles during the year.

Munnerlyn registered 74 tackles to go along with two interceptions, a forced fumble, and three and a half sacks in 2013. He has seven interceptions in his five-year career, including four in the past two years.

Last season was the first time in which he started all 16 games, but he has 50 total starts in his career. He also just so happens to be among the more efficient tacklers at the position.

There is a constant flurry of reports from various sources claiming such and such team has interest in such and such player during this time of year, but it would be hard to ignore a pattern emerging this offseason.

The Steelers have already been linked to three free agent cornerbacks, and they are also known to have met with most of the top cornerbacks in the draft, including arguably the head of the class, Justin Gilbert.

With Ike Taylor entering the final year of his contract and the team officially giving up on Curtis Brown, it’s clear that the position needs to be addressed.

The Steelers very rarely ever land a high-money free agent. They are very rarely even linked to being interested in one. Realistically, Caroll and Munnerlyn might bemore practical targets this offseason for Pittsburgh than Verner, even if the Steelers can claim to have two of his former coaches on staff in Mike Munchak and Carnell Lake.

But there are other potential free agent targets to look to as well, such as Tarrell Brown, Walter Thurmond, and, as Alex Kozora wrote this morning, Corey Graham from the Baltimore Ravens. The depth behind the top three cornerbacks on the roster combine for virtually no playing experience, nor pedigree.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

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

  • Luke Shabro

    I have literally seen nothing of Nolan Carroll so I can’t say if I think we should or shouldn’t but the numbers look decent and hey he’s probably cheaper at least. I always liked Cap but he’s pretty short 5’8 but about 200 lbs. I remember hearing he played very physical though.

  • steeltown

    If we landed Nolan Carroll or Cory Graham I’d be ecstatic

  • CW

    Yeah, both of these corners make sense both on money and potential to add at least some quality experience to the secondary. Hopefully the Steelers can land one of these guys in free agency.

  • 804Stiller

    Agreed, a solid corner at a reasonable cost would be nice. I saw PFT’s pre-free agency mock and they had Gilbert and Dennard dropping and us still grabbing Lee from USC. Man, that would be as dissapointing as it would be likely for both of them to drop that far.

  • dkoy85

    If we land a corner back in the price range as, let’s say, Cory Graham, do you think we will hold onto Ike and make him take a pay cut- this scenario definitely puts the ball in the Steelers court- or will we outright release him?

    A secondary with Allen, Graham, Gay and Ike would be a very solid unit and allow Fuller(wishful thinking) to come along this year and take over a more prominent role next year when Ike’s gone and start in ’15 when Gay is gone. And also only require 1 CB pick in this years draft and allow them to move up in the draft if Watkins or Mack somehow fall to 10 or 11? Thoughts? I know the trade into the top 10 sounds crazy so don’t hate on that!

  • srdan

    I could better comment if I understood what corner position they are looking for, the number one, two or three? lol

  • steelster

    yes, I agree and it’s all about the price being right because we need to add depth and spread that money around.

  • steeltown

    The Steelers hosted Carroll for a pre-draft visit back in 2010

  • cp72

    I was thinking the same thing about Captain. When I was looking at the available guys I almost crossed him off the list because of his height. We normally look for the 6’0 guys. I have only watched a few of the Carolina games. He seems like a smart tough little corner. He is physically at an disadvantage as number one corner but I think he would be a real solid number 2 or a great slot guy.

  • srdan

    shefter just reported that 56 is getting cut today with a post june 1st designation

  • James Kling

    If true, WOW.

  • steeltown

    He’s a good player, but with WillieG, Shark Thomas, Antwon Blake and Isaiah Green all 5’10 and under… I’d prefer more guys with size

  • Matt Manzo

    I’m confused. How we get post June 1st if he’s cut today?

  • Matt Manzo

    Does cutting Woodley right now mean we wanted some cash right away to be able to jump in the game tomorrow? Or does it mean we won’t see any money til June 1st?

  • steeltown

    It’s a designation.. players are still allowed to explore FA

  • WilliamSekinger

    They still have to carry Woodley’s cap hit until June 1st, but cutting him today let’s him play in the free agent market longer and has a better chance of landing a higher contract. It’s the ‘nice’ thing to do for players cut post June 1st

  • dgh57

    If it’s true that he is being cut now then it’s because they want to let Woodley have a shot at finding other employment now that FA has started. Any money cleared won’t be available till after June 1.

  • dkoy85

    Agree with dgh57. Also, every team also knows they have to set money aside to sign their draft picks and this could be that money, essentially freeing up money now that would have been put to the side if they hadn’t release Woodley with a post June 1st designation.

  • Rubem Dornas

    This might be the hint.

  • cp72

    Yeah me too but those guys are getting expensive.I have a feeling we may have 2 or 3 new corners by the time the season starts.

  • dkoy85

    Direct quote from Verner-

    “I would feel more obliged to go to a team that paid me $6 or $7 million and made me one of the highest-paid players on the team,” Vernor explained, “than go to a team that paid me $8 or $9 million and I wasn’t one of the highest-paid players on the team.”

    Makes you believe the Steelers have a chance. He also said he wants to go to a team with a winning culture and the only other teams besides the Steelers rumored to be interested in him are the Vikings, Lions, Redskins and Rams- I’d have to say nobody in that list has a better winning culture or QB than the Steelers. They very well could show him the respect he wants by releasing Taylor and giving him his money.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Fascinating. Along the lines of what I’ve been harping on for ages. Save $1, 2 or 3 million here and there on the big contracts and you end up with money to fill up your roster with adequate starters and backups. Blow all your money on 5 or 6 players and you end up with rookies and everyone’s leftovers.

  • Davide

    According to ProFootballFocus stats, Caroll and Munnerlyn seem not so good (in last three years). Verner, on the contrary, has been very solid since 2010…

  • shawn

    No to Cap !

  • patrick Mayfield

    There might be up to 30 hints a year…
    plus unlimited local hints…

  • Lance E. Mroz Jr.

    Is Carroll the CB Brady was picking on in the shootout with Chad Henne a few years back? I mean, he kinda picked on all of them but one guy really stands out in my memory as being extra bad that night.