Pre-Draft Free Agent Movements: Cornerback
The vast bulk of the offseason roster moves to be made before the draft are already completed, so now is a good time to start taking a look at how the month of March (and the early portions of April) have affected the depth chart.
The Pittsburgh Steelers entered the offseason with 21 unrestricted free agents. They retained many of them, but also lost a few that they likely wished to keep, and were forced to replace them from outside the organization. The Steelers also released a few players, in addition to signing half a dozen (and counting) players from other teams.
The next position we will take a look at is cornerback, and the offseason gains and losses there that the team has experienced.
None, though the restructuring of Ike Taylor’s contract is worth noting here. Taylor signed a new one-year contract worth $2.75 million in order to play one last season for the team that drafted him.
Scheduled to command a $7 million base salary this season, it was certain that there was no way he would play the year without altering his contract. The pay cut saved the Steelers a much-needed $4.25 million.
Brice McCain: The addition of Brice McCain certainly doesn’t compare to the improvement made at safety via free agency. But McCain does offer a considerable amount of experience, having logged over 2000 snaps over the last five season while playing in sub-packages for the Houston Texans.
McCain had more than his fair share of struggles last season, giving up six touchdowns, but he also has four interceptions in the last three seasons and played well in 2011. He figures to compete with Shamarko Thomas for playing time as the dime back when the Steelers put four corners on the field.
Remaining Free Agents:
Curtis Brown (released): While not properly considered a loss due to the fact that the Steelers released him, Curtis Brown remains a free agent, which is not surprising given that he is recovering from an ACL tear. He has now had three seasons to show that he can offer something on defense since being drafted in the third round, but despite playing well on special teams, his time to prove himself with the Steelers has understandably run out.