On Flowers And Fertilizer

First off, apologies to all the gardeners who have stumbled across this article seeking advice of the plant nurturing variety through search engines.

Multiple reliable Pittsburgh Steelers beat writers have confirmed the team’s interest in free agent cornerback Brandon Flowers by speaking directly to team personnel.

Of course, when a former Pro Bowl cornerback is released in June, it’s not surprising for 31 teams to perk their ears up and at least take a look around.

The organization didn’t appear confident that Flowers, who was visiting with the San Diego Chargers, would leave the city without signing a contract. He did, but according to Scott Brown of ESPN, he has no visit scheduled with the Steelers.

As he is wont to do, head coach Mike Tomlin fed the media the standard line that he and the team are “open to all possibilities”, saying that he is “not opposed to anything that will increase our chances of winning”.

But exactly how realistic is it not just that the Steelers would potentially pursue a higher profile free agent such as Flowers at this time of the offseason, but that they would land him?

Regardless of what one thinks the Steelers should do, the fact that the team has actually indicated interest cannot be discounted.

Moreover, in a wildly divergent course from past seasons, they would actually have the money to sign him this year.

Other high profile names have been tossed around in years past with the Steelers supposedly expressing interest, but they would not even have had reasonable means to get the player and remain under the salary cap.

There’s no question that signing Flowers would be a valuable commodity in bringing in a player with his potential, considering that the depth chart behind the top three at the position is largely untested. It can certainly be argued that the Steelers were lucky last year that that depth did not have its feet put to the fire.

But would it be accurate to say that the Steelers need to bring in a player like him to compete this season? I don’t believe so.

Two players entering their second year with the team, Antwon Blake and Shamarko Thomas, have the potential to be significant contributors as inside corners in sub-packages. The Steelers also signed Brice McCain, a cornerback who already has experience playing in the nickel role, earlier this offseason, and he will have to compete for a job.

Rookie cornerback Shaquille Richardson offers some size at six foot, and from the sounds of it hasn’t disappointed during practices by any means. The Steelers have used rookie cornerbacks in sub-packages before, so he also could be an option.

I suspect that the primary motivation that many might feel regarding the Steelers looking to sign Flowers is the fact that Ike Taylor is at the end of his career.

Who takes his place in the starting lineup in 2015? William Gay, opposite Cortez Allen? Is that really a duo formidable enough to compete for a championship? Who’s to say that Allen and Flowers would be any better?

I have no idea whether or not the Steelers will choose to pursue Flowers, which could be contingent upon how eager he is to find a new team quickly. The league is in a dead zone before training camps open in late July, so theoretically there wouldn’t necessarily have to be a rush to judgment.

I’m not even particularly sure how I feel about the prospects of him joining the team, nor its financial ramifications. But I will be watching with interest none the less, if only because, for once, the Steelers could actually pursue that free agent whose name they’re connected to, if they chose to do so.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

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

  • Kenneth Wilt

    I think Flowers is a guy you sign if you get a shot to, but I think there are caveats which need to be followed:

    1. I don’t think he will give us an option. Not sure he wants to come East.
    2. I don’t think you give him a ton of money guaranteed.
    3. I don’t think we can win a bidding war. Can we afford to sign him? Yes, assuming there isn’t a bidding war, but I am sure there are others who have more money.

  • ApexSteel

    1. He’s from Florida and he went to Virginia Tech. I don’t think he would have a problem being in his natural timezone.
    2, That’s a given. We can afford to give him a decent amount, but not too much.
    3. Who are we really bidding against? Detroit needs a Corner, but they have 6 digit cap room. We have around 4 mil more when it comes to San Diego and 2 mil more than Baltimore(And they just signed 2 corner). We definitely have room to make moves, but it just all depends on how much he wants.

  • ApexSteel

    I wouldn’t have a problem with the signing because it does seem like we
    would have a good shot at him. A shutdown slot who can play outside if
    needed? That’s a nice player to have. I mean the Antwon Blake hype is nice, but I would rather have a guy who’s actually done it. Not someone who’s only done it in shorts.

  • Signing Flowers would really help to ease depth concerns at CB. I can’t get past the notion that he’s in no hurry and someone will eventually overpay him. If the Steelers have any shot at signing him, it will probably need to happen sooner rather than later.

  • pittsburghjoe

    Let’s say they “hypothetically” sign him, could they cut Ike? I dont think they would cut him because there are strong loyalty ties with Rooney, and he just renegotiated, taking a pay cut. However, I am wondering what the effect would be on the cap?

  • dgh57

    We’ve done some things to help support our CBs so I think we show some patience till FA time next year and maybe sign a good CB then(when Ike is out of the picture) like we did with Mike Mitchell(when Clark was out of the picture). We also still need to resign one of our own in C. Allen.

  • i’llTellYaWhat

    good to know

  • Luke Shabro

    Wouldn’t mind if we signed him for $2 mil a season but that’s it

  • CW

    Said this before in another post about Flowers, but I’m fine with whatever the team decides to do here.

    If they can sign him for a decent amount, great. If they don’t, that’s fine too. It’s strange to say but this is more of a luxury move at this point because the Steelers seem to have shored up the front seven pretty well with the draft and free agent signings as well as letting Ziggy Hood walk and that is where the Steelers defensive team is supposed to be strongest, the linemen and the linebackers. A better cornerback adds to that strength, so it’s great if they get the guy, but it’s not the end of the world if they don’t bother. The team should be okay with what they have to work with for the season, but adding a former Pro Bowl cornerback could help in making a playoff run.

    I’d also like to see them look at TE Finley a little more if he remains unsigned. If he’s healed then he could be a good answer at the 2nd or 3rd TE spot and add an element to the passing game as a move type tight end.

  • Zach

    agreed — I’ve even said before I’d sign him for the veteran minimum (seriously!). No way we pay him > 2 Mil/yr.

  • Brian Miller

    Why does Dave, Alex, and Matthew all assume Flowers would have to play inside? That assumption I think is where the difference in opinions are…we should not pay to bring him in just to play inside on nickle and dime coverages…but if they believe he can play outside, whose place does he take? That has been mentioned before, and I don’t necessarily mind signing him, but if the Steelers and Lake were confident in our secondary before this, I feel like I should be too.

  • steelster

    The patriots are interested in him and I think that will be the team that lands him. They are going all out for the super bowl just like the broncos.

  • pittsburghjoe

    I agree with you. Lets see how this whole thing pans out. Its a journey not a sprint.

  • ApexSteel

    Kyle Arrington, Alfonzo Dennard, Brandin Browner, and Darrelle Revis? They may be interested, but they’ve already invested a lot at the position.

  • Nick Williams

    If you can get a young pro bowler you get a young pro bowler