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.