Steelers Should Have Interest Again In Soon-To-Be Released CB Alterraun Verner

Even though the start of the 2017 free agent signing period is still two weeks away, a few players around the league are getting a jump on the market as a result of them being released by their current team. On Thursday, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reported that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are releasing cornerback Alterraun Verner today and while he’s certain to have several suitors once that happens, it’s not hard to speculate that the Pittsburgh Steelers could be one of them.

In case you forgot, former Steelers beat writer Scott Brown reported in 2014 that Pittsburgh had some level of interest in Verner prior to him signing a four year, $25.5 million free agent contract with the Buccaneers. That wasn’t overly surprising being as Steelers defensive backs coach Carnell Lake coached Verner when the two were together at UCLA. In fact, nearly six years ago I wrote about that one college season they were together and that post, of course, was written a year after Verner had been drafted by the Tennessee Titans in the fourth-round of the 2010 NFL Draft.

During his four seasons with the Titans, Verner registered 11 total interceptions to go along with 288 total tackles and 50 pass breakups. He even made the Pro Bowl in 2013, his final season in Tennessee. However, since signing with Buccaneers, Verner’s production has declined dramatically as he registered just 148 total tackles, 4 interceptions and 20 pass breakups in his last three seasons in Tampa Bay.

After Verner started 14 games during his first season with the Buccaneers, he’s started just 9 since even though he dressed for all 32 regular season games over the course of the last years. Last season, Verner played all of 241 total defensive snaps in addition to 183 special teams snaps.

Verner won’t turn 29 until December so he figures to have another decent season or two left in him and his current market value is now expected to be much less than the $6.5 million he was scheduled to earn in 2017 with the Buccaneers. The Steelers could obviously use an experienced and physical cornerback to play in the slot and because of that, you have to think that they’ll once again have some sort of interest in Verner once his release becomes official. Regardless, one would think that Verner won’t be unemployed very long.

Now, I must admit that I haven’t watched Verner closely since he signed with the Buccaneers but I do plan on carving out some time to do just that in the coming days.

  • george

    If he can play nickel and is reasonably priced-go get em!

  • Conserv_58

    If they’re looking to add a free agent CB to play the slot position they must have decided that either Will Gay is not in their future plans OR they don’t have a lot of confidence in Golson’s foot injury healing 100%.

  • steelburg

    Not sure he makes much sense IMO. He is a slightly younger Gay at this point in his career.

  • The Chin

    I think it’s more hedging your bet if I was guessing.

  • steelersfan

    Steelers won’t win a bidding war with 4 other teams. He’s not gonna be here

  • NinjaMountie

    Would that be such a bad thing? Gay was our best CB not too long ago. I don’t know much about Verner, but if he’s reasonably priced and can play at that level he’d be a godsend for the slot.

  • John Pennington

    Time to put Gay out to pasture and bring in more physical DBS to play the slot and another safety to take over for Mitchell and Golden.Their time is up build a secondary second to none and keep bringing outside linebackers and continue to stay young on the defensive line for depth.Time to build the team for Ben’s last run.

  • taztroy43

    Gays replacement?

  • TrappenWeisseGuy ;

    I can’t hear his name without thinking “all terrain vehicle”.

  • Thomas

    I would love this soo much! He would be a perfect Tomlin type of guy

  • Shane Mitchell

    He has been horrible for two years now, and has been repeatedly benched, I am glad Tampa released him Colbert was probably about to offer a fifth round pick for him or something.

  • taztroy43

    Lmao….your probably right

  • steelburg

    If they plan on cutting Gay it makes sense. But we don’t have any indication that they are going to do that so until further notice the move doesn’t make sense IMO.

  • nikgreene

    He was healthy all sixteen games last season and played less than 250 snaps, and really was barely used on defense for 10 out of 16 games. He’s either a terrible system fit in Tampa Bay, or he’s playing his way out of the league. Maybe Pittsburgh wants to sign him to a minimum deal and have be the 4th CB and play ST?

  • RickM

    It can’t all be because of Hargreaves playing so well. You give a guy a $25 M deal with $14 M guaranteed and you only start him 9 of the last 32 games? He must have been awfully bad. Unless he’s cheap, pass

  • Shane Mitchell

    You know how it works by now, we dont care what happened over there, benched? broken hip? drugs? mental problems? If Mike Tomlin liked you years ago in FA or the draft and someone cuts you, he likes you even more now. If it didnt happen under his tutelage, it didnt happen period.

  • Shane Mitchell

    Wait a second I am getting confused, what did Dave say now?

  • RickM

    Now I’m confused.

  • nikgreene

    Seems like your trolling. But I’ll just respond like it was an actual comment … if you’re suggesting that every bad FA signing or trade is evidence of incompetence, then you are ignoring the quality FA signings like D. Williams, Heyward-Bey, as well as the promising young players drafted and being developed by the team.

  • Michael Putman

    ATV… he’s got a nickname already! Sign him up!

  • Shane Mitchell

    Not suggesting anything of the sort, I am answering the questions you raised yourself, why would we possibly be interested in someone that didnt play well in Tampa, the answer is because we dont care what he did over there, but I was a bit sarcastic

  • VaDave

    Remember Wallace’s last year with us. Played like he had a big payday coming, and wasn’t about to let injury keep him from it. But

  • nikgreene

    Fair enough.
    To clarify my own position, I think it’s fine for them to bring in a vet for a visit. Especially since he can play ST and doesn’t factor into the comp pick equation.

  • Ryan Alderman

    Probably both.

  • Ryan Alderman

    Mitchell wasn’t all bad last season.

  • Ryan Alderman

    😂

  • John Pennington

    Wasnt all that good either.Mitchell has what 1 more year on his contract time to bring in another safety to get ready. Golden is not good enough to take over for Mitchell that was my reason.

  • ND_Steel

    How disappointing was William Gay this year? Was he the biggest disappoint of the year? (short of Bryant) Who else…Jones? Golden? I want to say Mitchell, especially after he bit on that flea flicker…

  • ND_Steel

    Would like to see a vet CB come in to compete with Gay and/or Cockrell, but would have to be at the right price. Would love to make a splash and get a proven CB, but don’t see that happening. Our window with Ben is quickly closing…maybe two more years at a high level if he wants, then we’ll see if he even stays beyond that.

  • JohnnyFootball

    He lost his starting job this past year and was a backup. His play has been in general terrible recently. He will fit right in the the rest of the CB we have.

  • CP72

    He got his big payday. Maybe he’s looking for a ring on the downside of his career.

  • John Volpe

    I have never seen a saftey take worse angles. I saw him get beat by two three steps a bunch of times last year. While he can make some very explosive plays. He’s not that good. Course I was used to Troy for so many years.

  • Doug

    Why won’t the Steelers win a bidding war? They have a ton of cap space.

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  • Kelly Walker

    This would be a great fit. The only way this could be better is if they moved Gay to FS and made Mitchell a post June cut. That would save them $5M and even though Gay isn’t that fast his play recognition and the angles he takes would be an improvement over Mitchell. The 5 mill would more than pay for Verner aND would upgrade 2 spots in the secondary.

  • Steve

    Since when do the Steelers have a ton of cap room? Last time Dave gave his assessment, Steelers had 22 mil left in the kitty, before signing Bell, Brown, Villy, Harrison, and a few others.

  • Steve

    Thing that gets me with Mitchell is how he smacks people in a tackle, but than never wraps up.

  • SilverSteel

    The Steelers never pay top dollar for anyone except proven franchise players like Ben.

  • SilverSteel

    As thin as we are in the secondary, we better keep him for depth at the very least. Which is what I thought we should have done with Gilbert. That way we don’t have to double dip in the draft this year for CB and concentrate on edge/OLB.

  • Doug

    The top corners get between $10-20 million. They wouldn’t have to pay “top dollar” to get him.

  • SilverSteel

    I just meant that the Steelers usually get team friendly deals, they do not reach like some teams out there and overpay. Usually anyway…

  • popsiclesticks

    He’s 3 years younger than Gay. If you think you might get 2 good years out of him on the relative cheap, why not?

  • popsiclesticks

    Not necessarily. They have enough to be a factor and a lot more than usual but they have extensions to hammer out.

  • popsiclesticks

    That’s it? From what I’ve seen on the internet, it’s closer to $30 (allowing space for rooks).

  • popsiclesticks

    I am not a big fan of Mitchell mainly because I think he can be so much better but won’t change his game at all. I think he’s a decent safety, but I always think he leaves plays on the field to take shots at big hits.

  • popsiclesticks

    And Cockrell. Really, it’s just Gilbert. I don’t think Tomlin ever had eyes for Josh Scobee.

  • popsiclesticks

    He’ll be cheap and CB play fluctuates wildly sometimes. Well, I’m assuming he’ll be cheap and I’d take a shot at him. David Amerson was garbage in Washington. He’s a borderline star now.

    A lot of Packers fans thought Casey Hayward struggled at the end of his time there.

    Byron Maxwell was at least somewhat good in Miami.

    I wouldn’t mind taking a $2 mil a year flier on this guy. CBs get paid absurd numbers these days in FA.

  • popsiclesticks

    You take a guy in the 2nd round (Eric Rowe), start him immediately, but then you bury him on your depth chart behind random scrubs.

    Maybe he sucks, maybe he was just in a bad spot. Look at Byron Maxwell, too. Sometimes a change of scenery can get these back closer to where they were with their original team and Verner should be cheap.

  • popsiclesticks

    Coates for me.

  • popsiclesticks

    Who knows how Gay would look at FS, and Mitchell ain’t getting cut with his dead cap hit pretty close to his real cap hit (and he’s not a bad player), but Gay does seem like the type that would excel at FS due to his mental approach.

    I would have never thought Gay would become a cerebral corner but here we are. Too bad he just can’t run with these slot WRs anymore. He’s just a guy you like to root for.

  • Mark Lohn

    He will probably be too expensive.

  • steelburg

    I’m not against the move at all but like I said it only makes sense to me if they cut Gay. If it all works out we would have Burns, Cockrell, Golson,Verner and Gay. You don’t pay a 5th CB 2.6 million that part of it makes no sense. That 2.6 should probably go to Verner. They should cut Gay, draft a guy, and bring Verner in that’s logical. Paying Gay 2.6 to be your 5th CB isn’t.

  • steelburg

    I’m not against bringing Verner in but paying Gay 2.6 million to be your 5th CB makes no sense. That’s the only argument I have against the whole thing.

  • SilverSteel

    I get it for sure, but isn’t 2.6 about average coin to pay for a backup with his skill set and experience? It is not like he is a bum. He can play all positions, and is only one year removed from being a top(ish) CB and of course knows our system.

  • TMP_22903

    I’m not saying Big Play is as good as he was two years ago; or even the previous season … but being “more physical” isn’t his problem.

    From what I can tell (…but I’m a little biased), there isn’t a better tackler at the CB position in the NFL. The dude still performs very, very well in that regard — blowing up quick-hitter bubble screens, stopping ball carriers near the LOS, etc.

  • TMP_22903

    Was Willie Gay bad this year? I know that’s the common comment, but I didn’t see him stand out as a poor performer.

    He continued to be an impressive open-field tackler and a physical hitter (pound for pound). And he had a nice pick-six called back by a penalty … I think that would have made him the all-time Steelers leader in defensive return TDs.

    As far as biggest disappointment … I would say a tie between Wheaton and Coates. Coates doesn’t seem to know how to catch footballs during football games. And Ladarius Green was also a bummer, but I’m excluding him because I had significant reservations about his potential impact, due to health.

    Or should I say Martavis Bryant was the biggest disappointment? I’m a fan of his, and am genuinely pulling for him…but after the unbelievable TD in the Bengals playoff game a season ago, and the impact he had on the Broncos playoff game, it was a massive disappointment for him to DQ himself. Huge disappointment.

  • Aj Gentile

    They have said multiple times that they can’t rely on him.

  • Aj Gentile

    Does anyone know if they play more man or zone in Tampa?

  • Conserv_58

    Moving Gay to FS in place of Mike Mitchell is a terrible idea! You’re delusional if you think that Gay would be a better FS than Mitchell is. You then attempt to justify your opinion by saying that Gay is slow, but takes better angles. Please. That’s just wrong. It’s also wishful thinking talking. The fact of the matter is you have no justifiable concrete and irrefutable evidence to prove that Gay is an improvement or better than Mike Mitchell is.

  • Conserv_58

    The way Ben is feeling, even if he does play the 2017 season, I wouldn’t put money down that he plays in 2018.

  • Conserv_58

    So Mitchell bit on a flee flicker and you want to call him the biggest disappointment of the year? Really? Are you simply going disregard the great plays he made by nit picking him for one play? I remember many times seeing, Troy bite on a route, take a bad angle or over run a play only to get burned, yet no one was calling for him to be replaced.

  • Conserv_58

    Wallace was a one trick pony with the Steelers. He was a delusional moron for asking for Larry Fitzgerald type money. The dolphins were also suckers for being stupid enough to sign him to a 65 million dollar contract. I remember saying at that time that I guarantee that Wallace never sees the end of that contract before the dolphins realize their mistake and cut him. Obviously, I was dead on with that observation.

  • Conserv_58

    That doesn’t mean they gave up on him.

  • John Mazza

    Hey played outside there didnt he? Gay can play outside, he declined last year but yeah.i think they would like to have that versatility back there in case of injury or performance

  • TB

    Not a fan of anyone that celebrates after making a tackle on a receiver that just gained a first down.

  • Ryan Alderman

    While I agree with you, that doesn’t mean he’s not a competent safety.

  • Ryan Alderman

    Yeah, after Troy Mitchell is a major drop off.

  • Ryan Alderman

    I see your reasoning.

  • VaDave

    I wouldn’t call him an moron for getting paid as much as he could. My gripe is he dogged it his last season with us. As for the Dolphin giving him that much money while their QB situation was a mess, now that was moronic.

  • steelersfan

    As Dave has broken it down in the past, the cap space number that we have today is not taking into account many different factors. When all is said and done it’ll be a lot less – still more than we’ve had in the past probably but not a ton. Enough to sign maybe one mid range FA.

  • ND_Steel

    I thought Gay had a fairly significant drop off, Miami game comes to mind, and he had a rough game against the Pats. Coates and Wheaton are very good choices too, especially Wheaton…really thought it’d be a breakout contract year for him.

  • ND_Steel

    I’ll admit, I’m biased…I’m not a Mitchell fan. Most of his tackles in run support are 7-9 yards off the LoS. He plays such a deep centerfield that it feels like 11 on 10. Is it the scheme, probably. I just don’t like it…nor the headhunting penalties and celebrations. He is somewhat of an enforcer back there, but I just don’t like the deep centerfield he plays. He’s 20-25 yards off the ball and moving backwards at the snap. I wish I had some tape of Ryan Clark to compare, I just remember Clark always being in the hole in run defense.

  • ND_Steel

    Right, so do you throw your chips in and sign a decent CB to take a last shot with Ben? ‘Rent’ a CB even, like the Pats did with Revis? Window is closing and you just don’t know what kinda QB you’ll have next or how long it’ll take to find one b/c he’s definitely not on the roster right now.

  • SilverSteel

    Yeah, the Colts game was a really nice game for Mitchell. He has been solid for us.

  • SilverSteel

    I would not mind if Wheaton stuck around for a team friendly deal. Barring injuries, he has been a solid contributor even though he has a tendency to “disappear” in certain games. This would keep us from having to spend a draft pick on WR. I was pleasantly surprised with Ayers. I think that kid is a keeper. I say all of this assuming that Bryant is coming back. Without him, we need a real #2.

  • SilverSteel

    And, neither was Gay.