View Full Version : P-G Column On Ike Taylor FA Status

Atlanta Dan
02-24-2006, 11:42 AM
This is on the restricted site portion of the P-G so I will post the following column in its entirety. Sounds like Ike Taylor and his agent are going to expect to be paid very well by someone in 2006 (note the statement by Taylor that I have placed in bold face "I don't want to leave but if it happens it happens."). If Ike wants paid now it makes it even less likely there will be $$ to pay Chris Hope. Given the respective worth of a potential shutdown corner entering his prime and a good but not All-Pro caliber safety, my $$ would be spent on Taylor, not Hope.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

By Gene Collier, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The most conspicuous mutually exclusive term that ever wiggled its way into the NFL's labyrinthine offseason protocols is "restricted free agent."

You can't be free and restricted at the same time, but that never seems to the stop the Committee on Absurd Linguistic Constructions, the people who gave us "congressional ethics," "jumbo shrimp," and, again, "Temple football."

It is hardly surprising then, that there are few restricted free agents who change teams during the annually frenetic free agency period that begins just a week from tomorrow. A fistful of unrestricted free agents, which is redundant but at last makes sense, will trade laundry and experience a severe bling upgrade, but restricted free agents, like the Steelers' Ike Taylor, are rarely seen in the open market.

Unless ...

"More times than not, a restricted free agent is pretty much locked in, but when you have the kind of postseason Ike had, the kind of season he had, and your team wins the Super Bowl," Scott Smith was saying yesterday, "it creates a unique situation."

Smith is the agent who represents Taylor, and while Ike has averaged one agent every 18 months since the Steelers drafted him out of Louisiana-Lafayette in 2003, that doesn't change the perfect little storm of circumstances that could make the best Steelers corner since Rod Woodson a little slipperier than everyone assumes.

The obvious element is Taylor's dramatically improved play, especially in the playoffs, when he kept a frustrated cadre that included some of the game's top receivers out of the end zone. Taylor essentially held Cincinnati's Chad Johnson, Indianapolis' Marvin Harrison, Denver's Rod Smith, and Seattle's Darrell Jackson to an average of four catches for 55 yards and zero points over 60 minutes.

Small wonder then why some have sprayed the Internet with the judgment that Taylor is the third hottest cornerback, after Buffalo's Nate Clements and Oakland's Charles Woodson, in free agency, such as it is.

The simultaneously arriving storm front is the convergence of the particulars in Taylor's restricted standing. While a restricted free agent is defined as a player who has completed his third year in the league and whose contract has expired in that year, few premier players ever fall into this particular slot. High draft picks, for example, often get longer contracts, which is a method by which their team avoids this exact situation. It's why Ben Roethlisberger's deal is for six years.

"Things could happen; I definitely understand it's a business," Taylor said yesterday from Orlando, Fla., where he's already begun offseason workouts. "I don't want to leave, but if it happens, it happens. I totally understand the situation, and it's a priority for a lot of teams to have a pretty good corner."

It's likely all this will mean in Ike's case is that, in his first year as a starter, he became one of the game's better corners a bit faster than the Steelers anticipated that a fourth-round draft pick would. If he'd have delayed his competitive maturity until next season, he'd be due a ransom as an unrestricted free agent, but the current restrictions remain onerous.

The Steelers can keep Ike by matching any offer he gets from another team, which, if Pittsburgh declined to match it, would have to compensate the Steelers with one or two draft picks, including in all likelihood, a first rounder. The exact compensation depends on the Steelers' qualifying offer to Taylor, which is due by March 2. If, as expected, the club makes what's known as an upgraded offer -- something in the neighborhood of $1.7 million on a one-year contract -- the compensation is a first-round pick.

But here's the final element in the perfect Taylor storm -- dense fog, a.k.a. the now alarmingly tenuous nature of the collective bargaining agreement between owners and NFL players.

"With 2007 being an uncapped year, they put a bunch of poisoned pills in the CBA in the next to last year," Smith said. "These things were designed to trigger negative consequences on both owners and players to get them back to the bargaining table. So with the current situation, the situation is very difficult for big free-agent deals, in part because signing bonus money is now able to be prorated only over four years right now. If you do a big free-agent deal, a team usually needs to prorate that over five, six, seven years. Also, incentives not likely to be earned now count against the cap."

Naturally, teams are very skittish about how this will flesh out. The notion that someone will gladly part with a very-likely-to-be-overpriced draft pick for a reasonably priced, established corner probably has never been more solid.

02-24-2006, 02:13 PM
Good post...yeah this worries me.

Cape Cod Steel Head
02-24-2006, 02:34 PM
One of the two(Taylor, Hope) will be gone. No way can we afford both with the kind of money that they're going to want ,or command.

02-24-2006, 06:17 PM
If it comes down to the 2, I keep Ike.

ohio's #1 steelers chick
02-24-2006, 09:09 PM
great thing you posted that cause i don't have access to P-G so i never would have found that out. welp i guess it will come down to the wire. i hope we can keep both ike and hope, but if one has to go i think it will be hope.

02-27-2006, 08:56 AM
I want them both back but if it comes down to just one I would keep ike and let hope walk.Ike is my favorite nfl player and my favorite steeler.He is a shutdown corner and hope is not that good

02-27-2006, 09:09 AM
If we let IKE get away its a mistake. We could replace Hope, but it is hard to find the talent that IKE displays. Our secondary is very young. I say we lock him up with a long term deal.

02-27-2006, 12:09 PM
Iwant to keep ike,but we do get a first rounder if we were top lose him

02-28-2006, 07:41 AM
I like IKE a lot, I think he has a ton of talent .... and I'm sure I'll get bashed here, but I do not think it's time to break the bank on this guy. He has had ONE good year, that does not merit a "lock him up" deal. Chad Scott, Dwayne Washington both had "good years" ...in fact, it got both of them very good deals ... and look what happened to them.

However, I think the Steelers will take advantage of what teams might offer him and tender him the 1.7 to at least get them a 1st round draft pick (plus another) if someone decides to break the bank on Ike. I'd love to keep him, but in no way do I think he should get the money that Woodson and or Clements commands, he's just too unproven still (although he had an excellent season). Either way, if we can get a 3 year deal paying 1-2 mill per year, I say that is great, if someone comes in and offers him 3-4 per year......then I feel we'll part with him and take the draft pics.

02-28-2006, 09:36 AM
Well, the stupid CBA is going to screw us (thanks greedy bastages) but if I had to choose between Hope and Ike, it is definately Ike.

02-28-2006, 11:58 AM
Iwant to keep ike,but we do get a first rounder if we were top lose him

A first round draft pick is still no guarantee of anything spectacular. At least it seems that way to me. It scares me to see the possibility of the team that we did so well with this year having to be broken up because of other greedy teams that have extraordinary budgets that will pay anything to get that one good player. I don't know that much about either player to decide I wish we could keep more... but changes will probably be made.


02-28-2006, 08:41 PM
Look for the Steelers to push hard to get Ike to sign an extension this offseason, probably closer to training camp. They wont wanna lose him even if our depth at CB is descent, especially w/ Townsend a FA.