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83-Steelers-43
08-04-2006, 05:37 AM
Taylor presents dilemma

By Joe Starkey
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Friday, August 4, 2006


Ike Taylor won't allow a contract impasse to divert his eyes from the prize -- the prize being a recognized spot among the NFL's elite cover men.
Taylor took a large step in that direction last season, his first as a full-time starter.

"I want to be one of the guys that people talk about," Taylor says. "You know, 'Ike Taylor, he's come a long ways, so now we can put him down as a shut-down, lock-down corner.' I still got question marks out there, like, 'Can he do it?' I'm trying to answer all those question marks.' "

So are the Steelers, who, like a defensive back breaking on a ball, face a critical decision in negotiations with Taylor:


Should they go for broke or hang back and wait?

Taylor, 26, can become an unrestricted free agent after this season. He is currently on a one-year, $1.57 million deal he signed as a restricted free agent. By offering him an upgraded tender, the Steelers made it so another team would have had to offer a first-round draft pick as compensation for signing Taylor.

According to Taylor's agent, Scott Smith, the sides have been discussing a long-term deal that would keep Taylor in Pittsburgh through the prime years of his career.

Not surprisingly, the sticking point is money.

Taylor is believed to be seeking an eight-figure signing bonus, which is no surprise. Cornerbacks -- even ones who haven't played in any Pro Bowls -- often command big money.

Case in point: The Jacksonville Jaguars gave Brian Williams a $10 million signing bonus to lure him away from the Minnesota Vikings.

Last year, the Dallas Cowboys lavished Anthony Henry with a $10 million signing bonus, and Carolina gave rising star Ken Lucas a shockingly high $13 million signing bonus.

Now you know what kind of neighborhood Taylor is eyeing.

Smith declined comment when asked if Taylor is indeed seeking an eight-figure signing bonus, but the agent's response to another question was telling.

Does he believe Taylor already is one of the league's elite corners?

"Without question," Smith said. "Ike led the NFL in passes defended, with 25. In 20 games, he kept the opposing team's top wide receiver out of the end zone in 18, including all four playoff games. He did exactly what you'd expect from your left cornerback, which is to shut down the opposing team's top receiver.

"He's also arguably the toughest (cornerback) in the entire league against the run. He had 95 tackles, most for a Steelers corner in 13 years -- since Rod Woodson in '93."

Good points all. Taylor was so good he prompted the Steelers to alter their policy and allow him to follow certain receivers -- Chad Johnson, Marvin Harrison, etc. -- all over the field. He had two postseason interceptions.

On the other hand, he had only one regular-season interception and dropped about 10 others. He was helped by the superior talent around him, and Seattle picked on him early in the Super Bowl, though Taylor responded with a critical late-game pick.

So, do you show him the money, betting he'll continue his meteoric rise from fourth-round reach out of Louisiana-Lafayette? Or, do you make him prove himself again and risk the significant blow of losing him on the open market?

To his credit, Taylor rejected the option of a Hines Ward-style holdout. He arrived at camp in prime condition, focused only on football. He'd begun his workouts four days after the Super Bowl.

"No question, I want to stay here, but you know how that is," he said. "I'm in training camp right now, so I can't worry about anything. I let my agents and the office take care of that. I'm just glad to be playing football right now."

Another consideration for the Steelers is that in their hierarchical salary structure, signing Taylor will set the bar for other defensive players. Troy Polamalu, for example, has a contract that expires after next season, and he's already an All-Pro. Whatever the Steelers give Taylor, they'll need to give Polamalu more.

In the meantime, the Steelers have another promising young cornerback in Bryant McFadden and are hoping the light goes on for third-year pro Ricardo Colclough the way it went on for Taylor last season.

It'd be a shame to lose a player the Steelers wisely drafted and expertly developed, but unless Taylor lowers his demands -- or the sides get real creative -- that appears to be the direction in which this train is headed.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/s_464673.html

Cape Cod Steel Head
08-04-2006, 06:21 AM
I think in this case the Steelers need to pry open their wallets and pay him. Troy is going to command the big bucks,and rightfully so, regardless of what kind of deal Ike gets.

83-Steelers-43
08-04-2006, 06:25 AM
I think in this case the Steelers need to pry open their wallets and pay him. Troy is going to command the big bucks,and rightfully so, regardless of what kind of deal Ike gets.

Good point. At the same I'm hoping that when Ike and his agent come to the table that they take into consideration that Ike has one good season under his belt and that there is still room for improvement as already noted in the above article. Maybe taking into consideration that the Steelers want to be able to see if Ike can step it up to the next level during this upcoming season. Wishful thinking on my part? lol.

More importantly, with the upcoming resignings of Troy and Ben in the near future I'm not sure if the Steelers are going to break the bank in order to keep Ike. This situation could get very hairy in the weeks and months to come. I hope we can get him signed long-term to a reasonable contract, but I'm not holding my breath.

Cape Cod Steel Head
08-04-2006, 06:34 AM
Good corners are hard to come by, and they ain't cheap. The article does raise some good points however. He did drop a lot of balls, and he is surrounded by some very talented players. I think they should take a wait and see attitude, but on the other hand I would like to see us keep a good player that we drafted and molded into one of the best!

SteelersMongol
08-04-2006, 06:51 AM
I think in this case the Steelers need to pry open their wallets and pay him. Troy is going to command the big bucks,and rightfully so, regardless of what kind of deal Ike gets.

I Agree With CapeCod! If he already proved him in some cases, why not. :bouncy:

BlackNGold203
08-04-2006, 06:56 AM
This would be easier if it were not for the upcoming Polamalu and Roethlisberger contracts...

"prying open the wallet"...as it was said ... is irrelevent...all teams have the same budget....

he obviously wants to stay...the Steelers KNOW they have 2 HUGE contracts to do next offseason...Let's just hope they figure something out...

Atlanta Dan
08-04-2006, 07:08 AM
There are two central questions for the Steelers here:

1. Is Ike Taylor's success primarily a result of his innate talent or due to the system in which he plays & players around him? The Steelers apparently decided with Chris Hope it was the system & players, so he was allowed to leave. With regard to Ike, plus stats are his shutdown of Chad Johnson last season and passes defensed - a negative is INTs dropped. In addition, as the Trib-Review noted, the Seahawks had good success going at him until Hassleback threw a bad INT into coverage in the 4th quarter.

2. The salary cap is designed to require the more talented teams to lose players. While the salary cap keeps going up, players compare their worth to what others are receiving and not simply the $$$ amount - so while receiving a $6 million signing bonus 3 years ago might have been unheard of for a CB, it is now seen as chump change if the going rate for top CBs is a $10 million signing bonus. Accordingly, good teams cannot sign everyone (e.g - Edgerrin James leaves the Colts).

Bottom line is that few players are "must signs" for the Steelers. At the present time, for contracts that will need to be renewed in the next few years only Troy & Ben clearly are in that category. Unfortunately, I believe that will mean Ike Taylor is auditioning for his next team with this season's performance.

HometownGal
08-04-2006, 08:03 AM
Bottom line is that few players are "must signs" for the Steelers. At the present time, for contracts that will need to be renewed in the next few years only Troy & Ben clearly are in that category. Unfortunately, I believe that will mean Ike Taylor is auditioning for his next team with this season's performance.

Good post Dan.

Ike has the talent and capabilities to be one of the elite corners in the league, but only has one full year as a starting CB under his belt and at this point, I don't think that commands him an 8 figure signing bonus at this particular time. I would assume that the Steelers want to keep Ike and hopefully, the two sides will be able to reach a mutually acceptable figure and get Ike signed long-term. If they don't, I also believe Ike will be auditioning for greener pastures this season, unfortunately.

lamberts-lost-tooth
08-04-2006, 08:35 AM
I agree with those who think that the Steelers need to open the pocketbook for this guy... There are few current players who are needed as much as Ike...Ben...Troy....? Even Ward could be replaced easier than a quality CB. I, for one, feel we have gone too long with serviceable corners..and it is refreshing to have someone on the outside that teams have to plan against.
He is everything that defines Steeler football...hard working..good attitude...humble...and intelligent.
A great football mind (my 12yo son) has made it simple by saying .."You plan against Ike and Troy will kill you..plan against Troy and Ike will shut you down."

HometownGal
08-04-2006, 10:17 AM
A great football mind (my 12yo son) has made it simple by saying .."You plan against Ike and Troy will kill you..plan against Troy and Ike will shut you down."

Your son is a very wise 12 year old, LLT. Good job Dad! :cool:

I just don't believe that a 1 year starter, no matter how good he played last season, is a higher priority than getting Ben and Taz signed to long term deals.

X-Terminator
08-04-2006, 10:17 AM
I personally think it boils down to do you keep Ike or do you keep Joey Porter? Porter is going to want a pretty big contract, and with Ben and Troy's contracts coming up, they won't be able to keep both of them. Considering Joey's age and his heir apparent already being signed (James Harrison), I say you let Joey walk and use that money to sign Ike to a contract extension because, as others have said, it is difficult to replace a shutdown corner. All of this, of course, is dependent on Ike having a great season and solidifying his status as a true shutdown corner.

Atlanta Dan
08-04-2006, 10:33 AM
Unfortunately, I believe Joey Porter is gone even if Taylor also departs.

Joey has hit the age for an OLB to start slowing down. The big contract for players in Joey's position is the one you sign after your initial draft contract expires, which Joey alrerady has done.

Someone will pay more than the Steelers can handle for Joey's services.

stlrtruck
08-04-2006, 11:31 AM
Let's face it, Joey is also getting hurt to frequent (at least for my tastes). The Steelers are known in the past to let those type of players go bye-bye. It is definitely a good problem to have when all of your players are performing at their peak! However, as has been proven with a lot of former Steelers, it is more of the system they are in, then the talent alone.

I'd rather keep Troy and Ben if it comes down to it. However, I'd like to see the Steelers ante up some cash for everyone and everyone reduce their personal take to keep the team together longer! (unrealistic)

lamberts-lost-tooth
08-04-2006, 11:43 AM
Your son is a very wise 12 year old, LLT. Good job Dad! :cool:

I just don't believe that a 1 year starter, no matter how good he played last season, is a higher priority than getting Ben and Taz signed to long term deals.

Me either..that is the two that I thought are higher priority also...but really, who else is could be considered before Ike...I put him as #3 on this team right now behind those two...if made to cut players.
He is THAT important to me.

Haiku_Dirtt
08-04-2006, 01:47 PM
But an eight figure signing bonus? Seriously. We may want to say throw down and let's move on. But each move sets precedent for all future signings.

We have incredible balance on defense right now. I'm guessing equitable compensation is going to keep the peace. And the question marks aren't screaming eight figures yet.

Even Hines didn't get that.

Black@Gold Forever32
08-04-2006, 01:53 PM
I like Ike Taylor and I hope the Steelers resign him. But come on saying he is a shut down corner is crazy. He is far from a shut down corner. Ike is still young and could develop into a elite corner. I think Ike made solid strides last year and should continue to improve. But who knows? This season Ike could get burned left and right. So with that asking price if its true. I think the Steelers should take the wait and see approach. But if they can get a reasonable deal worked out then resign him now.

lamberts-lost-tooth
08-04-2006, 02:27 PM
I like Ike Taylor and I hope the Steelers resign him. But come on saying he is a shut down corner is crazy. He is far from a shut down corner. Ike is still young and could develop into a elite corner. I think Ike made solid strides last year and should continue to improve. But who knows? This season Ike could get burned left and right. So with that asking price if its true. I think the Steelers should take the wait and see approach. But if they can get a reasonable deal worked out then resign him now.

I like how Ike said it himself ""I want to be one of the guys that people talk about," Taylor says. "You know, 'Ike Taylor, he's come a long ways, so now we can put him down as a shut-down, lock-down corner.' I still got question marks out there, like, 'Can he do it?' I'm trying to answer all those question marks.' " That is the sign of someone who knows he has room for improvement

But look at the numbers!!! ...led the NFL in passes defended, with 25. In 20 games, he kept the opposing team's top wide receiver out of the end zone.. in 18, including all four playoff games. He did exactly what you'd expect from your left cornerback, which is to shut down the opposing team's top receiver.

The upside on this guy is through the roof...and he WILL be a premier player!!

HometownGal
08-04-2006, 02:42 PM
But look at the numbers!!! ...led the NFL in passes defended, with 25. In 20 games, he kept the opposing team's top wide receiver out of the end zone.. in 18, including all four playoff games. He did exactly what you'd expect from your left cornerback, which is to shut down the opposing team's top receiver.

The upside on this guy is through the roof...and he WILL be a premier player!!

I understand what you're saying here, LLT, but I still have to go with my original thoughts here.

The Steelers are going to have to come up with some big bucks to keep both Ben and Taz in the black and gold. That is a given. Both of these guys have played more than one season as a starter and have consistently proven themselves worthy of much more generous contracts. While I have no doubt whatsoever that Ike is going to be a premier CB in this league, I would take the wait and see approach simply because there have been one-hit wonders not only on the Steelers team, but around the NFL. From an owner's standpoint, fool me once, fool me twice - you know the rest. As much as I liked Tommy Maddox, he is a prime example of what I'm trying to convey here. He was given a huge raise after the 2002 season when he set several Steelers records and played admirably. In the 2003 season, he slumped horribly and continued on a downward spiral. While some of his downfall can be attributed to his injuries (neck, spine, elbow), the fact remains that in the eyes of the beholder, he can be categorized as a one-hit wonder.

The Rooneys are some of the classiest people in the NFL and truly care about each and every guy on that team, but they are businessmen first and foremost.

Black@Gold Forever32
08-04-2006, 02:45 PM
I like how Ike said it himself ""I want to be one of the guys that people talk about," Taylor says. "You know, 'Ike Taylor, he's come a long ways, so now we can put him down as a shut-down, lock-down corner.' I still got question marks out there, like, 'Can he do it?' I'm trying to answer all those question marks.' " That is the sign of someone who knows he has room for improvement

But look at the numbers!!! ...led the NFL in passes defended, with 25. In 20 games, he kept the opposing team's top wide receiver out of the end zone.. in 18, including all four playoff games. He did exactly what you'd expect from your left cornerback, which is to shut down the opposing team's top receiver.

The upside on this guy is through the roof...and he WILL be a premier player!!

I never said that Ike didn't have a good year last year. I was very pleased with Ike's play last year and he should only improve. But I do not think he is a top five corner in this league yet. Hell I think it would be hard to put him in the top 10. What I like about Ike is that he play the run. If you want to be a DB in the Steelers defense you must be able to tackle and play the run. Ike can do that and I must say might be one of the best DB's in playing the run in the NFL.

As for his pass defense in which he made giant strides last year and at least showed he can be a very good cover corner in the NFL one day. I just think he has some work to do before calling him as shut down corner. True he held his own against some of the best WR's in the NFL last year. But he did get some help against those WR's. It wasn't like Ike completely shut down one side of the field last year....teams still threw at Ike Taylor. Also Ike please hold onto some of those damn INT's.

But I want the Steelers to resign Ike. He has alot of potential. I just think they should be careful with Ike. With the asking price that Ike might want. Don't know if its true. I think the Steelers should take the wait see approach this year.

Koopa
08-04-2006, 02:48 PM
good read......i respect ike more and more each time i read an article on him. and if he leaves for more money i will still respect him cause he didn't act like a little bitch to get more money. he worked hard to get what he wants. i hope we can keep him but i rather wait because i don't want us to over pay him and then not have the money for polamalu

Prosdo
08-04-2006, 02:53 PM
I think resigning Ike is hard when you think about the type of money you have to pay Troy and Ben. I am really hoping we do sign Ike though. He is really becoming a good corner and I would hate to lose him. The eight figure signing bonus seems a bit much though.

OX1947
08-04-2006, 04:44 PM
You sign Corners who are shut down corners. They are the second hardest position to find. You sign Ike and you sign Troy. You let go recievers, running backs, O-lineman(unless its a great LT). You cannot afford to lose on a shut down corner. Our DB's right now with Mcfadden doing what he is doing and Townsend being as solid as he is, they are a priority above all. We have a linebacker factory so I do not worry about losing linebackers, Big Ben is our QB for the next 10 years so we dont have to worry about that, its real simple and easy. If Ike wants to be a part of winning rings and being an all pro, he might take less iniatially BUT, there is one thing that needs to be addressed. More so then any team in the league, the money the steelers give you, 90% of it gets paid to you. The steelers hardly ever do what Al Davis or Jerry Jones do where they'll give you a yr 50 mil contract and then cut you a year after.

Troy, Big Ben, and Ike MUST be steelers for the next decade. Everywhere else, we can plug in if we need too....

Polamalu43
08-04-2006, 05:56 PM
Taylor presents dilemma

By Joe Starkey
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Friday, August 4, 2006


Ike Taylor won't allow a contract impasse to divert his eyes from the prize -- the prize being a recognized spot among the NFL's elite cover men.
Taylor took a large step in that direction last season, his first as a full-time starter.

"I want to be one of the guys that people talk about," Taylor says. "You know, 'Ike Taylor, he's come a long ways, so now we can put him down as a shut-down, lock-down corner.' I still got question marks out there, like, 'Can he do it?' I'm trying to answer all those question marks.' "

So are the Steelers, who, like a defensive back breaking on a ball, face a critical decision in negotiations with Taylor:


Should they go for broke or hang back and wait?

Taylor, 26, can become an unrestricted free agent after this season. He is currently on a one-year, $1.57 million deal he signed as a restricted free agent. By offering him an upgraded tender, the Steelers made it so another team would have had to offer a first-round draft pick as compensation for signing Taylor.

According to Taylor's agent, Scott Smith, the sides have been discussing a long-term deal that would keep Taylor in Pittsburgh through the prime years of his career.

Not surprisingly, the sticking point is money.

Taylor is believed to be seeking an eight-figure signing bonus, which is no surprise. Cornerbacks -- even ones who haven't played in any Pro Bowls -- often command big money.

Case in point: The Jacksonville Jaguars gave Brian Williams a $10 million signing bonus to lure him away from the Minnesota Vikings.

Last year, the Dallas Cowboys lavished Anthony Henry with a $10 million signing bonus, and Carolina gave rising star Ken Lucas a shockingly high $13 million signing bonus.

Now you know what kind of neighborhood Taylor is eyeing.

Smith declined comment when asked if Taylor is indeed seeking an eight-figure signing bonus, but the agent's response to another question was telling.

Does he believe Taylor already is one of the league's elite corners?

"Without question," Smith said. "Ike led the NFL in passes defended, with 25. In 20 games, he kept the opposing team's top wide receiver out of the end zone in 18, including all four playoff games. He did exactly what you'd expect from your left cornerback, which is to shut down the opposing team's top receiver.

"He's also arguably the toughest (cornerback) in the entire league against the run. He had 95 tackles, most for a Steelers corner in 13 years -- since Rod Woodson in '93."

Good points all. Taylor was so good he prompted the Steelers to alter their policy and allow him to follow certain receivers -- Chad Johnson, Marvin Harrison, etc. -- all over the field. He had two postseason interceptions.

On the other hand, he had only one regular-season interception and dropped about 10 others. He was helped by the superior talent around him, and Seattle picked on him early in the Super Bowl, though Taylor responded with a critical late-game pick.

So, do you show him the money, betting he'll continue his meteoric rise from fourth-round reach out of Louisiana-Lafayette? Or, do you make him prove himself again and risk the significant blow of losing him on the open market?

To his credit, Taylor rejected the option of a Hines Ward-style holdout. He arrived at camp in prime condition, focused only on football. He'd begun his workouts four days after the Super Bowl.

"No question, I want to stay here, but you know how that is," he said. "I'm in training camp right now, so I can't worry about anything. I let my agents and the office take care of that. I'm just glad to be playing football right now."

Another consideration for the Steelers is that in their hierarchical salary structure, signing Taylor will set the bar for other defensive players. Troy Polamalu, for example, has a contract that expires after next season, and he's already an All-Pro. Whatever the Steelers give Taylor, they'll need to give Polamalu more.

In the meantime, the Steelers have another promising young cornerback in Bryant McFadden and are hoping the light goes on for third-year pro Ricardo Colclough the way it went on for Taylor last season.

It'd be a shame to lose a player the Steelers wisely drafted and expertly developed, but unless Taylor lowers his demands -- or the sides get real creative -- that appears to be the direction in which this train is headed.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/s_464673.html

Great post.. I think in the long run we are gonna lock up Ike taylor, he's becoming a real good solid CB which now a days are hard 2 come by... Also glad 2 hear that he wants 2 work harder at his position 2 b recognized as 1 of the best CB's in the NFL....