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83-Steelers-43
08-09-2006, 01:31 AM
Smizik: Taylor's talent terrific, timing terrible
Wednesday, August 09, 2006

By Bob Smizik, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Cornerbacks such as Ike Taylor don't come around often. It wouldn't be a stretch to say Taylor, 6 feet 1, 191 pounds, has the speed, size and skill to be the best the Steelers have had at the position since the great Rod Woodson, a certain Hall of Famer.

It took Taylor three seasons to step up to the NFL big time, but he clearly did so last year as an anchor in the secondary for the team that won the Super Bowl. His development was slowed by the fact he played only one season on defense in college at Louisiana-Lafayette, but now there appears to be no ceiling for Taylor, who has shown the kind of lockdown talent that could make him a Pro Bowl player for years.

Too bad it won't be with the Steelers.

Taylor is in the wrong place at the wrong time. He is a potentially outstanding player at one of the most important positions on the field, which will put him in great demand when he becomes a free agent at the end of this season. But he is on a team that has some depth at cornerback and, of greater importance, one that has financial commitments of a higher priority.

Taylor's agent, Scott Smith, is in a slow negotiating dance with the Steelers that appears to be going nowhere. The two sides are talking, just not often or with great seriousness.

"We've been in discussion for some time," said Smith over the phone yesterday. "We will continue to talk and work to get something done."

Translation: The Steelers aren't so much playing hardball as they are no-ball with Smith and Taylor.

It's nothing personal, just business.

The Steelers would love to sign Taylor and line him up against the best wide receivers in the league for the next five or six years. But there's this bothersome thing known as a salary cap. If the Steelers pay Taylor what the market will demand, it won't leave them room to sign other players who figure even greater in their future.

Smith isn't talking about what he specifically wants, but he makes no attempt to disguise the fact he believes his client is something special.

"Cornerback is a premier position, and Ike has established himself as a premier player at that position," he said. "We're seeking compensation commensurate with his performance on the field."

Translation: An eight-figure signing bonus -- as in $10 million. That's the amount of the signing bonus the Dallas Cowboys presented cornerback Anthony Henry before the 2005 season.

It's not even certain if Smith has been able to broach that figure with the Steelers, so slow has been the pace of negotiations. He was in camp last weekend for a visit, but had no contract discussions with the team.

The problem with Taylor is this: If the Steelers give him an eight-figure signing bonus, it will put them in an impossible situation with strong safety Troy Polamalu, a more important defensive player, when he's eligible for free agency in two years.

In the salary-cap era, you can't pay everyone.

The Steelers will discontinue negotiations with Taylor once the season begins and continue them after the season only if the two sides are close, which is highly unlikely.

Taylor was a disappointment in his first two seasons, when he started two games and had the look of one of those perennial underachievers. But given a chance to take Willie Williams' starting job in training camp last season, he came into his own. Bill Cowher allowed three young players, Taylor, Ricardo Colclough and rookie Bryant McFadden to challenge for the job, and Taylor came away the winner.

He started 15 games and four more in the playoffs and, in the process, established himself as one of the bright young talents at his position.

If he had one shortcoming, it was a large one. He couldn't hold on to the ball. Time and again he dropped potential interceptions. He was all over receivers, most notably Chad Johnson of the Cincinnati Bengals, but, when interception opportunities came his way, he didn't make the plays. He intercepted only one pass during the season and added another in the Super Bowl, a 24-yard return that set up a score.

"I want to be the complete corner, the lockdown corner," said Taylor before practice yesterday at Saint Vincent College. "I want to be somebody that everyone is talking about, one of the elite cornerbacks in the NFL."

He knows he's not there yet.

"I've got to work on a whole lot of stuff. One is catching the ball. I want to get my game to the point where I have no flaws."

Taylor maintains the problem with dropping interceptions is not his hands.

"My hands are fine, it's my concentration. I'm not looking the ball into my hands. I want to start upfield before I catch the ball."

He's that close to being a premier cornerback, just not one who has a long-term future with the Steelers.

TasmanianTroy271
08-09-2006, 01:38 AM
It's a shame, I hope we sign him, but the article makes sense... If we had known Ike was gonna be this good, we could've given him a nice contract before he broke out, but he came out of nowhere. Hopefully Colclough develops, but I'm not putting any money on it. Everything I read about him makes me have less and less faith...

MattsMe
08-09-2006, 02:13 AM
10 million signing bonus? Even if he has a standout year, I don't see that happening.

Haiku_Dirtt
08-09-2006, 04:48 AM
It's a shame, I hope we sign him, but the article makes sense... If we had known Ike was gonna be this good, we could've given him a nice contract before he broke out, but he came out of nowhere. Hopefully Colclough develops, but I'm not putting any money on it. Everything I read about him makes me have less and less faith...

It is a shame. But when the stories were leaked a few months back I got fairly aggravated. I became angered at his failure to see the bigger picture. But it became clear as time went on that it was not Ike trying to break the bank but his agent Scott Smith (bloodsucker).

I'll give Ike this...at least he was in a position to even make those 'potential' interceptions.

Let's just forget the stupidity in an eight figure signing bonus for a moment - or several.

But then I pose this question to those with better knowledge of LeBeau and his system. HOW MUCH of Ike's success should be credited to the LeBeau system? And if Ike were playing for the Texans would Scott Smith have the audacity to point a gun at anyone let alone the Rooneys.

Either way a "Farewell Ike" won't be detrimental this season because he'll have to bust his ass for Scott Smith's ploy. Have fun inside the Beltway.

McFadden is a Steeler.

Midnightwriter07
08-09-2006, 06:56 AM
I think Lebeau's system has alot to do with it... dont forget .. Taylor did get burned a few times last year when he was one on one with players and didnt have any help behind him. Pending what Troy is going to do, The CB's usually have help behind them... but are solo sometimes and Taylor was exposed and burned. That being said, he flashed some very good moments only to not be able to make that interception because he couldnt hang on to the ball.

I personally think Troy is a more valuable player, Big Bens contract is going to need to redone as well as some others and i just dont think that Taylor and his demands are going to be able to be met.

It is not just his agent, Taylor obviously has his sites on what he feels he should make or else a deal would have been done if Taylor wanted to remain a Steeler. They both think that he is going to be a Pro Bowl corner and should be paid like one now. Alot if players have potential.. and i think the Steelers are making the right move and not overpaying for him when we have very limited needs in the next 3 drafts and are able to take plenty of corners with the first few picks in each draft if needed or else free agency.

stlrtruck
08-09-2006, 08:41 AM
Ike will have to make up his mind. Do I want to be a Steeler or is money the big talker? He's got some talent but there are plenty of talented young players behind him. Plus, as stated before, in just might be the system. I think very few players have had success outside of the Steelers Defensive scheme.

I'd like to see Ike stay a Steeler but not at the expense of other players who rank higher on the pay scale!

Midnightwriter07
08-09-2006, 09:20 AM
Excactly, is not only Taylor.. but a few other players as well. I am sure Troy and Ben and Haggens and Porter and a few others will have that same decision to make when time comes up that they could possibly get paid more elsewhere, but if they want to remain a Steeler or not. We always replace them so to me, if they go they go and good luck to em.

Whenver someone defects ( that is what i call it lol ) .. i always hope they have a bad year and the team they go to will be aweful just so they can regret leaving us and taking more money and that they are miserable wherever they go. lol lol

X-Terminator
08-09-2006, 09:22 AM
Well, the only way they have a chance to re-sign him is if they let Porter walk...other than that, he'll probably be gone. However, he's had only one good season thus far and I agree with the Steelers not rushing to get him signed. He's going to have to prove himself this year that he's worthy of a $10 million signing bonus, whether it's from the Steelers or another team, by having a solid year - maybe even a better year than last year.

Atlanta Dan
08-09-2006, 08:08 PM
Ike will have to make up his mind. Do I want to be a Steeler or is money the big talker? He's got some talent but there are plenty of talented young players behind him. Plus, as stated before, in just might be the system. I think very few players have had success outside of the Steelers Defensive scheme.

I'd like to see Ike stay a Steeler but not at the expense of other players who rank higher on the pay scale!

Money legitimately is the big talker for all players. Just look at Chukky Okobi as the latest example (although the latest reports indicate Okobi's disk injury might not be as bad as first feared) that without guaranteed contracts a NFL player can have his a career end in an instant and have nothing guaranteed other than what is secured through the signing bonus.

In this case, I respect the negotiating positions of both Taylor and the Steelers. It is unfortunate that good teams lose good players because of the cap, but it beats the alternative of a capless league in which the big market teams such as the Redskins, Cowboys, and Patriots would buy all the best players every year.

Black@Gold Forever32
08-09-2006, 08:19 PM
I like Ike Taylor alot and he has alot of upside. But noway the Steelers can give him a 10 million dollar signing bonus. Sorry thats just to much.

Sharkissle29
08-09-2006, 08:27 PM
Well, the only way they have a chance to re-sign him is if they let Porter walk...other than that, he'll probably be gone. However, he's had only one good season thus far and I agree with the Steelers not rushing to get him signed. He's going to have to prove himself this year that he's worthy of a $10 million signing bonus, whether it's from the Steelers or another team, by having a solid year - maybe even a better year than last year.

doesnt sound like a bad idea to me. porter is starting to age a bit and will be on the decline in a few years...we have harrison who is young and just as good if not better behind porter. so why not let porter go after his contracts up? but then you also have to think when you lose porter, you lose not only his playing abiliity but his leadership as well.

tough decision, but if it were up to me i'd let porter go

then again we got McFadden backing up Taylor.....the talent we've been blessed with

83-Steelers-43
08-09-2006, 09:56 PM
For the record...........Quentin Jammer was given an extension by the Chargers and received $13.5 million in bonuses. You do the math when it comes to Taylor.

Link to Jammer's extension: http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/wire?section=nfl&id=2544605

SteelerMurf
08-09-2006, 11:33 PM
Here is the problem, other teams have set the bar ridiculously high. Henry and Jammer...give me a break, if those guys get 10-13 million, Ike will demand 15 right now and he would be right to do so. Anthony Henry :dang:

BIGBENFASTWILLIE
08-10-2006, 12:06 AM
McFadden is going to be the man to watch this year ...
I would love to see Taylor stay but with an extra year under his belt....I believe Mcfadden will be able to replace him next year....

Dook
08-10-2006, 12:07 AM
I think we do have the salary cap room to pay Ike a $10m bonus when you consider that we could let Porter walk away and take his $6m cap hit with him and this is likely Hartings last year so that's another $6m we have.

But honestly I'm not sure we pay it. Depends on how much confidence the team really has in McFadden.

Haiku_Dirtt
08-10-2006, 01:35 AM
I think Lebeau's system has alot to do with it... dont forget .. Taylor did get burned a few times last year when he was one on one with players and didnt have any help behind him. Pending what Troy is going to do, The CB's usually have help behind them... but are solo sometimes and Taylor was exposed and burned. That being said, he flashed some very good moments only to not be able to make that interception because he couldnt hang on to the ball.

I personally think Troy is a more valuable player, Big Bens contract is going to need to redone as well as some others and i just dont think that Taylor and his demands are going to be able to be met.

It is not just his agent, Taylor obviously has his sites on what he feels he should make or else a deal would have been done if Taylor wanted to remain a Steeler. They both think that he is going to be a Pro Bowl corner and should be paid like one now. Alot if players have potential.. and i think the Steelers are making the right move and not overpaying for him when we have very limited needs in the next 3 drafts and are able to take plenty of corners with the first few picks in each draft if needed or else free agency.

welcome back

TasmanianTroy271
08-10-2006, 01:52 AM
I think we do have the salary cap room to pay Ike a $10m bonus when you consider that we could let Porter walk away and take his $6m cap hit with him and this is likely Hartings last year so that's another $6m we have.

You also have to factor in Ben, Troy, Willie, and Max Starks. They're all gonna be commanding big money in the upcoming years, not to mention if we have anymore breakouts.

Midnightwriter07
08-10-2006, 06:53 AM
Thanks for the welcome back.. had to take some time off ... =) I am ready to rock and roll and cant wait till Friday to get the season ( although preseason ) underway !!


Ummm regardless of Porter and hartings... Harting took a nice pay cut .. is only making 2.5 million for an ALL PRO CENTER ) this year ... it will still be tough to pay Ike what he wants when you factor in who TazmanionTroy pointed out. ( BEN, TROY, HAGGENS, PORTER, WILLIE, STARKS and lord knows whoever else. )

Remember, the Steelers do not know what the salary cap will be at for next year... so is hard for them to put down a contract of that size for a guy who has " potential" .

I wont go on, i know this topic has been covered for about a year now .. but i agree with front office.

Spidey
08-10-2006, 07:03 AM
If it's simply a case of letting Porter go, is it that simple?, we should let him go, . . . fill his shoes with Harrison and sign up Taylor!

Definately!

X-Terminator
08-10-2006, 09:02 AM
doesnt sound like a bad idea to me. porter is starting to age a bit and will be on the decline in a few years...we have harrison who is young and just as good if not better behind porter. so why not let porter go after his contracts up? but then you also have to think when you lose porter, you lose not only his playing abiliity but his leadership as well.

tough decision, but if it were up to me i'd let porter go

then again we got McFadden backing up Taylor.....the talent we've been blessed with

Decisions like this are always tough, but Porter is at an age now where the Steelers usually get hesitant about re-signing them to big money, and usually end up letting them go as FA. That's why Harrison was given a contract extension, because he is Porter's heir apparent, costs less and they won't lose one bit of intensity or playing ability at the position. With Porter looking for such a large contract, and you have a guy in Ike Taylor who is fast becoming one of the top cover corners in the league, it just makes sense to let Porter go, free up that cap space and show Taylor the money. As for McFadden, he is going to end up taking Deshea Townsend's spot at the other corner, if not this year then definitely next season.

HometownGal
08-10-2006, 09:07 AM
I don't want to see anyone else from the Steelers SB team go anywhere else, but reality bites sometimes. With today's salary cap going up higher each season and owners flashing their extra green, it is almost impossible to keep a solid unit together for any long period of time, unfortunately. I don't see the Steelers paying Ike an 8 figure bonus with all of these other key contracts coming up and I don't think they should, even after he has another season as a starter under his belt. We need to focus on our long-termers first and foremost.

Even though the paychecks may be bigger by "defecting" to another team, sometimes these guys learn the hard way that the grass isn't always greener on the other side.

83-Steelers-43
08-10-2006, 09:14 AM
I haven't looked at the Steelers salary numbers in a while, so please forgive and correct me if I'm wrong.

Hypothetically, if Hartings retires next season (very probable) and we let Porter walk, we still won't have enough cash to resign Ike and Parker while giving extensions to both Ben and Troy. I'm not even including Max Starks. Ben and Troy alone are going to cost us an arm and a leg.

How exactly are we going to be able to resign Ike even if we let Porter walk and the probable retirement of Hartings? Off the top of my head, I don't think this will be possible. Somebody is going to have to go and I feel it's safe to say that it won't be either Ben or Troy.

Midnightwriter07
08-10-2006, 09:34 AM
Depends what the new salary cap is .. Ben and Troy or Willie may do longer extensions and make the numbers low for a few years with a big signing bonus ect ect. It really depends on that cap number and what it will be. I know that we were under the cap by 10 million for next year i believe as of now due to restructured contracts, some of the old contracts that we carried for players not with us ect ect ...

But remember, the Steelers have offered a number to taylor so is not like they are not trying or were not trying to do something with him.. ( i know there will be people that wil lsay ... the Steelers didnt even try to sign him ect ect ) .... To be continued

tony hipchest
08-10-2006, 09:52 AM
look how long the steelers have waited to get a cb like ike. you go back to woodson and the big money they paid washington and scott. look at all the db's we have drafted high lately. infact if atlanta didnt pick d. hall or texans didnt take d. robinson, its likely the steelers wouldve passed on roetlhisberger for one of the 2. its pretty evident the steelers want that top notch cb and hes an integral part to their success.

Midnightwriter07
08-10-2006, 02:13 PM
Yes of course everyone would love a top notch CB, but has Taylor proven he is worth that sort of money with his best year only making 1 INT ? I am not sold on him being a Pro Bowl corner at this point and yes i know , he had 25 passes defelcted .. that tells me two things ... 1 QB's and OC's are not afraid of him and 2.... he cant catch the ball well.

I hope he improves, but i read where in practice he missed an easy one that came to him again... I am sure the Steelers have and will offer him what they feel he is worth without breaking the bank on one player and keeping in mind who else they have coming up to sign in the near future as well.

When a player and his agent feel that they are one of the best at his postion, without making the Pro Bowl, and without the INT's ... is kinda hard to justify paying him top notch money on potential alone.

This is the NFl, the best of the best. Each player that comes into the league has potential.

Dont count out the fact of who he plays for and what system he is in either. Every player on our defense is an intregal part of its success because of the system.

Sharkissle29
08-10-2006, 07:36 PM
McFadden and Taylor.....thats a starting duo to be afraid of

i love ike, dont know why. maybe because he's so humble. the kids got talent and i think we'd be making a mistake not signing him. but if he is gonna cost us troy/parker/ben, then its obvious we let him go