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Hawaii 5-0
12-27-2012, 07:20 PM
Will The Steelers Be Able To Keep Free Agent Cornerback Keenan Lewis?

Thursday, December 27th, 2012 by Dave Bryan

The Pittsburgh Steelers will most certainly look to try and sign unrestricted free agent cornerback Keenan Lewis to a long term deal prior to the start of free agency, but the Oregon State product would be best served to at least check out the market with the Steelers best offer in hand.

Below are what I believe to be the biggest named unrestricted free agent cornerbacks hitting the market this upcoming offseason along with their 2012 stats and Lewis is most certainly included in that bunch. His 69 total tackles and 23 passes defensed will most certainly raise some eyebrows with teams as will his ability to play though injuries.

PLAYER COMB TOTAL AST SACK STF FF INT PD TD/A

Cary Williams 74 67 7 1 1 0 4 17 6
Keenan Lewis 69 54 15 0 2 1 0 23 3
Quentin Jammer 63 54 9 0 3 1 2 8 7
Sheldon Brown 59 52 7 1 3 1 3 12 2
Sean Smith 57 52 5 0 0 3 2 12 6
Derek Cox 55 54 1 0 1 1 4 11 1
Chris Houston 54 43 11 0 3 2 2 9 3
E.J. Biggers 46 37 9 1 3 2 1 6 3
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie 45 38 7 0 0 0 3 17 4
Aqib Talib 40 33 7 0 1 0 2 10 3
Brent Grimes 6 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

So how much will Lewis stand to get as a top notch free agent cornerback? Below are the contracts of the top free agents from last offseason with the top three earners getting an average year value of around $8-10 million.

2012 Free Agency Top Cornerback Signings

Lardarius Webb (RFA) - Signed with Ravens - Signed a six-year, $52.742 million contract that included a $10 million signing bonus.

Cortland Finnegan - Signed with Rams - Signed a five-year, $50 million contract that contained $27 million guaranteed, including a $5 million signing bonus.

Brandon Carr - Signed with Cowboys - Signed a five-year, $50.1 million contract that contained $25.5 million guaranteed, including a $10 million signing bonus.

Carlos Rogers - Signed with 49ers - Signed a four-year, $29.3 million contract that included a $5 million signing bonus.

Terrell Thomas - Signed with Giants - Signed a four-year, $17.4 million contract that contained $11 million guaranteed, including a $1 million signing bonus.

Aaron Ross - Signed with Jaguars - Signed a three-year, $9.75 million contract that included a $1 million signing bonus.

Keep in mind that the guaranteed money is always the biggest factor here, as is the structure. Also keep in mind that the franchise tag for the cornerback position is scheduled to be $10.668 million.

The Steelers will most likely try to keep Lewis with an average value of around $7-8 million on a four or five year deal with a signing bonus of anywhere between $8-10 million. Will that be enough to keep him in Pittsburgh? It is hard to say, but Lewis most certainly would like to stay with defensive backs coach Carnell Lake, who is responsible for his fantastic development. Money of course talks the loudest so it will be interesting to see if Lewis will be willing to give a hometown discount to remain with the Steelers.

http://www.steelersdepot.com/2012/12/will-the-steelers-be-able-to-keep-free-agent-cornerback-keenan-lewis/

Riddle_Of_Steel
12-27-2012, 07:30 PM
I hope we can keep Keenan. As the season wore on-- he emerged as a definite playmaker-- something that is too few on our defense of late.

WVABE
12-27-2012, 07:45 PM
Right now Keenan is one of the few bright spots with this team, sure hope he's around for another few years.

steeltheone
12-27-2012, 07:54 PM
It's hard to gauge someone with 1 good year under their belt. Lets hope the brass knows what they are doing, because 1 big money mistake on a player could cripple this team tremendously.

Fire Arians
12-27-2012, 07:56 PM
he should be priority 1 for re-signing this offseason

harrison'samonster
12-27-2012, 07:58 PM
It's hard to gauge someone with 1 good year under their belt. Lets hope the brass knows what they are doing, because 1 big money mistake on a player could cripple this team tremendously.

that's true. It would be better to let him go and he has a good career somewhere else than to sign him and watch him waste space and money.

In a perfect world though, we'd sign him and he'll be a superstar!

Fire Arians
12-27-2012, 08:01 PM
It's hard to gauge someone with 1 good year under their belt. Lets hope the brass knows what they are doing, because 1 big money mistake on a player could cripple this team tremendously.

true, we kinda did that with the lamar 'woodendong' woodley

SteelersCanada
12-27-2012, 08:12 PM
Don't give him top dollar, but sign him to a reasonable contract. The CB / Secondary depth in this draft is pretty high, so we might just be able to replace him with a guy like Milliner or Rhodes in the second.

ZoneBlitzer
12-27-2012, 08:44 PM
Don't give him top dollar, but sign him to a reasonable contract. The CB / Secondary depth in this draft is pretty high, so we might just be able to replace him with a guy like Milliner or Rhodes in the second.

Definitely not top dollar. He's another one of our corners who can't catch. Still, would love to see him kept on.

cowherpower
12-27-2012, 09:02 PM
he is an average CB on an average unit. He has so many pass defends because the ball is constantly around him. It's not like he is Revis in perfect position to intercept or break up passes. He is usually late the action and manages to break ball away from the multitude of passes thrown his way. Is he worthless? No, but a contract in 2-3 million per is more like it. 7 or more? Seriously? Doubt he could start on more than a handful of NFL teams.

FrancoLambert
12-27-2012, 09:21 PM
Showed too much improvement this year to let go.
He plays one of the toughest positions and made many noticeable plays.
He needs to work more on his hands and situation awareness (he played way too soft in that zone coverage off the receiver on Cinci's last play prior to their winning FG).
But, we have so little depth at this position he's a keeper.

steelerchad
12-27-2012, 09:23 PM
It's time to cut ties with more guys who have big salaries to sign the young guys. last year it was Hines, Smith, Farrior. This year, it should be Harrison, Hampton, and Troy.

teegre
12-27-2012, 11:42 PM
Top tier CBs get $10-13 million.

$7-8 million is very reasonable.

austinfrench76
12-28-2012, 02:01 AM
I don't see him as overrated at all or the DB's as a group for that matter. Ike is very good, Keenan very good, Clark played extremely well this year and Allen/Troy were good as well. Keenan would probably get more money elsewhere but would be better served in Pitt. He should ask some of the others that have left lately only to bust. Ie...McFadden. Hope he stays for 7-8/yr.

Darkstorm05
12-28-2012, 02:08 AM
I think we'll keep him. When he was out along with Ike, the remaining secondary backups showed that they aren't ready to go just yet. We have no choice but to make a fair try and retaining him.

PhantomJB93
12-28-2012, 03:53 AM
If Keenan is not re-signed after his emergence this season, then everything about the 2012 Steelers can be deemed a complete failure. If there was one good thing to come from this season, it was the discovery that we finally have a legitimate #2 corner after years of developing and searching for one.

OliverPoop
12-29-2012, 02:21 AM
"Money of course talks the loudest so it will be interesting to see if Lewis will be willing to give a hometown discount to remain with the Steelers."

The hometown discount only applies if the player was originally from the Pittsburgh area and even then it's stupid.

OliverPoop
12-29-2012, 02:22 AM
He'll be gone. Bank on it.

LayingTheWoodley56
12-29-2012, 12:09 PM
Definitely not top dollar is right. Keenan had an excellent season and he was a major bright spot for us, but you can't award a huge contract based on one season. I do certainly hope we can reach an agreement, because I like him as a person and player a lot.

cowherpower
12-29-2012, 01:30 PM
This season was perhaps the easiest schedule we have had as far as facing top notch QB and WR corps. ALL of our defensive backs are lacking. Troy is past his prime. Clark is playing well but he is not great in coverage and on downside of career. Some of you people act as if Lewis is some young guy with blazing speed and great coverage skills. The guy has average speed and he will be 27 before the start of next season. I don't see that he had a great year, but even if like many believe he did and finally came on, this is 3 seasons too late. Let someone else overpay for his questionable talent. I would rather go with Allen who I think is just okay, but at least he is younger and cheaper.

SteelersCanada
12-29-2012, 07:23 PM
Steelers' Allen could have bright future

Posted Dec. 28, 2012 @ 10:08 p.m. ET
By Mike Wilkening

Two days before the Steelers’ season finale, CB Cortez Allen was asked what he would take away from his second NFL campaign.

“I still have a lot of growing to do,” Allen said. “ … There’s still so much to learn.”

More improvement from Allen would be an exciting prospect for the Steelers considering the promise he has shown in 2012.

Allen’s potential was on full display in the Week 16 loss to Cincinnati, when he had a hand in all three Bengals turnovers. He twice intercepted Bengals QB Andy Dalton, and he forced an A.J. Green fumble recovered by S Ryan Clark in Pittsburgh territory. The interceptions were the first of the 24-year-old Allen’s NFL career. Allen shared credit for the takeaways with his teammates, saying that the defense’s collective play “enabled me to make the plays I did.’

Improved technique will be a focus of Allen’s offseason workouts. He figures to be no worse than the Steelers’ third cornerback in 2013, and a starting spot is quite possible, especially if Keenan Lewis departs in free agency.

We may look back and see 2012 as a “bridge” season of sorts for Allen, a campaign where he showed he could be a consistent contributor for an older defense that will need its younger players to continue to step forward.

“I do feel like I’ve progressed a little each week,” Allen said.

-- I think with the development and improvement of Cortez Allen, keeping Lewis around might still be important. Having Cortez improve the way he was over the last season has shown me that we don't necessarily need to spend a first round pick on a Corner when Ike decides it's time to hang 'em up. Allen and Lewis can anchor the secondary and we could have two younger safeties (Amerson and Lester, anyone?) play alongside them. That would give us an explosive secondary that knows how to create turnovers and get the ball back for our offense.

El-Gonzo Jackson
12-30-2012, 11:24 AM
Steelers' Allen could have bright future

Posted Dec. 28, 2012 @ 10:08 p.m. ET
By Mike Wilkening

Two days before the Steelers’ season finale, CB Cortez Allen was asked what he would take away from his second NFL campaign.

“I still have a lot of growing to do,” Allen said. “ … There’s still so much to learn.”

More improvement from Allen would be an exciting prospect for the Steelers considering the promise he has shown in 2012.

Allen’s potential was on full display in the Week 16 loss to Cincinnati, when he had a hand in all three Bengals turnovers. He twice intercepted Bengals QB Andy Dalton, and he forced an A.J. Green fumble recovered by S Ryan Clark in Pittsburgh territory. The interceptions were the first of the 24-year-old Allen’s NFL career. Allen shared credit for the takeaways with his teammates, saying that the defense’s collective play “enabled me to make the plays I did.’

Improved technique will be a focus of Allen’s offseason workouts. He figures to be no worse than the Steelers’ third cornerback in 2013, and a starting spot is quite possible, especially if Keenan Lewis departs in free agency.

We may look back and see 2012 as a “bridge” season of sorts for Allen, a campaign where he showed he could be a consistent contributor for an older defense that will need its younger players to continue to step forward.

“I do feel like I’ve progressed a little each week,” Allen said.

-- I think with the development and improvement of Cortez Allen, keeping Lewis around might still be important. Having Cortez improve the way he was over the last season has shown me that we don't necessarily need to spend a first round pick on a Corner when Ike decides it's time to hang 'em up. Allen and Lewis can anchor the secondary and we could have two younger safeties (Amerson and Lester, anyone?) play alongside them. That would give us an explosive secondary that knows how to create turnovers and get the ball back for our offense.

Robert Lester has looked slow and barely draftable this season. I taped the Auburn Bama game to look at him and Corey Lemonier and Lester was hugely disappointing. Below is a scout comment on him this season.

Robert Lester, S -- Alabama: Lester looked like a top safety prospect after 2010 and had many scouts believing he was better than former teammate Mark Barron. His play has since leveled off with some scouts, even believing Lester has regressed on the field. The senior has looked indecisive and slow to react this season, making plays after the fact rather than forcing the action. Lester posted 52 tackles and eight interceptions as a sophomore. His cumulative totals the past two seasons include 69 tackles and five interceptions.

Read More: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/tony_pauline/11/10/risers-sliders-week-11/index.html#ixzz2GYLo0oRa

jtbsteeler
12-30-2012, 05:06 PM
Did Lewis get injured?

Raw Steel
12-30-2012, 05:20 PM
What would you rather have? Him back or Harrison. Not a tough choice.

jtbsteeler
12-30-2012, 05:27 PM
What would you rather have? Him back or Harrison. Not a tough choice.

Lewis. I didn't see the first few minutes. Did Lewis get hurt?

pittpete
12-30-2012, 05:31 PM
Yes, saw him limping early in the game.
Think it was his hip again.

Who would you rather have next year?
Lewis/Taylor starting
or
Lewis/Allen starting?

jtbsteeler
12-30-2012, 05:41 PM
Lewis and Taylor, with Allen as the nickel.

I'm excited about our draft position.

harrison'samonster
12-30-2012, 06:14 PM
Lewis and Taylor starting next year. I think Lewis is going to be a good one.

cowherpower
12-30-2012, 08:20 PM
Did Lewis get injured?

Yes but not before giving his customary 10 yard cushion, turning his hips to early and allowing a reception without being 5 yards from Benjamin. The 4th or 5th WR for them. Seriously, if we start Lewis and or Allen next year we are seriously going to lose a lot of games. At least Allen has age and inexperience for an excuse. Lewis is just bad

lloydwoodson
01-01-2013, 07:23 AM
Yes but not before giving his customary 10 yard cushion, turning his hips to early and allowing a reception without being 5 yards from Benjamin. The 4th or 5th WR for them. Seriously, if we start Lewis and or Allen next year we are seriously going to lose a lot of games. At least Allen has age and inexperience for an excuse. Lewis is just bad

"Only two cornerbacks in the NFL have been targeted more than Lewis, but the big, physical defensive back has excelled this year. Lewis has allowed only 5.62 YPA and a 74.9 passer rating in 2012. With cornerback Ike Taylor out, Cortez Allen has also been thrust into the starting lineup. The 5.84 YPA and 80.0 passer rating he’s yielded are right on par with Lewis.

If there’s a weak spot in Pittsburgh’s secondary, it’s nickel corner Curtis Brown. In limited action, Brown has allowed a 75.0 completion percentage, 9.67 YPA, and a passer rating of 132.6. Look for the Cowboys to utilize three-receiver sets, whether they want to run or pass, to get Brown on the field."

Found this on the Dallas Cowboys site. Hope it sheds some light on our cbs for you. Lewis is actually pretty good.

Hawaii 5-0
01-01-2013, 07:52 PM
just read where Keenan Lewis said the Steelers made a mistake by not locking him up to a long-term deal earlier.

Lewis may prove tough to re-sign and the franchise tag for a CB is over $10 million/year...

harrison'samonster
01-01-2013, 07:59 PM
shit

steelfury02
01-01-2013, 08:25 PM
fudgems

kan_t
01-01-2013, 10:59 PM
"I was misquoted by a reporter saying it was a mistake not to give me a contract last year. Try to make my image look bad, but here Wat it is, I'm not money greedy, I had my exit meeting today and it went great. I know we in the right direction as far as a contract, I believe strongly I would be apart of Steeler Nation next season. To do a three peat as the number one pass defense period. Here we go"

http://www.twitlonger.com/show/kiqgvn

Let's get it done. C. Allen has shown that he can play but CB will have zero depth if Lewis leaves. He's a player which the Steelers should keep.

Hawaii 5-0
01-01-2013, 11:22 PM
Keenan Lewis (@KeenanLewis23)

Posted Wednesday 2nd January 2013 from TweetCaster

"I just want to clear this up: I never said anything about @steelers making a mistake by not signing me last season. I love the Rooneys, Organization & fans. I only stayed that my agent will handle the contract talks."

http://www.twitlonger.com/show/kiq5dj

cowherpower
01-01-2013, 11:22 PM
"Only two cornerbacks in the NFL have been targeted more than Lewis, but the big, physical defensive back has excelled this year. Lewis has allowed only 5.62 YPA and a 74.9 passer rating in 2012. With cornerback Ike Taylor out, Cortez Allen has also been thrust into the starting lineup. The 5.84 YPA and 80.0 passer rating he’s yielded are right on par with Lewis.

If there’s a weak spot in Pittsburgh’s secondary, it’s nickel corner Curtis Brown. In limited action, Brown has allowed a 75.0 completion percentage, 9.67 YPA, and a passer rating of 132.6. Look for the Cowboys to utilize three-receiver sets, whether they want to run or pass, to get Brown on the field."

Found this on the Dallas Cowboys site. Hope it sheds some light on our cbs for you. Lewis is actually pretty good.

There is a reason he is targeted so much. Because like William Gay, he cannot stay with the receivers. I watch every game and DVR for slow motion and nothing anyone says will make me believe he is much more than average. He will be 27 next season and will be expecting too much money if yours and some others opinions of him dictate his demands. The only corner they have drafted who I thought could be special was Crezdon Butler but he was jettisoned for some reason. There are only a handful of teams with worse secondaries than us.

Sure statistically you can point to them being good but they had a very easy schedule against non elite offenses. Both Lewis and Allen are average in coverage, both aren't that fast, and as shown by their lack of INT as a group, they along with the others fail to get the turnovers. If we don't draft cb, or safety with our first rounder we are in serious trouble. Troy is done, Ike had his worst season and the cupboard is bare

kan_t
01-02-2013, 12:52 AM
There is a reason he is targeted so much. Because like William Gay, he cannot stay with the receivers. I watch every game and DVR for slow motion and nothing anyone says will make me believe he is much more than average. He will be 27 next season and will be expecting too much money if yours and some others opinions of him dictate his demands. The only corner they have drafted who I thought could be special was Crezdon Butler but he was jettisoned for some reason. There are only a handful of teams with worse secondaries than us.

Sure statistically you can point to them being good but they had a very easy schedule against non elite offenses. Both Lewis and Allen are average in coverage, both aren't that fast, and as shown by their lack of INT as a group, they along with the others fail to get the turnovers. If we don't draft cb, or safety with our first rounder we are in serious trouble. Troy is done, Ike had his worst season and the cupboard is bare
Easy schedule or not, they have the No.1 passing defense for a reason, and I know the reason is not the pass rush. Lewis doesn't have good hands but he is clearly an above average CB this season. Allen has also shown that he could be a play-maker when he was given oppurtunities in the last few games .

Also I don't know how you could you draw the conclusion that Troy is done after watching the last two game he played. Injury-prone? Yes. But he's far from being done.

teegre
01-02-2013, 01:21 AM
Keenan Lewis (@KeenanLewis23)

Posted Wednesday 2nd January 2013 from TweetCaster

"I just want to clear this up: I never said anything about @steelers making a mistake by not signing me last season. I love the Rooneys, Organization & fans. I only stayed that my agent will handle the contract talks."

http://www.twitlonger.com/show/kiq5dj

Sweeeeeeet!!!!!!!!!

El-Gonzo Jackson
01-02-2013, 11:13 AM
I cant remember who the OSU alum that was posting on this board when Keenan Lewis was drafted.....he was just bashing him for not being that good. Anybody remember who the poster was?

pete74
01-02-2013, 01:12 PM
On Tuesday afternoon, word spread around the SteelerNation’s Twittersphere that Keenan Lewis was apparently headed for the free agent market. Hopes of getting the high priority free agent back in Pittsburgh immediately came into question more than before, but Lewis cleared the air later Tuesday evening.

It started with Alan Robinson of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review tweeting out that Steelers free agent Cornerback Keenan Lewis wants to test the free agent market, and is apparently looking for the big pay day he thinks he’ll get from another team: ”Alan Robinson@arobinson_Trib : Keenan Lewis plans to test free agency. He told #Steelers “they made a mistake” by not offering multi-year deal before 2012 season.”

After Steelers fans across the social media world starting started whipping into a frenzy, Lewis clarified the misquote by Robinson and set the record straight:
“I was misquoted by a reporter saying it was a mistake not to give me a contract last year. Try to make my image look bad, but here Wat it is, I’m not money greedy, I had my exit meeting today and it went great. I know we in the right direction as far as a contract, I believe strongly I would be apart of Steeler Nation next season. To do a three peat as the number one pass defense period. Here we go”

-Keenan Lewis

Lewis has been a very humble player throughout his young career from what I’ve seen. When approached by the media he is usually quick to give credit to his teammates and coaches, and often interacts with his fans on Facebook and Twitter. It seemed odd that Lewis would make such a bold statement in the first place, but hey free agency can do that to people; it brings out the crazy all too often. I admit I started questioning his tactics when I read the report too.

Let’s be fair, every NFL player has an ego, I don’t care who it is but fortunately Lewis seems to have a good head on his shoulders. They want to get their share of the wealth, and rightfully so. The average length of an NFL career isn’t exactly that of your average 9-5 office type job. He’s well within his rights to seek out all the money he can, and knowing how the NFL works there will always be someone willing to overpay a player. The Steelers would be wise to lock him up as soon as possible though just to be safe.
Lewis finished 2012 with 71 tackles, 23 passes defensed, and 1 forced fumble. Like the rest of the Steelers Defensive Backs though, there seems to be this continuous issue with coming down with the ball when given the chance. Hopefully with more work under Carnell Lake, the good cover corners for 2013 will also become more ball hawks.

From the Steelers front office point of view, nobody should blame Kevin Colbert for not giving a big, fat contract to Lewis until they saw what he was going to do in 2012. If you look at his career stats, he played mostly NB in 2011 and registered 37 tackles, 6 passes defensed, and 1 interception. Before that, in 2009 and 2010, he played in a combined 13 games and had 12 total tackles. Clearly 2012 was his best year and hopefully that trend continues. Omar Khan and Colbert are more than willing to pay out fair money for a player they feel is worth it, and after this past season Lewis has shown he’s capable of holding up his end of a bargain.

I personally think, like most others, that Lewis is a must have free agent keep for the Steelers, his growth into a solid overall cover corner will be extremely valuable to the future of the Steeler defense.

Fire Haley
01-02-2013, 03:22 PM
Nope. He's gone.


But we have Woodley eating his way through his 6 year/$61.5M contract for the next few years....so there's that

Fire Haley
01-02-2013, 03:38 PM
but with a "hometown discount" at $7M per year - you never know



James C Wexell ‏@jimwexell
On Keenan Lewis, good source says he'll take 5 yrs $35 million to get a deal done. It's reasonable.

teegre
01-02-2013, 03:40 PM
James C Wexell ‏@jimwexell
On Keenan Lewis, good source says he'll take 5 yrs $35 million to get a deal done. It's reasonable.

That is GREAT news.

About what I expected... actually, a little less.

GoFor7
01-02-2013, 03:56 PM
but with a "hometown discount" at $7M per year - you never know



James C Wexell ‏@jimwexell
On Keenan Lewis, good source says he'll take 5 yrs $35 million to get a deal done. It's reasonable.

Jim Wexell? Where have we heard from him before.....

"Mike Wallace signs new deal with Steelers."

Fire Haley
01-02-2013, 04:05 PM
you don't have to swallow the hook little guppies

just nibble the bait

Hawaii 5-0
01-02-2013, 04:06 PM
Jim Wexell? Where have we heard from him before.....

"Mike Wallace signs new deal with Steelers."

James C Wexell ‏@jimwexell:

As I posted at http://SCI.net , Walllace wants to leave, Keenan wants to stay, Max thinks he's already gone, Foote will come back cheap

https://twitter.com/jimwexell

Hawaii 5-0
01-02-2013, 11:29 PM
Steelers Free Agency: Sign Keenan Lewis, don't lose sight of Cortez Allen

By Neal Coolong on Jan 1

Having depth at cornerback is a good problem to have, but the Steelers will need to act if they wish to keep what could be one of the best young cornerback duos in the league.

The business side of football doesn't always hold the simple concept of winning championships as the top priority. Or at least some actions don't appear to be in line with that goal.

Teams often take the financially motivated one step back in order to build to the two-steps-forward mentality in terms of production.

Odder things would have happened in the NFL than if the Steelers let cornerback Keenan Lewis walk in free agency.

When you've got highly talented CB Cortez Allen creating turnovers on a pace rarely seen from a Steelers cornerback, it's hard to ignore. Deshea Townsend was the last Steelers cornerback to have five combined interceptions and forced fumbles in a season and that happened in 2004. That was a team that had 40 total takeaways. The 2012 Steelers had 20, and Allen had five of them in the last two games of the season.

Granted, that in itself isn't enough to give him the starting job and begin campaigning for his Pro Bowl selection in 2013, but it's certainly enough for the team to consider when setting the ceiling on what they'll offer Lewis in his contract negotiations, scheduled to begin in the near future.

As Lewis's high school teammate Mike Wallace prepares to depart, the Steelers must weigh the depth of their team. It's a luxury to have three starting caliber corners, and in this pass-heavy league, nickel defensive backs may as well be considered starters - particularly when they're on the Steelers. Allen played 563 snaps this season - 50 more than two-down nose tackle Casey Hampton. Teams load up on receivers and spread teams out, looking to exploit opponents with shallow secondaries.

Allen covered Bengals superfreak A.J. Green much of Cincinnati's 13-10 win over Pittsburgh in Week 16. Considering Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton was throwing the ball to Green nearly half of his 41 throws (18 targets), the fact Green had 10 catches is understandable. It's more than difficult to prevent a player of Green's ability from getting the ball if an offensive game plan rests solely on getting Green the ball. Allen had a pair of picks in the game - his first two this season - and suddenly, he led the team's cornerbacks in interceptions.

It's certainly tantalizing to think of having three defensive backs who can cover the way Ike Taylor, Lewis and Allen can, especially considering Lewis (26) and Allen (24) are so young.

The economic rule in the NFL is investing in a position can result in a huge benefit immediately if the right players are selected. But a low contract becomes a high contract if that benefit is fully realized. If the Steelers are truly committed to the investment they made by taking three cornerbacks in the mid-rounds from 2009-11 (Lewis, Allen and Curtis Brown), they're going to need to sign them long-term as well.

http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2013/1/1/3824114/steelers-free-agency-2013-nfl-contracts-cornerbacks-cortez-allen-keenan-lewis

Hawaii 5-0
01-03-2013, 02:18 AM
On the Steelers: Lewis wants 'starter money'
Cornerback is unrestricted free agent, says he would like to stay with team

January 3, 2013
By Ed Bouchette / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

One season, two very different sets of circumstances for two high school teammates who came to the Steelers in 2009.

Mike Wallace was a bona fide star, a Pro Bowl receiver in 2011 offered tens of millions of dollars by the team he turned down in 2012. Keenan Lewis reached nickel back status in his third season, playing only in passing situations. The team offered him nothing but the required one-year tender as a restricted free agent in 2012.

Today, they are poised to become unrestricted free agents, and Lewis might even find himself in as good a position as his former classmate at Perry Walker High School in New Orleans. Lewis went from obscure backup cornerback to having such a good season in his first as a starter that he should be among the top handful of cornerbacks available in the 2013 free-agent market that opens March 12.

Lewis played for $1.26 million last season, a middle tender from the Steelers compared to a top tender of $2.7 million Wallace earned. Some team could have signed Lewis as a restricted free agent and given the Steelers a third-round pick as compensation. No one offered him a multiple-year contract to stay or leave, not the way the Steelers did with Wallace. Lewis is OK with that because he would not have attracted the kind of deal he will this year.

"I didn't want a contract in 2012," Lewis said Wednesday from his New Orleans home. "I was just a nickel back. I probably would have told them to hold up on the contract anyway because I wanted to really establish myself as a starting cornerback.
"I didn't want nickel-back money, I wanted starter money."

Lewis left his exit interview with coach Mike Tomlin on New Year's Day feeling good about the team's desire to sign him to a new contract.

"I'm hoping they do something so I can get back," said Lewis, who led the NFL in passes defensed. "They said they wanted me to come back."

Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert is famous for his consistent reply to questions as to which free agents he wants to keep: All of them. They never do, of course. But Lewis is young, 27 in May, and looking like someone who can continue to partner with Taylor, 33 in May, and then succeed him as their top corner. It has been quite some time since the Steelers could count on two good cornerbacks and, with Cortez Allen playing the nickel, they look to have three.

Lewis first must heal from a sprained medial collateral ligament that will not require surgery. He predicted he will start running in a month.

Tomlin, Lewis said, told him that he blossomed in 2012. "He basically said I became a true professional, how I went about my business watching tape, my confidence grew and proving I could play. He figures I can be one of the best in the league. Now I know exactly what to work on. My goal is to be compared to the best corners, the Ike Taylors and Darrelle Revises."

Tomlin also told him the areas in which he needs to improve, catching the ball the major one. Tomlin likely told that to all the cornerbacks because they intercepted only three of the lowly team total of 10. Cortez Allen had two, Taylor one, Lewis none.

Veteran safety Will Allen noticed a big difference in Lewis the past two seasons. "I think he has built a lot of confidence. He is playing the ball a lot better. He has gotten better on his press technique. ... He is tall, long and fast. He has all the tangible things to be a great cornerback."

Lewis credits secondary coach Carnell Lake for helping him turn his game around. Lake joined the staff in 2011, and the pass defense has ranked No. 1 in both of his seasons. "Coach Lake got there, and he helped me out tremendously, stayed after work, watched tape with me. My career took off from there. The game started to slow down."

The free-agent game will speed up soon enough, and though Lewis said he loves playing for the Steelers, the Rooneys, Tomlin, Lake, etc., he also naturally wants to earn what he can.

"I want what I feel I deserve. I'm not trying to ask for way more. If they can work out a good deal with my agent, I'll be here. I'll always give them top priority because they're the team that drafted me.

"Some teams will try to speculate how much I should get. That's what [my agent is] for. I'm not going to speculate on $20 million, I'm not going to speculate on $50 million. I'll let him work the numbers out from what I put on tape and my ability."

Futures market

The season has ended for the Steelers, but the season of signing players to futures contracts has just begun.

The Steelers signed six players to contracts for the 2013 season, players who were either not on teams or on their practice squads at the end of the season. They signed offensive linemen Joe Long and Justin Cheadle, wide receivers Derek Moye and Bert Reed, and cornerback Isiah Green. All five had spent time on the Steelers practice squad in 2012.

They also signed Pittsburgh native Ross Ventrone, a defensive back. He spent portions of his rookie season in 2010 and in 2011 with the Patriots active roster and practice squad. New England released him during last training camp, and he was not on a roster last season.

Each NFL team's roster can rise to 90 when its season ends.

http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/sports/steelers/on-the-steelers-lewis-wants-starter-money-668741/#ixzz2GtHToZrk

pete74
01-04-2013, 12:15 PM
We should of signed Lewis last off season when nobody else wanted him. He is a very good corner and should of known he would be at the very least a decent player after three years. Teams like Miami who are 40million under the cap can easily steal him from a team like us who are 12 million over. It just annoys me that we drafted him, trained him for 4 years and now he may go help another team during his peak years. As much as everyone here seems to love Omar Kauhn I'm sick of being over the cap every year and if we lose both Wallace and Lewis I'm really going to be mad.
We need to start spending our money more wisely ans stop giving huge contracts to our older, mostly injured or less productive players. We need to keep Lewis and not signing him last year is really going to hurt us next season.

casteeler
01-04-2013, 05:38 PM
That's big money for a guy that can't cover a 7 yard out.I like Lewis but lets not forget what the Steeler CBs looked like against Rivers,Palmer or Romo

Hawaii 5-0
01-06-2013, 05:17 PM
Pittsburgh Steelers Number One Offseason Priority Should Be Cornerback Keenan Lewis

Posted on January 5, 2013 by Syndicated Feeds

When the Pittsburgh Steelers have a disappointing season, there are always differing opinions on the cause. Was it the offense? Was it the defense? All great questions that fans continually ask, while complimenting them with what can be done to get the team back on top.In looking back at 2012, the situation leading to the demise was a combined effort. Injuries to key players took a toll, players had off years, and some of the coaching decisions were suspect. Yes, every facet of the Steelers had an off year in one way or another.

Through all of that, one player did show up and raise his value to the Steelers moving forward and may be their most important unrestricted free agent. Cornerback Keenan Lewis rose from the depth chart and entrenched himself as possibly the Steelers best cornerback.

Yes, Ike Taylor is tremendous, and still has some tread left on the tires, but, Lewis proved he is possibly ready to step into that role. Unlike his high school teammate Mike Wallace, Lewis signed his $1.26 million tender last offseason and reported to camp ready to roll and roll he did. In fact, he played so well that he may have priced himself out of Pittsburgh as he enters the unrestricted free agent field as one of the top available cornerbacks in the NFL.

However, the Steelers have always found a way at keeping the talent that they want, and the franchise tender that once may have had Wallaces’ name on it, may end up going to his childhood buddy. Yes, the Steelers may lack depth at both positions wide receiver and cornerback, but they could ill-afford to lose Lewis, as it was clear at the end of the season, that even with a lack of depth the team was less prepared in the secondary when Taylor, Lewis and slot-corner Cortez Allen were banged up.

The 27-year old cornerback has the skill-set to flourish in the Steelers system. When they couple that with the development of Allen, the players could give the Steelers a solid starting tandem into the future once Taylor (33) starts to slow-down.

Of course, general manager Kevin Colbert may have to pull a rabbit out of his hat to keep Lewis, and he likely will. Even if they have to break the bank with the franchise tag, one thing is certain; unlike his former high school teammate, Lewis earned this chance and this contract and more importantly, seems to have a desire to stay in Pittsburgh. He is definitely priority one heading into the offseason.

http://network.yardbarker.com/nfl/article_external/pittsburgh_steelers_number_one_offseason_priority_ should_be_cornerback_keenan_lewis/12587212

lloydwoodson
01-06-2013, 05:45 PM
It just annoys me that we drafted him, trained him for 4 years and now he may go help another team during his peak years. As much as everyone here seems to love Omar Kauhn I'm sick of being over the cap every year and if we lose both Wallace and Lewis I'm really going to be mad.

Agreed. Not Omar's fault the team wants to hang onto aging veterans but he shouldn't be labelled a genius for reworking the same contracts year after year, robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Endure 2 years of painful play from Willie Gay as a starter; he finally gets it for one season; lose him to Arizona. Sit Lewis behind "veteran" William Gay for 2 years; Lewis puts up very solid first season; then lose him to FA.

DanRooney
01-06-2013, 06:49 PM
Please don't overpay him is all I'm hoping for.

Hawaii 5-0
01-12-2013, 05:20 PM
Steelers to pay price with defensive backs

By Alan Robinson
Published: Friday, January 11, 2013

2013 Steelers‘ trouble spot: Secondary

2012 Starters: CB Ike Taylor (10th season), CB Keenan Lewis (4th season), S Troy Polamalu (10th season), S Ryan Clark (11th season)

2012 Backups: CB Cortez Allen (2nd season), S Will Allen (9th season)

Analysis: The Steelers led the NFL in pass defense, but it was an uncomfortable No. 1. Too many early-season games were sacrificed to late-game secondary breakdowns, and the four starters played together for only two games all season. Polamalu missed nine games with a torn calf and didn‘t look like himself until the final two games of the season, when Taylor (broken ankle) was out. Clark and Polamalu allowed a touchdown between them all season, but backup Ryan Mundy allowed three in the first four games. Lewis shook off a rough start to have a strong season but never made an interception.

Most likely departure: Lewis, if he elects to go into free agency.

Possible early-round draft picks: CB Dee Milliner, Alabama; CB Logan Ryan, Rutgers; S Bacarri Rambo, Georgia; CB Jordan Poyer, Oregon State; CB Johnthan Banks, Mississippi State

Possible free agents: CB Brent Grimes, Falcons; CB Tracy Porter, Broncos; CB Derek Cox, Jaguars

Get out the checkbook, Dan Rooney.

The Steelers chose not to give cornerback Keenan Lewis a multiyear contract as a restricted free agent last year, in part, because he wasn‘t yet a starter. Lewis, in turn, might have hesitated to sign such a deal if it didn‘t pay him at a starter‘s level.

Now some team is going to pay the efficient Lewis a lot more than the $1.26 million he made in 2012 — be it the Steelers or one that grabs him as a free agent.

Where Lewis goes sets the course for the 2013 Steelers‘ secondary, one that hopes to be more stable and theft-prone but as statistically proficient as the NFL‘s top-ranked unit was this season.

That‘s where the hard decisions begin.

Lewis stabilized what had been a troublesome position for years, the cornerback spot opposite Ike Taylor that once alternated between Bryant McFadden and William Gay, and it‘s likely the Steelers would prefer to keep him more than any of the other 17 unrestricted free agents.

“I want everybody back, especially Keenan,” safety Ryan Clark said. “His play was a big reason why we finished No. 1 in yards. When we have him, it makes it a lot better.”

But it would cost $10.66 million to franchise him — one route to retaining him without giving him a multiyear deal — and that‘s unlikely given the Steelers are well over the salary cap.

If Lewis signs elsewhere, Cortez Allen becomes the next man up. He helped create five turnovers in the final two games and would start if Lewis leaves.

But that would significantly weaken a position of strength, nickel back, given that Allen graded out the highest of any Steelers defensive back in Pro Football Focus‘ play-by-play analysis. Ranked No. 17 league-wide, Allen (563 snaps) gave up only one touchdown but played the second-fewest snaps of any cornerback in the top 20.

With numerous personnel decisions to make given the seven players 30 or older on defense, the Steelers could decide it is more cost-effective to make Allen a starter. Then, they could seek out an affordable nickel back — if they think Curtis Brown isn‘t ready — through free agency or the draft.

Brown got most of his playing time late in the season, giving up 11 completions and a touchdown while being targeted 15 times.

The Steelers also must decide if this is the year they commit a high-round draft pick to safety, given that Ryan Clark — coming off possibly his best season — will be 34 next season and Troy Polamalu will be 32.

The concern about Polamalu isn‘t as much his age as his reliability; he missed much of the 2009 and ‘12 seasons to injury.

“Maybe I look too far ahead, but think what it could look like with both of us healthy and these young guys playing football and Ike out there,” Clark said. “It could be special.”

So for the Steelers, it‘s pay now or pay later. Even if the Steelers don‘t give Lewis a seven-figure multiyear deal, they‘re going to have to replace Taylor, 33; Clark and Polamalu not far down the road.

“It will be an interesting offseason,” Polamalu said.

http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/3246092-74/steelers-season-lewis#ixzz2HnZM4ELx

cowherpower
01-13-2013, 12:29 AM
I think it's crazy that some think Lewis is special and deserved 5-7 million a year. I honestly don't think there is a single team that would make him their number one. I think he could be a number 2 on possibly 10 teams including us. Only the bad ones mind you. If Lewis had to cover an even slightly above average number one WR he would be about as effective as William Gay was against number 2s. That is an improvement, but no way deserving of number one corner money. I would take half that money and sign Allen long term to be our number 2. Use 1st round pick on CB (assuming stud OLB) isn't there. Brown is not good, even worse than Lewis so that was another wasted secondary pick by Tomlin so it just seems to me that we need to devote an earier pick on secondary help especially with how much of a passing league it has become. If we could sign Lewis to say 4 years 18 million I would bite but he will most likely be using those bogus pass defend numbers against suspect offenses we faced this year to justify a big raise that someone like Cleveland or Miami may pay.

lloydwoodson
01-13-2013, 05:25 AM
he is an average CB on an average unit. He has so many pass defends because the ball is constantly around him. It's not like he is Revis in perfect position to intercept or break up passes. He is usually late the action and manages to break ball away from the multitude of passes thrown his way. Is he worthless? No, but a contract in 2-3 million per is more like it. 7 or more? Seriously? Doubt he could start on more than a handful of NFL teams.

I agree completely. Lewis is a solid corner but he is not worth 7 million per year. 4-5 is more realistic than 2-3 though. Pittsburgh wins the Tennessee game if the ball that hits him in the chest is caught. Keenan Lewis is Cortez Allen without the turnovers. You can't pay your third best corner 7 M/year. The Steelers may draft Jonathon Banks if an OLB they want is not there at 17. He would be a great future replacement for a 34 year old Swaggin Taylor- Banks is a 6'2 former safety who is physical... the ideal Steelers corner.

Steelers fans are so used to McFadden and Gay at the #2 spot a decent corner there looks amazing. :chuckle: Just like people saying Suisham should go to the Probowl because he is money from 45 in.

teegre
01-13-2013, 11:44 AM
I think it's crazy that some think Lewis is special and deserved 5-7 million a year. I honestly don't think there is a single team that would make him their number one. I think he could be a number 2 on possibly 10 teams including us. Only the bad ones mind you. If Lewis had to cover an even slightly above average number one WR he would be about as effective as William Gay was against number 2s. That is an improvement, but no way deserving of number one corner money. I would take half that money and sign Allen long term to be our number 2. Use 1st round pick on CB (assuming stud OLB) isn't there. Brown is not good, even worse than Lewis so that was another wasted secondary pick by Tomlin so it just seems to me that we need to devote an earier pick on secondary help especially with how much of a passing league it has become. If we could sign Lewis to say 4 years 18 million I would bite but he will most likely be using those bogus pass defend numbers against suspect offenses we faced this year to justify a big raise that someone like Cleveland or Miami may pay.

I disagree.

A top/#1 CB gets about $12-15 million per season. A #2 CB gets about $8-10 million per season. Why? CB is the hardest position to play in the NFL (due to the recent rule changes).

I say sign Lewis for $7-8 million... and, offer Allen a contract NOW, in the range of $6-7 million (lock him up BEFORE he becomes a full-time starter).

That would be two starting CBs for $15 million... which is a steal.

Steeler7BR
01-13-2013, 01:43 PM
I disagree.

A top/#1 CB gets about $12-15 million per season. A #2 CB gets about $8-10 million per season. Why? CB is the hardest position to play in the NFL (due to the recent rule changes).

I say sign Lewis for $7-8 million... and, offer Allen a contract NOW, in the range of $6-7 million (lock him up BEFORE he becomes a full-time starter).

That would be two starting CBs for $15 million... which is a steal.

$ 15 mio?!?! You do realize we have cap problems and you wanna give them 8 and 7 mio a year?!?! Are you crazy!!

Lewis played good this year ok I have to give him that. 5-6 Mio you definitly have to give him. But he only produced one year for us you can't give away money like sweets, man.

And Cortez Allen still has 2 years on his rookie contract so calm down a little.

teegre
01-13-2013, 01:59 PM
$ 15 mio?!?! You do realize we have cap problems and you wanna give them 8 and 7 mio a year?!?! Are you crazy!!

Lewis played good this year ok I have to give him that. 5-6 Mio you definitly have to give him. But he only produced one year for us you can't give away money like sweets, man.

And Cortez Allen still has 2 years on his rookie contract so calm down a little.

So... what would be your preference?

Let Lewis walk? Then, let Alken walk? And, keep drafting CBs?

I'm seriously asking.

First, as they do most years, the Steelers will cut the dead weight. Last year, it was Hines, Farrior, & Aaron Smith. This year, I expect a few more (eg The Colon). In Omar Khan I trust.

Plus, there are many other needs that need to be addresses in the draft, specifically OLB & S. So, "having" to use those picks on other positions (CB) would hinder their draft plans.

Lastly, Pittsburgh has been known for drafting & then signing their own players (the good ones). Lewis is a good CB, which warrants $7-8 million per year. Allen, I agree, could play one more year on his current contract... but, if you give a guy a smaller contract earlier, he'll usually accept it (make sense?).