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Old 08-28-2006, 06:52 AM   #1
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Default Ike, Steelers really need each other

Cook: Ike, Steelers really need each other
Monday, August 28, 2006

By Ron Cook, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

All indications are that contract talks between the Steelers and cornerback Ike Taylor have all but broken down, meaning Taylor almost certainly will play out the season and become a free agent.

This is most unfortunate.

Now, more than ever, these are two sides that need to sit down in a locked room and work out a deal before they are allowed to leave.

They need each other.

Taylor, just 26, looks very much like a young player on the rise. He played well in his first season as a starter last year, then better in the playoffs and the Super Bowl. If the exhibition game in Philadelphia Friday night is any indication, he's ready to take another step this season. The two breaks he made on passes by Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb were terrific. So was his sideline tackle on running back Reno Mahe, stopping him a yard short of a first down.

It's true, Taylor dropped both of the McNabb passes and, you're right, that's getting to be a tired, old story. He earned his reputation for having hands of stone by dropping at least 10 would-be interceptions last season. Thank goodness he somehow found a way to hold on to a pass from Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck in Super Bowl XL for a huge fourth-quarter interception.

As much as Taylor's drops irritate you, ask yourself this:

Would you rather have a cornerback who can get in position to break up passes or one that gets beat for a 61-yard touchdown, as Taylor's backup, Ricardo Colclough, did Friday night?

Thought so.

The touchdown Colclough gave up to Eagles wide receiver Greg Lewis -- "That was on him all the way," Steelers coach Bill Cowher said afterward -- is just one reason to think Taylor's value to the team has increased. A bigger reason is the competition in the secondary this summer. It hasn't gone the way anyone predicted.

For a long time after the Super Bowl, it looked as if the Steelers had no chance or plans of re-signing veteran cornerback Deshea Townsend. No one cared much. Bryant McFadden, who played well as a rookie backup last season, seemed ready for the starting job.

But at the last minute, the Steelers swooped in and kept Townsend from signing with the New England Patriots by making an offer he couldn't refuse. It's a good thing. Townsend will start in the regular-season opener against Miami next week, his fractured right thumb willing.

What has happened to McFadden is a mystery. It doesn't speak well for him that he can't beat out Townsend, who will turn 31 the day after the Miami game and is on the downside of his career. It also doesn't say much for him that he appears to be in a battle with Colclough for the third cornerback job, although the guess here is he will win it.

Maybe it's time the Steelers think about making a little better offer to Taylor.

On the other side, it's time for Taylor to come back to reality and drop his asking price significantly.

Speculation has Taylor wanting an eight-figure signing bonus. That's eight figures as in at least $10 million. If that's true and he believes he's going to get it from the Steelers, he's out of his mind. They're not going to overpay to keep Cowher. Do you really think there's any chance they'll overpay to keep a cornerback with just one season of starting experience? It's not as if Taylor has done enough yet to show he belongs in the exclusive cornerback's neighborhood where Denver's Champ Bailey, Jacksonville's Rashean Mathis, Buffalo's Nate Clements and San Diego's Quentin Jammer live.

That doesn't mean Taylor won't get the big money from another team after the season if he has another big year. He'll certainly get it. There's always a team willing to overpay. That's why an Antwaan Randle El can get an $8 million bonus from Washington.

But Taylor will be taking a substantial risk if he rules out a new deal and walks away from a guaranteed signing bonus worth several million to play out the season and go the free-agent route. Remember how Rod Woodson, the Steelers' most recent truly great cornerback, blew out a knee in the '95 opener? What happens if Taylor does it in that first game against Miami? Or in any game this season? What would his value be then?

That's something for Taylor to think about.

Certainly, it should be enough for him to instruct his agent, Scott Smith, to waste one more telephone call on Steelers management before the start of the regular season, the team's cutoff for contract negotiations.

Taylor has talked a good game since training camp began. He repeatedly has said he wants to stay with the Steelers and virtually guaranteed it will happen. Now, the time has come for him to back that up by instructing Smith to come to the bargaining table with realistic numbers.

Taylor and the Steelers owe it to themselves to take one more shot at a new deal.

Each side has too much to lose to do otherwise.


http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06240/716927-87.stm
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Old 08-28-2006, 07:10 AM   #2
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Default Re: Ike, Steelers really need each other

I dont know.....I'm not overly optimistic about this.....
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Old 08-28-2006, 07:23 AM   #3
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Default Re: Ike, Steelers really need each other

Well its a market related thing - Ike will probably have a good idea of his worth at this point, of course a lot rests on the outcome of this season.

I couldn't comment on the exact figures that Ike is looking for and that Pittsburgh are willing to offer, but you have to factor in some of the following.

1. When we talk about Ike, we always refer to upside and potential - he isn't Champ Bailey and should not expect to get paid accordingly.

2. Alot of players, regardles of position, struggle to maintain momentum from their 1st year - teams will have alot of video footage and will gameplan specifically for him.

3. If Ike really is as good as the hype machine would have you believe, then if the Steelers let him go to FA - he will be gone.
The Steelers are not in a position to outbid alot of teams in the NFL for his services.

4. Its a catch-22 situation - if the Steelers play well and Ike performs to his potential then the Steelers will most probably lose him.

If he doesn't, then they have the option of extending the contract of a player with only one good season under his belt.

5. Players willing to take a genuine 'hometown discount' are a real rarity - Ike isn't one of them.

Personally, im convinced that Ike will have an ok/good year and will be signed to an inflated contract by someone like the Redskins.

NM

ps. How in the hell is Quentin Jammer being rated alongside Nate Clements and Champ Bailey?

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Old 08-28-2006, 07:28 AM   #4
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Default Re: Ike, Steelers really need each other

"As much as Taylor's drops irritate you, ask yourself this:

Would you rather have a cornerback who can get in position to break up passes or one that gets beat for a 61-yard touchdown, as Taylor's backup, Ricardo Colclough, did Friday night?

Thought so."


If I'm the Rooney's and I have a CB who supposedly wants eight figures after one good season you damn well better believe I expect him to catch gift wrapped INT's. Maybe that's just me?

"Taylor has talked a good game since training camp began. He repeatedly has said he wants to stay with the Steelers and virtually guaranteed it will happen. Now, the time has come for him to back that up by instructing Smith to come to the bargaining table with realistic numbers."

That pretty much sums it up in my book. I keep hearing and reading Ike's warm and reassuring quotes, but yet I haven't heard much talk out of Ike's camp pertaining to contract talks. Eitherway, he will not, I repeat, will not get eight figures from this organization. IMO, the ball is in Ike's court.
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Old 08-28-2006, 08:06 AM   #5
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Default Re: Ike, Steelers really need each other

As 83 so correctly stated - the ball is in Ike's court now. The Steelers will most definitely not pay him what he has been rumored to be seeking, even with his talent and potential - not with other priorities ahead of him. We can speculate all we want, or wish all we want, but if Ike truly wants to remain a Steeler as he claims, it's all up to him.

Quote:
When we talk about Ike, we always refer to upside and potential - he isn't Champ Bailey and should not expect to get paid accordingly.
No he isn't - not YET. Champ has 2 years on him and looking back at last year's comparison of stats, Ike trumped Champ in all but # of INT's and TDs. (I did take into account that Champ missed 2 games last season).

Champ Bailey
Tackles - 59
Assists - 5
INT - 8
TD - 2
Sacks - 0
Passes defended - 15

Ike Taylor
Tackles - 75
Assists - 16
Int - 1
TD - 0
Sacks - 0
Passes defended - 23

While I agree that he shouldn't be paid a king's ransom, he defintely deserves some type of an increase, though again, not what he is rumored to be looking for after only 1 season. Was last year a fluke season? We don't know the answer to that just yet, but from what I've seen of him in the preseason, I don't think so. I do believe the Steelers are taking the "wait and see" attitude which is a sound business decision, imo.
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Old 08-28-2006, 08:15 AM   #6
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Default Re: Ike, Steelers really need each other

nice stats HTG......

maybe Ike should sign a 2 year deal at decent money...and if he becomes the "shut down" corner that he could be...his big payday will come in 2008....
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Old 08-28-2006, 08:24 AM   #7
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Default Re: Ike, Steelers really need each other

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackNGold203 View Post
nice stats HTG......

maybe Ike should sign a 2 year deal at decent money...and if he becomes the "shut down" corner that he could be...his big payday will come in 2008....
I know stats overall don't mean diddly doo, but in comparing the two, Ike trumped one of the best in the league. Just a reference.

That may be an option, 203 and hopefully Ike will back up his words with his actions, but with today's NFL and the probability that he more than likely can get his 8 figures with another team, I'm not holding my breath here.
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Old 08-28-2006, 08:44 AM   #8
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Default Re: Ike, Steelers really need each other

Quote:
Originally Posted by HometownGal View Post
As 83 so correctly stated - the ball is in Ike's court now. The Steelers will most definitely not pay him what he has been rumored to be seeking, even with his talent and potential - not with other priorities ahead of him. We can speculate all we want, or wish all we want, but if Ike truly wants to remain a Steeler as he claims, it's all up to him.



No he isn't - not YET. Champ has 2 years on him and looking back at last year's comparison of stats, Ike trumped Champ in all but # of INT's and TDs. (I did take into account that Champ missed 2 games last season).

Champ Bailey
Tackles - 59
Assists - 5
INT - 8
TD - 2
Sacks - 0
Passes defended - 15

Ike Taylor
Tackles - 75
Assists - 16
Int - 1
TD - 0
Sacks - 0
Passes defended - 23

While I agree that he shouldn't be paid a king's ransom, he defintely deserves some type of an increase, though again, not what he is rumored to be looking for after only 1 season. Was last year a fluke season? We don't know the answer to that just yet, but from what I've seen of him in the preseason, I don't think so. I do believe the Steelers are taking the "wait and see" attitude which is a sound business decision, imo.
HTG,

Nice stats, although I would qualify those by saying that true shutdown corners dont tend to get thrown at as much, which is why Ike has more passes defensed.

If Ike doesnt sign some type of extension before he becomes a free agent, I think there is very little that the Steelers will be able to do to keep him.

Going off topic a little, the good news is that you have Troy P. who, like Tom Brady, can see the bigger picture - that feeling part of a proper team and challenging for honors week in week out is more important than an extra few dollars to soothe your ego!

NM
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Old 08-28-2006, 08:55 AM   #9
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Default Re: Ike, Steelers really need each other

Quote:
Originally Posted by Livinginthe past View Post
HTG,

Nice stats, although I would qualify those by saying that true shutdown corners dont tend to get thrown at as much, which is why Ike has more passes defensed.

If Ike doesnt sign some type of extension before he becomes a free agent, I think there is very little that the Steelers will be able to do to keep him.

Going off topic a little, the good news is that you have Troy P. who, like Tom Brady, can see the bigger picture - that feeling part of a proper team and challenging for honors week in week out is more important than an extra few dollars to soothe your ego!

NM
Agreed, LITP, but I just wanted to put those out there, as you mentioned Champ.

I also agree with the rest of your assessment - good post.

The ball is in Ike's court now - let's see what he does with it. Keeping fingers crossed.
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Old 08-28-2006, 02:53 PM   #10
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Default Re: Ike, Steelers really need each other

yeah the stats are misleading.. considering teams are not afraid to throw at IKE... and i do recall IKE getting burned and looking just like ColClough did last year. Champ doesnt get the ball thrown at him nearly as much and still had 8 INTs which is what Taylor should have easily of had considering the amount of time i stood up from my nice comfy lazy boy chair last year yelling and screaming at the t.v cause he dropped another one.

I think Ike is going to be gone unless he seriously comes down to a mediocre price. Considering our needs in upcoming drafts ( which arent alot) , we wil be taking a few corners or get one via free agency. McFadden and Townsend will definately be here next year and Colclough isnt going anywhere and will have another year under his belt to improve as well.

I am not even sure it will be a matter of if the Steelers want him, i just dont think they will be able to sign him for what he is wanting. IMO since we do have Townsend and McFadden capable of starting, Colclough, a DB through FA and a few draft picks at CB next year, i think he will be gone with his salary demands. The Steelers arent going to be going through a transition, but i think that with Ben, Troy, Porter, Haggins, Willie, all coming up... that a few high paid guys who are going to want some big contracts are going to be gone.. ( Porter, Taylor) ... and they will be replaced but is just one of those things where you cant overpay everyone and have to have your key guys cemented and have role players around them that we do so well.
I just have a very hard time considering taylor one of those guys.

Someone mentioned that he should do a 2-3 year contract for alot less money and then he go for the big contract elsewhere. I totally agree with that and i think that if anything, that is what the Steelers want as well. Gives them time to groom somoene else.
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