The top priority of the Pittsburgh Steelers during the early days of free agency was to lock up cornerback Keenan Lewis to a long-term deal.
That didn’t happen.
Lewis became the fourth Steelers’ unrestricted free agent to find work elsewhere when he reportedly agreed to a five-year deal with the New Orleans Saints, according to several sources including ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Reports have the deal worth $26 million over the five years with $11 million guaranteed.
— 93.7 The Fan (@937theFan) March 14, 2013
Lewis had a breakout season in 2012, emerging as one of the better young corners in the game, but while he was the Steelers top priority this offseason, realistically they didn’t have much of a chance to re-sign him.
The 6-foot, 200-pound Lewis tallied a league-best 23 pass defenses in his first year as a starter a season ago. Lewis, who has 4.4-second speed in the 40, also had 71 total tackles and forced one fumble but did not record an interception.
Lewis is a four-year pro out of Oregon State and is returning home as he is a native of New Orleans.
It’s a big grab for the Saints who were looking to sure up their pass defense. But while Saints fans can be happy, it’s a tough break for Steelers fans as their secondary just got considerably weaker.
With Lewis gone, the likes of William Gay and Cortez Allen will compete for the starting nod opposite Ike Taylor.
Check back often to City of Champions Sports as we will have continual updates of all of the wheelings and dealings of Steelers free agency.