There’s no doubt that the Pittsburgh Steelers will make some changes on the defensive side of the ball this offseason. That being said, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert has some difficult decisions to make.
One of those could involve veteran cornerback Ike Taylor.
Taylor has been outstanding for the Steelers in years past and has always had a good relationship with the Rooney family.
But Taylor will turn 34 years old this offseason, and his play clearly declined in 2013. More importantly, he is scheduled to count $11,942,401 against the 2014 salary cap.
It used to be a given that the Steelers could lock Taylor on the opposition’s top wide receivers and expect great results. That’s not necessarily the case any longer as guys like Josh Gordon, Calvin Johnson and others torched him at times this season.
But to his credit, after every bad performance, Taylor responded in a positive way.
While the smart thing to do financially would be to release Taylor, I don’t know if that is a possibility for the Steelers.
They have always been very good about not holding onto veterans one year too long, as it has always been better than one year too late.
However, in Taylor’s case, there would be a gaping hole at the cornerback position if he weren’t around.
The negative side of all of that is that 34-year-old corners often start to lose a step and get beaten a lot more often.
We are seeing that already with Taylor and it makes you wonder if 2014 could be much worse.
The smart thing to do would try and see if Taylor would take a pay cut, which is probably unlikely. Taylor is clearly not an $11 million player any longer and having that number on the books hurts the Steelers.
At the end of the day though, I expect Taylor to be back next season.
His situation is much different than departing veterans of seasons past – without Taylor, the cupboard is truly bare.