Looking At The Soft Cornerback Market

He we are roughly 42 hours now into the 2013 league year and Pittsburgh Steelers unrestricted free agent cornerback Keenan Lewis remains unsigned. Lewis is, however, making a visit to the New Orleans Saints on Thursday, but no news has come out of that at the time I am writing this.

It appears that the surplus of above average cornerbacks on the market now has created a soft market as teams just don\’t seem to be willing to pay $7 million a year plus for cornerbacks that are deemed elite.

There have been a few free agent cornerbacks that have signed, however, so let\’s take a look at those deals.

The Detroit Lions signed Chris Houston to a five-year, $25 million contract that included a signing bonus of $6.5 million and base salaries of $1 million, $3.5 million, $4.5 million, $4.5 million and $5 million. If indeed those numbers are correct, the 2013 cap hit for Houston will be $2.3 million and the average yearly value is $5 million.

Leodis McKelvin re-signed with Buffalo Bills and reportedly received a four-year, $17 million contract. The deal contained a $4 million signing bonus and annual $50,000 workout bonuses throughout the contract\’s life. His base salaries are reportedly $2 million, $2.1 million, $3.1 million and $3.1 million. He also is due a $1 million roster bonus in 2014 and a $750,000 roster bonus in both 2015 and 2016. If those numbers hold true, his 2013 cap hit would be $3.15 million because of the structure. His average yearly value, however, is only $4.25 million.

Structure and signing bonus is everything.

Greg Toler signed a three-year, $14.25 million contract with the Indianapolis Colts that included $5 million guaranteed, including a $1 million signing bonus. There is another $750,000 is available to him through incentives. I don\’t have the base salary breakdown, but the average yearly value is $4.75 million.

The San Diego Chargers signed Derek Cox to a four-year, $20 million contract that includes $10.25 million guaranteed and a $5.2 million signing bonus. Once again, we don\’t have the base salaries yet, but average yearly value is $5 million.

Finally, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie signed a on a one-year, $5 million deal with the Denver Broncos on Wednesday.

I will let you decide where Lewis slots within these five cornerbacks. If you think he is worth more, then there is no way he is coming back to Pittsburgh. Should his visit in New Orleans end without him signing, the places that he could possibly land are slowly decreasing. We will likely see a few more cornerbacks sign somewhere on Thursday. Will Lewis be one of them?

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