Yesterday, the Pittsburgh Steelers played host to their second free agent visitor of the offseason, former New Orleans Saints cornerback Patrick Robinson. The first free agent, running back DeAngelo Williams, was unable to escape the South Side without signing a contract, but Robinson has reportedly left the area without putting pen to paper.
Which should not be surprising, of course. Even if he has never quite lived up to his original billing as a former first-round draft pick, Robinson does have the pedigree to demand a salary higher than would be reasonable in a reasonable market. But I think we’ve all seen by now that this free agency period is not reflective of a reasonable market, especially when it’s come to cornerbacks.
As seen in the case of Brice McCain, the Steelers are interested in pursuing the position in free agency, but they are not interested in overpaying. McCain was reportedly offered a contract by the Steelers, but ended with Miami instead, presumably with more money on the table.
Just because Robinson left the building without a contract does not mean that the negotiations are over, of course. Lance Moore was brought in for a visit and only signed a short while later, for example, although that situation involved Jerricho Cotchery switching teams as well.
In Robinson’s case, he has other visits scheduled, and it would clearly not be in his best interest to jump at the first contract thrown in his face in his first opportunity to cash in. it would be foolish not to get a better feel for his own market, and perhaps once he does, the Steelers will come calling again.
Admittedly, however, it has not been a good sign historically for the Steelers to have a free agent in and not sign him. Generally, that means that he will not be returning. That was the case last offseason as they were attempting to woo free agent defensive end Alex Carrington, who left without signing a contract and never returned.
Still, it was wise for the Steelers to do their due diligence with Robinson. He could be an interesting reclamation project if he were to be had for the right price, but the right price is currently skewed in favor of the players in this age of the inflated salary cap, in comparison to two seasons ago.
Now, the front office continues to set their eyes forward as they get set to host yet another free agent cornerback, this time Sterling Moore, who was a restricted free agency of Dallas until they declined to tender him, making him an unrestricted free agent.
Pittsburgh is Moore’s first scheduled visit, to the best of my knowledge. Including the playoffs, he played in excess of 800 snaps a year ago, and graded positively in pass coverage. He was penalized four times, and had some issues with missed tackles, which was on display in the Cowboy’s playoff loss to Green Bay, but the 5’10” cornerback could be a good signing at the right price.