As free agency looms near, kicking off Wednesday afternoon, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ activity has predictably kicked up. We’ve already seen them sign Robert Golden and Darrius Heyward-Bey to three year contracts.
Now the team is looking to close in on a deal with corner William Gay, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. Fowler notes, however, there is no guarantee a deal will get done before the 9th.
Steelers and cornerback William Gay have mutual interest to reach contract extension, per source. Let's see if… https://t.co/rFWcGeWpce
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) March 7, 2016
While Golden and DHB were signed to team-friendly deals, it’ll be much more difficult for Gay to come in on the cheap. This year’s cornerback market is as expensive as it’s ever been. Even the Baltimore Ravens’ Shareece Wright signed a three year deal worth up to $16 million with a $4 million signing bonus, according to Ian Rapoport.
#Ravens CB Shareece Wright signs a 3-year deal worth up to $16M with a $4M signing bonus and $5M guaranteed, a source said.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 7, 2016
While Wright played well the last half of the season for the Ravens, he doesn’t have Gay’s track record, and still cashes out with a value of over $5 million per season. It’s difficult to imagine a scenario where Gay receives less than that. But he’s likely the next player on the team’s list to get locked up, the #1 corner last season, and without him, changes the landscape of the Steelers’ secondary.
Personally, and this is coming from someone who thought Golden would get paid well (oops), I’d expect Gay to re-sign right before the start of free agency. William Gay is best in Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh is best when they have William Gay. That should be enough of a motivation to get a deal done for each side.