From big-money contract to Friday news dump, Cortez Allen’s career in Pittsburgh has officially come full circle. Whether you were surprised by the move, disappointed, or happy to see him gone, we all need to agree on one thing. His release does nothing to change the outlook on the position.
Even for people like me who were open to the idea of bringing him to training camp, Allen had dissolved into nothing more than a dart throw. A hope that somehow, his knee could make it through camp, showing just enough to let him slip onto the roster. For all the problems he had, it was health that seems to be the catalyst to his release.
There was no anticipation of him cracking the starting lineup in 2016 or that his knee could make it through 15 practices in the Latrobe heat. Whatever he was able to do was a bonus. Having him gone now was a formality, an inevitability, and the post-Allen plans were probably discussed months ago.
Heck, it was Mike Tomlin who said “we’ll see,” when responding to Allen’s future with the team at his season-ending press conference. For a coach who often serves up a ringing endorsement, or at least some optimism, “we’ll see” translates roughly to “see you later.”
William Gay, Ross Cockrell, Senquez Golson, and a top-three draft pick has and continues to be the likely plan. Sprinkle in Doran Grant and whatever other waiver wire pickup or late round draft selection the team adds to round out the group. Though I’m sure it seems obvious to many, the need for a cornerback has not heightened because a player who was going to be released was released a little sooner than we thought.
This transaction doesn’t make cornerback a slam dunk idea in the first. That’s still very much on the table but the Allen influence is non-existent.
Still, knowing that doesn’t make the sting of the contract Allen was given – four years, $24 million – any easier of a pill to swallow, but there is zero indirect impact here. It was a failed attempt by Pittsburgh to find their next Ike Taylor. The hope is Golson and Cockrell can be similar studs while adding another high-profile name to the list two weeks from now.