How badly do the Pittsburgh Steelers really want to add a significant player to their cornerback position during free agency? I ask because the opportunity to do so would seem to be wearing thin as the quality cornerbacks—or relatively so—left on the market are quickly beginning to be signed.
The Steelers reportedly were interested in Dre Kirkpatrick, Logan Ryan, and Marcus Cooper before they all signed deals elsewhere. They brought in Davon House for a visit, and he ended up signing with another team while he was on said visit. Any of those would be obviously significant additions and all of them failed to coalesce.
Two more significant dominoes fell yesterday when the Ravens signed Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne agreed to a deal with the Jets. The Cowboys’ two starting outside cornerbacks will now by playing in the AFC, with the former facing the Steelers twice a year.
So who is left that can even viably compete for a position among the Steelers’ top three cornerbacks in order to actually get playing time? The list is shrinking and quite frankly becoming less and less attractive. Before too long the team may only be relegated to being able to add a depth player rather than a contributor.
The most likely candidates remaining, in my mind, would be names that we have already seen mentioned here previously. Nickel Robey-Coleman may well make the most sense in terms of what sort of player the team would actually be interested in, how he would be expected to perform, his health, and his price tag.
Brandon Flowers may hit on a few of those criterion, but he fails woefully when it comes to health when you consider his concussion history. Not that that would preclude the Steelers from exploring him as an option. Some slot options could include Leon Hall or Jerraud Powers.
Patrick Robinson is a cornerback that the team has previously been interested in, bringing him in for a free agent visit a couple of years ago, and he is available again, as is Sterling Moore, who was brought in for a visit around the same time. Alterraun Verner was previously linked to Pittsburgh as well, though he was never brought in for a visit before signing a big-money deal a couple of years ago.
The pickings become increasingly slim as we turn to Shareece Wright, a journeyman contributor recently released by the Ravens, who turned around and signed Carr. Wright lost his starting spot last season to a rookie and frankly did not play all too well. And we naturally will round our search off with Darrelle Revis, who will be compensated $6 million even if he doesn’t play this year, as I discussed yesterday.
Not a name on this list comes free from significant warts in one way or another, and it’s not clear to me that any of them would be an actual upgrade to the three starting cornerbacks that the Steelers currently have. Which leads me to believe that cornerback will be in play very high in the draft once again.