Nice knowing ya, ‘Tez.
In a move that is both surprising yet totally expected, the Pittsburgh Steelers released cornerback Cortez Allen. Just two years ago the Steelers signed him to a five year $26 million contract extension but after playing exactly one game in 2015, they’ve seen enough. While the move wipes out $13 million in future obligations, bonus money means he’ll continue counting against the cap for years to come. This is the second disastrous extension in recent history with LaMarr Woodley finally coming off the books after accounting for $8.5 million in dead cap space last season.
I’d like to criticize the Steelers for signing Allen but truthfully I applauded the move at the time. He showed a ton of potential back in 2012/13 and I thought he could eventually anchor the secondary for years to come. In hindsight, the Steelers probably panicked after losing Keenan Lewis and didn’t want another young corner to slip away. Whether it was injuries, laziness after getting the fat contract or maybe he just was never really that good, Allen started falling apart pretty much as soon as the ink dried.
The only reason I used the word “surprising” is this leaves the Steelers secondary embarrassingly thin. With Allen gone and the free agent losses of Antwon Blake and Brandon Boykin, we’re left with only William Gay and Ross Cockrell. The Steelers have a couple draft picks from last year in Senquez Golson and Doran Grant but I dunno how much you can count on guys who’ve never taken an NFL snap. The secondary was the weak link last season and, incredibly, it appears to have gotten worse.
There’s always the possibility of bringing in a veteran corner, either through trade (ala Boykin) or by picking through roster cuts at the end of preseason. Then we have the draft. There are several highly rated corners although it doesn’t seem likely any will still be on the board when the Steelers pick 25th. I know they’re loathe to do so but this might be the year for Kevin Colbert to do something crazy, bundle up a few picks, perhaps including next year’s 1st, and move up to grab a corner. Truthfully, this team doesn’t need a whole lot outside of the secondary.
If you’re gonna gamble, might as well go all in.