Blog Entry

Ike Taylor to the Cardinals would be a long shot

Posted on: June 28, 2011 7:28 pm
Edited on: June 28, 2011 7:38 pm
Posted by Ryan Wilson

Here's a headline that should surprise absolutely no one: "Arizona Cardinals could be interested in Ike Taylor."

A lot has to happen for the Cardinals to land the soon-to-be free agent cornerback who spent the first eight years of his career with the Steelers, but since Ken Whisenhunt became coach in 2007, the Pittsburgh-to-Arizona player pipeline has flowed freely.

Before getting the head coaching gig with the Cards, Whisenhunt was the Steelers offensive coordinator. In the four years since he arrived in Arizona, the Cardinals have signed Joey Porter, Sean Morey, Alan Faneca, Jerame Tuman, Bryant McFadden, Brian St. Pierre, and Dan Kreider -- all former Steelers. And there's Whisenhunt's staff: Russ Grimm (an assistant under Bill Cowher) is the Cardinals assistant head coach, Ray Horton (an assistant under Mike Tomlin) is the new defensive coordinator, and Deshea Townsend (a Steelers cornerback from 1998-2009) is the new defensive backs coach. (We won't even mention the Steelers-Cards ball boy connection.)

Ike Taylor's immediate future is contingent on many things, chief among them: the owners and players settling on a new collective bargaining agreement. Beyond that, it will come down to demand and, of course, money. At various stages of the offseason Taylor has hinted that he wanted to stay in Pittsburgh but that he wasn't interested in giving any hometown discounts to do so.

We suppose there's a chance Taylor lands in Arizona (affectionately known as Pittsburgh West), but a lot will have to happen before it gets to that point. Sports 620 KTAR radio's Ron Wolfley (who also calls Cardinals' games, and whose brother, Craig, is a sideline reporter for the Steelers radio network) breaks out the hypotheticals:

"Let's say they deal [Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie] and bring in Kevin Kolb as their quarterback," Wolfley said, according to "Does Ike Taylor make sense at the corner opposite of Patrick Peterson? I can tell you it makes perfect sense for so many different reasons. Number one, we're talking about a grizzled veteran. A guy who is a true players pro. He's a professional. A guy that would mentor a young Patrick Peterson. A guy that has been in the league nine years and he's been durable as well. He's missed three games in nine years.

"This is a guy who would be a perfect fit because he already knows Ray Horton's defense. He'd have to be brought up to speed on the terminology but playing corner is not exactly the same as playing quarterback in the National Football League if you get my drift. Ike Taylor could do it. You could bring him in. He'd be the perfect guy in this system."

But Taylor wouldn't come cheap (not to mention DRC for Kolb isn't likely). He'll be one of the most sought-after cornerbacks in free agency after Nnamdi Asomugha. And then there's this: recent history suggests that 31-year-old cornerbacks, even those coming off solid seasons, usually see their productivity drop off a cliff in subsequent seasons.

That's not a guarantee that a similar fate awaits Taylor. (Champ Bailey and Charles Woodson have defied the odds. Of course, Taylor was at no point in his career as good as either Bailey or Woodson, so that's worth keeping in mind, too.) But it's a lot of money to spend on a cornerback with his best days likely behind him. Even if he's expected to mentor rookie Patrick Peterson.

By the way, by most accounts, Peterson is a high-character guy who doesn't seem to need much in the way of mentoring. (And if he does, Townsend would be perfectly suited for that role.) Using that logic, Taylor would make perfect sense in Baltimore. But we're pretty sure that ain't happening.

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 27, 2011 10:32 am
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Since: Nov 28, 2011
Posted on: November 30, 2011 9:57 am
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Since: Oct 7, 2011
Posted on: October 19, 2011 7:56 am

Ike Taylor to the Cardinals would be a long shot

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Since: Aug 31, 2006
Posted on: July 14, 2011 2:55 am

Ike Taylor to the Cardinals would be a long shot

I wanted to add that the Steelers usually let alot of defensive players at or over 30 and ready for large payday and long contract walk.  Think of all the 30 or near 30 LBs they have let walk and it almost ALWAYS pays off.  Joey Porter, Greg Lloyd, Kendrell Bell, Clark Haggans, Levon Kirkland, Alan Faneca (only one good season after they let him go...big money saved) and many other players at various positions that I can't even recall.

Since: Aug 31, 2006
Posted on: July 14, 2011 2:52 am

Ike Taylor to the Cardinals would be a long shot

I think Ike is very good.  Had he made at least a few of the many near interceptions he helped setup, he would be great.

I don't think, however, that a CB his age is worth $8 mill plus a year for 5 years.  By the end of the deal, he'll be quite mediocre, a nickel back, or not playing at all.  I know contracts aren't guaranteed, but he'll want it front-loaded with big bonus and that will remain on the cap for the five years.  

Personally, the Steelers should treat this like they treat nearly all 30+ year old stars.  Carefully.  If he signs a workable deal that won't leave them cap-strung for the last 3 years of his deal, then yeah, go ahead.   We signed an old Farrior and thats worked out.  We signed an old Hampton and that is still unknown (two more years left).  Also signed Harrison who was 29 I think then, so geting old in football terms. 

Any contract that has a speed needy player playing past 32 or 33 years old better be weighted in preparation for their release and a workable cap hit (like in year 3, 4 or 5 for Taylor).  That speed goes FAST after 30.  A Hampton or Aaron Smith or other bigger, slower guys can get by longer than a 30 year old RB or CB or S.

The fact the Steelers have no other average CBs really hurts them, they need to sign someone if they don't sign Taylor, thats for darn sure.  If they had an average #2 corner, I would pass on Taylor.  I would be happy with a cheaper FA CB though, that maybe cost 4 or 5 mill a year.  Provided the scouts see him as above average (doesn't have to be shutdown), good in zone coverage the Steelers like to employ alot and very good in run support.  That is alot to ask, and Taylor does all of those, but 8 million a year is alot of cap space for an aging CB.

Since: Feb 7, 2011
Posted on: June 29, 2011 3:57 am

Ike Taylor to the Cardinals would be a long shot

Ike Taylor is easily a top corner in the league you dont need 5 ints each year to prove it he does his job and does it to a T. The only way i wouldn' mind seeing IKe leave PIttsburgh is if the Steelers picked up Nnamdi from Oakland but thats unlikley they usually won't pick up top end free agents. But to say Ike gets burned who else shut down Larry Fitzgerald the year the steelers beat the cards no one just Ike.

Since: Mar 9, 2011
Posted on: June 29, 2011 3:40 am

Ike Taylor to the Cardinals would be a long shot

Personally it would be uncomfortable for me to see Ike Taylor play for another team, It would be good to see him play for Whisenhunt though, and obviously he has his eyes primarily set on getting former Steelers players. But i do like to see him get paid. And even if he leaves the team that drafte him. It will most likely be heard is that the secondary will have to step it up without him and challenge themselves that they can be as good or even better afterwards.

Since: Oct 8, 2007
Posted on: June 28, 2011 10:58 pm

Ike Taylor to the Cardinals would be a long shot

I agree I watch every steelers game and if Ike Taylor had average hands he would be considered a top 5 CB in the league and be a perennial pro bowler. He hardly ever gets beat one on one. I would be sad and scared(for our defense) to see him leave Pittsburgh.

Since: Jul 27, 2008
Posted on: June 28, 2011 10:18 pm

Ike Taylor to the Cardinals would be a long shot

It baffles me how Ike is starting in the NFL. It especially baffles me that he starts for an organization known for great defense. He considers himself a premier defender but he gets "burned" week after week.
It baffles me how many people talk trash about Ike Taylor. He has AWFUL hands, for sure, but other than that, is a solid cover corner. Probably one of the most underrated CBs in the league. He may not be considered "premier", mostly because he's not flashy, but he is a good CB that would start on just about any team in the league. He has been the #1 cornerback for one of the top 3 defenses the past five years, but yeah, he's a bum, right? Please.

Since: Jul 27, 2008
Posted on: June 28, 2011 10:14 pm

Ike Taylor to the Cardinals would be a long shot

Re-signing Ike has to be the top priority for the Steelers when the lockout is over. That secondary will be in shambles if he leaves.

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