Great News: Ike Wants to Stay

A few nuggets worth pointing out from this KDKA interview with Ike Taylor, the man that holds the key to the Steelers’ 2011 Super Bowl hopes and dreams.

“For sure I would love to retire as a Steeler,” Taylor told KDKA’s Jory Rand. “I ain’t just saying this to be saying this. Like I would love to retire (as a Steeler), but we’ll see how they feel about me. They know how I feel about the city of Pittsburgh. They know how I feel about the organization. We’ll see how they feel about me.”

Hey, I believe you, Ike. You made similar comments last fall and, frankly, I just can’t take somebody calling themselves David-Te’ very seriously.

Now it’s just a matter of the players and owners resolving this little issue of the CBA, and the Steelers can get on with free agency. (Along with 31 other teams, some in dire need of a quality cornerback … which also describes Pittsburgh.) I suspect Taylor’s the top priority although these things always come down to money. It’s a myth to say the Steelers are cheap; they’re not. They’ll loosen the velcro on the wallet, but they’re not the guy at the strip club who falls in love every weekend and every Monday morning heads to work once again broke — and broken hearted. (It’s a sad tale, especially if you have witnessed it first hand. Okay, it’s funny, too, but mostly sad.)

I don’t know what it will take to keep Taylor but something to keep in mind: he’s 31 and he could be willing to give the Steelers a hometown discount (this is complete conjecture, but given that Ike’s publicly — and repeatedly — said he wants to stay in Pittsburgh and that he loves Mr. Rooney, it’s a leap of faith I’m willing to make). What constitutes “hometown discount” is an entirely different matter.

“You can go down the line but at the same time I just want my market value. Whatever my market value is, I would like that,” Taylor told KDKA.

“I’m not trying to be greedy, but I feel like I’ve put in a good amount of work over the course of the past few years. Like I follow the receiver. Revis follows the best receiver every week. Stop. Revis and Cromartie follow 1 and 2 receivers. You got a lot of guys that don’t follow the best receivers. It’s cool to stay on one side, but a lot of guys don’t want that heat every down, every snap or I could get beat.”

All fair points. Which leads to this: how much is Ike worth for 3-5 more years of solid play? Because Kevin Colbert doesn’t put the roster together in a vacuum. For as much as we like to arm-wave about the impending doom that would accompany not re-signing this guy or that one, it has yet to happen when the Steelers opted to let a player sell his wares elsewhere. Rod Woodson, Joey Porter, Alan Faneca, and to lesser degrees, Chris Hope and Antwaan Randle El are all examples. Plus, there are other names to reinvest in. Like, say, Willie Colon (who will under no circumstances play guard).

Another comment from Ike that caught my attention:

“Well, really Mr. Colbert drafted me. So Mr. Colbert knows what time it is. He’s got a lot of power over there. I don’t know if he wants me to say that but I did. Mr. Colbert almost runs the show. They put a lot of trust into his decision making and what he thinks. Just by the draft, some of the picks they’ve been having over the years, Mr. Colbert’s been the GM, successful.”

This runs counter to the pre-draft report from NFL.com’s Jason La Canfora, who said that Tomlin handed down the edict for the front office to do whatever it takes to trade up and get Mike Pouncey should he fall into range (wherever that was). Obviously, it didn’t happen, presumably because the Dolphins took Pouncey 15th overall. But it also may have had something to do with Taylor’s comments — that Colbert wields a lot of power and just because Tomlin may like a player doesn’t mean Colbert’s job is to make it happen, no questions asked.

Whoever’s in charge, I’m guessing they understand what Ike means to the secondary. Losing him would make the Steelers worse, for sure, but I’m not willing to say that the 2011 season would be over before it started. Pittsburgh went 9-7 without Troy for most of 2009 and went 6-10 without Troy or Ike seeing much of the field in 2003.

Ike or not, the 2011 Steelers will be competitive. I’d just prefer not to have to live through it with William Gay and B-Mac as the starters. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

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  • http://www.google.com/profiles/100857546184516732260 Dr Obvious


    This runs counter to the pre-draft report from NFL.com’s Jason La Canfora”
    You could put this on your masthead and rarely be wrong…

    Anyway, I have a hard time seeing the Steelers letting Ike go. I could see them letting him test the market, like they did with Ryan Clark. I doubt if either side really knows what Taylors market value is, because of the changes to the market, but I don’t see them failing to pay him market value.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_UR6KXGPFIFYZSVJNCXCJNHDQJQ Bob Costas

      I suspect you’re right about letting Taylor test the market. Based on what Ike has said he’d likely come back to the Steelers with whatever his best offer was and then the Steelers could decide if they want to make a similar offer.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FCTLJGMUSHGHK7NLZ3VRTGGNP4 Matthew

    By the way, it wasn’t “Eddie B” who wrote that about Colon; that was a user-submitted response to Bouchette’s open query about who the Steelers should re-sign in the offseason, not his own words.

    • http://www.steelerslounge.com/ ryan

      Ah, thanks, Matthew. I was thrown off by the drastic font size changes. Either way, it makes me feel a lot better because there were a lot of mistakes in the section I quoted above.

    • http://www.steelerslounge.com/ ryan

      Ah, thanks, Matthew. I was thrown off by the drastic font size changes. Either way, it makes me feel a lot better because there were a lot of mistakes in the section I quoted above.

  • EasyLikeSundayMorning

    What is fair market value for Ike? If Champ Bailey is any guide, it is a lot. Bailey signed for 4 yrs at $43mm with $22mm guaranteed. That’s substantially more than Troy’s last contract of 5 yrs at $30mm with about $15mm guaranteed.

    • Anonymous

      Ike doesn’t have the same value as Bailey, does he? He may cover as well, but the stone hands have to bring him down.

      • EasyLikeSundayMorning

        Bailey is 2 years older. For a position where speed matters like CB, this is a lot.

      • EasyLikeSundayMorning

        Bailey is 2 years older. For a position where speed matters like CB, this is a lot.

  • http://profiles.google.com/mpfrazer Mike Frazer

    I refuse to reveal my source because this person is a personal friend, but someone who is *extremely* close to Ike (as close as a person can get without BEING Ike) has said that there had been productive conversations between Ike and the team prior to the lockout. That’s as much as I can get at this point but I will update if I hear any more.

    • http://www.steelerslounge.com/ ryan

      Well, that’s the best news I’ve heard all day.

  • Steeler Stan

    Unfortunately you see stuff like this anytime a big time free agent might leave. I’m sure Ike means it but that doesn’t mean that he won’t or shouldn’t take more money to go elsewhere. I can’t say what a reasonable price for a still-good but aging cornerback is worth given the uncertainty over whether there will be a salary cap and what it will be.