That leaves Ben Roethlisberger, Jason Worilds, and Cortez Allen as guys that could potentially sign new deals before the 2014 season starts.
We’ve talked plenty about Ben, but I don’t expect anything to change with him until this time next year.
When Jason Worilds signed his transition tender, I expected a long term deal to get done within a week or two.
I’ve been a big proponent of signing Worilds to a long term deal.
I’ve changed my mind though. I now think that the man who many may be surprised is also in a contract year, Cortez Allen, should be priority #1.
I say many may be surprised, because there’s been really very little talk about Allen receiving a new deal despite the severe lack of depth at the cornerback position.
While OLB depth is also dangerously thin, Jason Worilds is sidelined AGAIN in OTA’s. I’m finally starting to come around and agree with co-writer SteelDad on Worilds.
What worries me about Allen is his career arc looks a lot like Keenan Lewis’ did in Pittsburgh.
If Allen were to continue that trend, he’d start in 2014 and have a great season… Only to then sign a lucrative contract with another team.
Cortez Allen caught everyone’s eye in his rookie season when he came as close as anyone can to shutting down Rob Gronkowski in a rare Steelers win against the Patriots.
Allen was expected to start in 2013. However, after surgery last summer he missed much of training camp, and the first couple of Steelers regular season games. When he returned he looked off.
Veteran William Gay would eventually push Allen out of the #2 spot and back into the slot.
Cortez Allen’s career seems to have hit a plateau at this point, but I think that if he stays healthy throughout this preseason we can expect him to at least hold down the 2nd spot across from Ike Taylor.
If Allen were to go unsigned the Steelers would be heading into 2015 with a 35 year old Taylor and a 30 year old Gay as their top cornerback options.
I think that the Steelers should sign Allen now, assuming Ike will probably come off the books after 2014.
It’s a risk signing Allen now before really breaking out. What contract isn’t a risk though?
Signing him now to a modest deal would potentially lock down a starting corner for cheap, where you might have to pay him much much more next off-season, and risk losing him.
There’s the chance you extend Allen and he never makes that next step, but he’s shown me enough already to reasonably assume that he’ll be just fine in the black and yellow for a long time.