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Friday, February 24, 2006

What to do with Ike

The Steelers have an interesting decision coming up about what to do with starting cornerback Ike Taylor.

A restricted free agent, Taylor remains in the team's long-term plans. But the Steelers also have to tender him a contract offer this week or lose the right to match any contract he might get on the open market.

The Steelers could go one of four ways with Taylor.

It could offer him a low tender of $685,000, which would only allow them to match any offer Taylor would get. If they chose not to match the offer, Taylor would leave and the Steelers would receive nothing in return.

The Steelers could also maintains the Right of First Refusal and Draft Selection at the Player’s Original Draft Round, meaning it would agree to pay him roughly $1 million this season and retain the right to match any contract offer he received. If they chose not to match, they would receive a draft pick equal to the one they used to originally acquire Taylor, in his case a fourth round pick.

The third option for the Steelers would be to offer the an estimated $1.5 million one-year tender, which would give them the first right of refusal and a first round draft pick if he signs elsewhere and they decline to match the deal.

And finally, the Steelers could go with the highest tender, which would give Taylor a one-year salary of $2 million and give the Steelers the right of first refusal for first and third round draft picks.

It sounds complicated, but it's really not.

Given his value to the team and his upside, the Steelers will likely tender Taylor the $1.5 million offer and have the right to match any offer he might receive. If they choose not to match the offer, they would receive the first round pick of whatever team signs Taylor.

It's a price that should keep teams from trying to lure the talented young corner away from the Steelers.

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