The National Football League is a bottom line business.
No, you didn’t just stumble on a re-run of any episode of NFL Live that has aired, ever. Bear with me. Exhausting though that cliche can be, the fact of the matter is that NFL teams make tough decisions every single day because all that matters in the end is results.
Take, for example, the fact that the Denver Broncos parted ways with cornerback Champ Bailey this off-season. His $10 million cap figure certainly factored into the decision, but in the end the Broncos cut him loose because he wasn’t getting the job done anymore.
All of which brings us to Pittsburgh Steelers’ corner Ike Taylor. It looked like the Steelers might also make the tough call to cut the longtime fixture in their secondary this off-season. Instead they decided to restructure his deal so that it was less of a cap hit and so he can ride out the rest of his career with them.
The reality of Taylor’s situation is not lost on him. He knows he has to play better, and he said as much on Tuesday (quotes from Pro Football Talk):
“It was a so-so year,” Taylor told reporters Tuesday, according to a transcript from the club. “But when you play long enough, you are going to have a so-so year or two. But I didn’t like that. I understood that. I had to be honest with myself. Regardless of what it is in life, you have to get better.”
Taylor says so-so…I say truly awful. According to Pro Football Focus, he was the 97th rated corner in the NFL overall (out of 110, subscription required). His grade in coverage was even worse: 105th out of 110. His improvement needs to be significant indeed, otherwise the Steelers might wish they could have a do-over on the decision to bring him back.