The Pittsburgh Steelers have finally made a decision concerning Cortez Allen.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the organization has finally released the cornerback after two back-to-back seasons of ending the year on the team’s injured/reserve list. Prior to being released, the Steelers requested that Allen take a pay cut, but it seems that both sides could not come to an agreement on the situation.
After Keenan Lewis departed to the New Orleans Saints in free agency, Pittsburgh viewed Allen as their heir apparent to Ike Taylor. The organization was so sure of their young defensive back that they granted him a four-year contract extension nearing $25 million in 2014. What would transpire in the next two years would prove disastrous.
Knee and thumb injuries would keep Allen off the field for the majority of the 2014 and 2015 seasons. Prior to being injured, he would be benched due to poor performance. It was made clear that Allen was not up to the task that the Steelers presented him with the size of a contract extension that seemed quite impractical at the time.
Ross Cockrell after he was cut by the Buffalo Bills, gave indication that the organization was not high on the former 2011 fourth-rounder to bounce back from adversity in a positive manner.
In early March the Steelers asked Allen to take a pay cut of the $4.4 million he was due in 2016. For obvious reasons, the Steelers thought they were entitled to a return of some of their money after two straight years of non-production. Allen apparently did not see it that way and no kind of negotiation could be achieved.
Allen’s dismissal does not severely impact the Steelers’ cornerback roster, seeing as he has not had much of a role in it in the past two seasons. The Steelers’ actions in the offseason allude to finding a premiere talent cornerback as early as the first round of the draft later in the month of April.
The Steelers receive a dead cap hit of $4.05 million for Allen’s release this year, but it is almost worth it to clean their hands of the situation and finally move forward without him somewhere in the background. Focus should be on revitalizing the position, and Allen represented a blemish that had to be wiped clean before they could do so.
Allen appear in 56 games over his five-year span with the Steelers. In that time he recorded 138 tackles, six interceptions, 34 passes defended, and two fumble recoveries.
Cortez Allen once displayed great potential on the Steelers’ defense, but the amalgamation of many key factors prohibited him from achieving what the organization believed would blossom into a great career for a promising young athlete that could have been a mainstay in their secondary for many years.
We leave you with Allen’s lone pick-six of his career, against Green Bay in 2013, and with thoughts of what might have been.