The New York Jets have been a thorn in the side of the Pittsburgh Steelers thus far in the offseason, first signing former Steelers defensive end Kimo von Oelhoffen and then outbidding them for the services of wide receiver Tim Dwight.
Now, the Jets may have cornerback Ike Taylor on their radar.
With their trade of digruntled defensive end John Abraham to Atlanta Tuesday, the Jets now own two first round picks in next month's draft, their own pick (fourth overall) and the 29th thanks to the Abraham trade.
Negotiations between the Steelers and restricted free agent cornerback Ike Taylor have been sparse, leading the team to re-sign cornerback Deshea Townsend to a four-year contract earlier this week.
The 25-year-old Taylor has received some interest on the open market, according to agent Scott Smith, but the Steelers' decision to make a high tender offer to the third-year cornerback has kept some teams from trying to pry him away from Pittsburgh.
"It certainly makes things more difficult," said Smith of the Steelers' one-year $1.55-million tender offer to Taylor. "But for the right situation, the right fit, something could be done."
By offering Taylor a high tender, Steelers guaranteed themselves the right to match any offer he might receive in free agency or receive a first-round draft pick from the team that signs Taylor in return as compensation.
That would prohibit a team that does not have a first-round pick from making an offer to Taylor. That means Washington – which dealt its No. 1 pick to Denver for a first-round pick last year – and Atlanta – which shipped its No. 1 pick to Denver as part of a deal that landed Abraham – can't make an offer to Taylor.
But the Jets and Broncos, who now have two first-round draft picks each, could be tempted to take a run at Taylor, particularly New York, which released starting cornerback Ty Law.
"Ike is certainly an intriguing guy," said Smith. "Really, he's only started two years as a cornerback, one year in the NFL and one year in college, so he's got a ton of upside, maybe more than any player in the NFL."
Courtesy of the Observer-Reporter