It took very little time for the NFL regular season to end before the drama with the Pittsburgh Steelers started to fire up. The latest is that cornerback Keenan Lewis, who is an unrestricted free agent is going to dip his toe in the free agent waters.
Lewis said the Steelers made a mistake by not signing him to an extension prior to the 2012 season. Alan Robinson, a respected Steelers beat writer for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review tweeted this.
Keenan Lewis plans to test free agency. He told #Steelers “they made a mistake” by not offering multi-year deal before 2012 season.
— Alan Robinson (@arobinson_Trib) January 1, 2013
Robinson got this information in an interview that Lewis did, and from what I can gather took it essentially word for word. Not long after this tweet went out there, Lewis fired back with his own tweet.
— Keenan Lewis (@KeenanLewis23) January 2, 2013
The Tweet went beyond the 140 character limit and finished with, “me last season. I love the Rooneys, Organization & fans. I only stayed that my agent will handle the contract talks.”
This is obviously a big deal for a couple of reasons. First, Lewis showed himself to be the best corner the Steelers had for most of the season. With Lewis being only 26, putting him 6 years younger than other starting cornerback Ike Taylor, keeping Lewis if it’s fiscally responsible has to be a high priority.
The Steelers really only have two choices with Lewis, either sign him or let him walk. A franchise tag would be over $10 million and the Steelers won’t do that, so if Lewis does decide to reach out to other teams, there’s a good chance he’ll find more money elsewhere.
My take: I think Robinson took what Lewis said and twisted it up a little, but such is life in the age of 140 character news stories. Lewis can say whatever he likes, but one would be foolish not to think his agent won’t reach out to teams just to get some leverage on a contract. So, while Lewis himself may not actively seek out a new team, you can bet there will be other teams involved in his future one way or another. I have a suspicion Lewis will sign a long term deal with Lewis and this will be a non-story by the Summer.