Ike Taylor's value increases in Pittsburgh

The Pittsburgh Steelers may not admit it, but the urgency to re-sign top cornerback Ike Taylor probably increased this past weekend.

TaylorTaylorTaylor is Pittsburgh's biggest unrestricted free agent this offseason, and the team failed to land a top-rated cornerback in the NFL draft. The Steelers filled other needs in the first and second round before addressing the position.

The Steelers picked Texas cornerback Curtis Brown in the third round and Citadel corner Cortez Allen in the fourth round. Pittsburgh feels both players have potential. But based on their draft status, it's rare for a rookie taken in the middle rounds to be ready to start right away for a Super Bowl contender.

If Taylor is re-signed, this would help the transition of the younger corners. Similar to last year, Taylor and Bryant McFadden would be the starters for the Steelers, while young corners like Brown, Allen, Crezdon Butler and Keenan Lewis can compete for backup roles.

But the going rate for free-agent cornerbacks are extremely high this offseason. Oakland Raiders corner Stanford Routt recently signed a deal averaging $10 million per season, which could set the market for free agents like Taylor and Johnathan Joseph of the Cincinnati Bengals.

With those kind numbers being thrown around, there's no guarantee Taylor will return to the Steelers. If that's the case, one of Pittsburgh's inexperienced corners might have to step up into a starting role in 2011.