Tennessee Titans star cornerback Alterraun Verner is the second-best cornerback set to hit the open market, and he will definitely benefit from the four-year, $39 million deal that Sam Shields received from the Green Bay Packers. Not only is Verner the better player, but he’s already receiving major interest during the legal tampering period (which isn’t surprising at all).
The Nashville Tennessean’s Jim Wyatt reports that the Pittsburgh Steelers, Detroit Lions, New York Giants, New York Jets, Minnesota Vikings, and St. Louis Rams are all interested in Verner, and the Steelers and Lions are two new names in the Verner sweepstakes that I haven’t seen in earlier reports.
Verner isn’t quite a true shutdown corner since he isn’t as good in man coverage as Brent Grimes or Vontae Davis, but he has some of the best ball skills of any corner in the league. He played at an All-Pro level last season with 57 tackles, five interceptions, and a ridiculous 23 passes defended, and the scary thing is that he’s only 25. A bidding war is brewing for Verner’s services, and it will be interesting to see if he earns even more than the overpaid Shields.
The Pittsburgh Steelers desperately need an upgrade at the cornerback position, and I view CB as their biggest need this offseason. But I also think they are better off drafting a corner in the first and signing a cheaper option like Tarell Brown, who is still very good, instead of throwing $9 million at Verner; they just don’t have that kind of money.
Although a CB could definitely help the Lions out, they also don’t have the money to throw at an elite corner when they have bigger needs at safety and WR. Sure, they will likely address their needs at WR in the draft, but they also appear to be in the market for an elite safety.