PITTSBURGH -- The Steelers are targeting cornerbacks in free agency, having reached out to representatives for at least three of them during the period that teams and agents of prospective free agents are allowed to talk but not consummate any deals.
The Steelers have inquired about Tennessee’s Alterraun Verner, Carolina’s Captain Munnerlyn and Miami’s Nolan Carroll, according to multiple sources, and it looks like they are serious about replenishing one of the thinnest positions on their roster through free agency as well as the draft.
Pittsburgh has only three cornerbacks on the roster with meaningful NFL experience. And Ike Taylor’s future is uncertain with the 11th-year veteran scheduled to make $7 million in base salary in 2014.
Verner is one of the top cornerbacks in the free-agent class, and the fourth-year veteran is set to cash in after intercepting five passes and making the Pro Bowl last season. Verner, who has ties to Steelers assistant coaches Mike Munchak and Carnell Lake, will probably be too pricey for the Steelers, who are less than $4 million under the cap but can create more room by releasing Taylor.
Munnerlyn and Carroll may be the more realistic options for the Steelers from an economic standpoint, as neither is among the cornerbacks who will command top dollar on the open market.
The 5-foot-8, 195-pound Munnerlyn, who turns 26 next month, recorded 73 tackles and three sacks while also intercepting two passes last season for Carolina. The 6-1, 205-pound Carroll recorded 47 tackles and intercepted three passes last season for the Dolphins, and he is young, having turned 26 in January.
The Steelers are familiar with Carroll having hosted him for a pre-draft visit in 2010. The Dolphins picked Carroll in the fifth round that year while Munnerlyn was a seventh-round pick by the Panthers in 2009.
The free-agent signing period starts Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET, and that is when teams are also allowed to host free agents for visits.