Steelers notebook: CB Blake shopping himself to Patriots, Titans
Unrestricted free agent cornerback Antwon Blake expressed a desire to remain with the Steelers, but he told the Tribune-Review on Friday he has scheduled visits with the New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans.
Blake's agent is negotiating visits with four other teams, Blake said. It appears unlikely the Steelers are among those seriously pursuing him.
Also, a source close to the situation said offensive tackle Kelvin Beachum has visits scheduled with the New York Jets and Seattle Seahawks while he continues to negotiate a deal with the Steelers. Beachum suffered a season-ending knee injury last season.
In addition, a source close to the situation said Steelers linebacker Sean Spence will visit the Dolphins.
Blake, 25, who began his career as an undrafted free agent with Jacksonville in 2012, played in 46 regular-season games for the Steelers during the past three seasons, including 16 starts last season. He had 77 tackles and two interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown.
The 5-foot-9, 198-pounder was sometimes vulnerable to the deep ball and inconsistent against the run. However, he made strides against the run during the second half of last season and made several key breakups in wins at St. Louis and Cincinnati.
Blake, claimed off waivers by the Steelers in 2013, signed a one-year, $1.54 million deal last season. He was projected as a backup behind William Gay and Cortez Allen but was inserted into the starting lineup as Allen struggled with a knee injury before being placed on injured reserve last October.
Senquez Golson and Doran Grant are the Steelers' other cornerbacks under contract.
The NFL awarded the Steelers a sixth-round compensatory pick in April's NFL Draft.
Compensatory picks are awarded to teams losing more or better free agents than they acquired from the previous season. It is calculated by the league.
The Steelers lost free agent Brice McCain to the Miami Dolphins last year, and the Steelers didn't sign a free agent from another team. DeAngelo Williams was released by the Carolina Panthers before signing with the Steelers, thus not counting toward the equation.
The Steelers have seven picks in next month's draft. They traded a fifth-round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles for Brandon Boykin last year and a sixth-round selection to the Jacksonville Jaguars for kicker Josh Scobee. The Steelers received a second seventh-round pick when they traded punter Brad Wing to the New York Giants.
The Steelers have first-, second-, third- and fourth-round picks to go with a sixth- and two seventh-round picks.
The Steelers select 25th overall.
Ralph N. Paulk and Mark Kaboly are Tribune-Review staff writers. Reach them at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.