Cornerback McFadden signs with Arizona
The Steelers lost their first starter to free agency Sunday when cornerback Bryant McFadden signed a two-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals, according to the Associated Press. The deal is worth $10 million, according to ESPN.
McFadden, a second-round draft pick in 2005, overtook Deshea Townsend as the starter opposite Ike Taylor last season and recorded 41 tackles and two interceptions despite missing five games because of injuries.
William Gay, a fifth-round draft pick in 2007 who started four games last season, is expected to get the first crack at McFadden's old job.
Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau said recently that Gay answered any questions last season about whether he is capable of starting on a full-time basis.
The 5-foot-10, 190-pound Gay had 41 tackles and an interception in 16 games for the Steelers last season.
"I think we've got a good, quality player there," LeBeau said of Gay, "who should continue to grow."
Free agency has compromised the Steelers' depth in the secondary.
Safety Anthony Smith has signed with the Packers, according to ESPN. Smith, once thought to be among the Steelers' most promising prospects, fell out of favor with the coaching staff near the end of the 2007 season. He started 10 games in 2007 but is best known for his ill-fated guarantee that the Steelers would beat the then-undefeated Patriots.
Smith, whom the Patriots beat on several big pass plays, played sparingly last season and did not dress for Super Bowl XLIII.
McFadden had been widely considered one of the top cornerbacks on the free-agent market, although Dominique Foxworth (Falcons) and Ronald Bartell (Rams) signed lucrative long-term deals before he agreed to terms with the Cardinals.
The Steelers have also lost wide receiver Nate Washington to free agency. Wide receiver and the defensive backfield might be two of the more pressing needs for the team as it prepares for next month's draft.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
- Nearing season’s midpoint, Steelers still have issues to sort out
- Buffalo Township grandma pleads guilty to selling hundreds of pounds of weed
- Ross brothers ordered to pay fine, remove debris from Christmas display
- Lawyer: Steelers center Pouncey, brother won’t be charged in July fracas
- Rossi: Fleury is, and will remain, Penguins’ soul
- Wanted sex offender caught hiding in homemade fort in Burgettstown
- Truck wreck closes Saxonburg Boulevard in West Deer
- Testing legs, giving backup goalie a chance are Penguins’ priorities
- Harmony woman accused of hitting police officer and anti-gay protester pleads guilty to reduced charges
- Hundreds mourn Pittsburgh trash collector killed by gunfire
- 4 alternate jurors picked in Ferrante cyanide poisoning trial