Cornerback has long been a position of need for the Steelers, even if the drama surrounding the Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown situations has often taken precedence over their problems in the secondary. With both of those high-profile situations having been resolved, the Steelers tried to upgrade at cornerback during the legal tampering period, but were rejected by one of their targets even though they offered a longer contract than their competitors.

According to 9News’ Mike Klis, who spoke with former Broncos first-round pick Bradley Roby on Tuesday, Roby rejected a three-year contract with the Steelers before accepting a one-year, $10 million contract with the Texans, which was first reported by NFL Network’s James Palmer. Roby also told Klis that he turned down a one-year deal from the 49ers and that the Browns demonstrated interest in him.

He can’t sign his contract with the Texans until Wednesday, when the new league year begins, but it certainly sounds like he’s heading to Houston on a prove-it type of contract instead of Pittsburgh on a lengthier deal — unless he pulls an Anthony Barr and has a change of heart.

Obviously, without knowing the financial details of the Steelers’ offer, it’s impossible to say if Roby is making the right or wrong decision. Given he turned it down, it seems likely that the Steelers’ offer did not include as much money on an annual basis as the Texans’ offer. Roby is now betting on himself to play well on a one-year deal and then to cash in a year from now, when he’ll still only be 27 years old. 

Roby is still trying to prove he can be an elite corner in the NFL. In five seasons with the Broncos, he appeared in 79 of 80 possible games with 29 starts, 15 of which came this past season after the Broncos moved on from Aqib Talib. He’s racked up seven interceptions and 60 defended passes in his career, but according to Pro Football Focus, he wasn’t at his best this past season when he moved into a full-time starting role. 

But the Texans certainly needed to add defensive backs after losing Tyrann Mathieu to the Chiefs and Kareem Jackson to the Broncos (in a sense, the two teams are exchanging cornerbacks), and cutting Kevin Johnson. While the Texans’ playoff hopes hinge on Deshaun Watson and their ability to provide him with improved protection, their defense is coming off a good, if not great, season. After losing Mathieu and Jackson — and with Jadeveon Clowney’s contract situation remaining an ongoing issue — it isn’t wrong to be concerned about the direction of their defense. Will Brinson listed them as one of the early losers of free agency after Monday’s action

Roby won’t magically fix all of their issues on the back end, but there’s not much risk in bringing him in on a one-year deal. He has, at times, shown the ability to play well. And he’s still only 26. There’s a chance he could out-play his contract. And if he doesn’t, the Texans can move on from him a year from now.

From the Steelers’ standpoint, regardless of what they do between now and the draft, they’ll probably be very much in play for a cornerback in the draft. 2016 first-round pick Artie Burns — taken one pick after the Bengals selected cornerback William Jackson — has struggled, which led to him getting benched last season. Missing on Roby could always end up being a blessing in disguise depending on how much money they offered him, but as of Tuesday afternoon, the Steelers still have a gaping hole at cornerback that needs to be filled at some point before the season begins. 



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