Was Lewis successful in covering AJ Green 2x last season? or Troy Smith? has Lewis ever had to defend a C Johnson? there simply is no evidence to support your claim.
The argument is that you could have locked up a younger player at the CB position for a very reasonable cost. Maybe he isn't a #1 but he's definitely a #2. If Lewis is unproven as a starter then what does that make Cortez Allen? That is not a knock on the guy. He's still good enough to be a #2, at worst and he's proven that. If Allen turns out like we hope, he will be our #1 for years to come.
Essentially, we could have locked up our future #1 and #2 CB for years to come. Instead, we let our future #2 (at worst) walk. For what reason? To keep Ike Taylor for ONE MORE YEAR (he'll likely get cut next year anyway) ?!?!? Now, we have to draft and develop another CB for a couple of years when we already had that CB on the roster. Let's not forget, the Steelers have a ton of holes on this team. It would have been nice to say, "CB isn't a need" going into this draft. Now, it is along with numerous other positions. Hell, we don't even have enough draft picks to cover all the team needs as it currently stands.
Cutting Ike this year causes some dead cap $ but you save ALL of his 10.5 dollar salary next year. Ike isn't making "good CB money". He is making ELITE CB money. Cutting Ike this year and signing Lewis was close to a wash from a financial standpoint. However, next year you save the full 10.5 million. In addition, the Steelers would have their #2 (at worst) CB still on the team and you could use some of that 10.5 million of cap space next year to sign your anticipated #1 (Cortez Allen). Not a bad strategy IMO. Unfortunately, the Steelers FO weakened this team's future from a positional standpoint and from a salary cap standpoint (due to Ike's salary for this year and next).
Ike is solid. The steelers didn't want to give a 3rd corner starters money. The thought of Lewis covering the opponents best receiver on a regular basis would not help nore make our defense better. Ike usually takes away one of the opponents best weapon per game that is huge you can't say that about to many corners out there. If Ike was gone and Lewis was here there would be a lot of B&G tears during the games. You don't know what you had until it's gone. I'm glad this isn't pertaining to Ike and we won't miss Lewis.
Fact 1: when Ike was injured Keenan was not assigned to his position, it was Allen.
Fact 2: Keenan wanted to play in front of the hometown
Fact 3: Pre-Ike injury last season; pass defense avg'd 159 yds/gm, while Ike was out 241 yds
The facts don't support that Ike=Keenan, now or ever.
I have no problem with the Steelers honoring his contract as he has been a solid contributor in games played.
Point is, most of you are waaaay undervaluing Ike's abilities.
At some point we have to sacrifice a little for the team... and if letting Ike walk would mean keeping young prospects who are capable of filling the void... and freeing up money to bring in quality FA's such as A. Bradshaw (to help strengthen other positions), then I'm all for it.