When Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor agreed to accept a dramatically reduced salary for 2014, he seemed to clearly understand the modern economics of the game.
That doesn’t mean he likes it.
“I’m pissed off about it, still am pissed off about it and I’m going to be pissed off until the end of the season about it,” Taylor told Jim Rome on Monday regarding the $4.25 million pay cut Taylor accepted earlier this year. “Did it hurt me? Hell yeah. Does it still hurt? Yeah, it hurts, but hopefully I can go in and bounce back this year, do what I need to do on the field and we will see what happens after.”
Taylor doesn’t seem to realize it’s a matter of basic football business, with teams squeezing players to take less because they can.
“[W]hy me? Like, I didn’t show my loyalty?” Taylor said. “I’ve been a good guy — not saying I’m flawless, I have my flaws, but you want to talk about a standup guy, who takes the blame even when he doesn’t have to. You want to talk about a guy who’s going to come in in shape, not waiting to build up into shape when he gets to camp. Or you want to talk about a guy who’s unselfish and puts his team before his family and friends, you want to talk about a guy who has loyalty, yeah it’s me. It’s me you’re talking about. When you come to me and ask me for a pay cut, I’m like ‘Damn, out of all these people, you want to ask Ike.’”
But that loyalty and selflessness makes it easier to ask a guy like Ike Taylor to take a paycut, because the team knows his loyalty and selflessness will make him more likely to say yes in order to remain part of the team, especially since it’s unlikely anyone offered to pay Taylor as much or more than the Steelers will be paying.
Taylor said yes. And he seemed to be happy about it at the time. He wasn’t, and he isn’t. And he won’t be — which could either prompt him to play even harder in 2014, or to be so upset about the pay cut that it becomes a distraction for him in 2014 and, ultimately, for the team.