- John Clayton, NFL senior writer
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Days after locking up one of their best young offensive players, Willie Parker, the Steelers gave one of their best defensive players, cornerback Ike Taylor, a four-year extension that makes him the highest-paid cornerback in team history.
On Sunday, Taylor agreed to a four-year extension that will keep him with the Steelers through 2010. He will receive $22.5 million and have a chance to make another $1.2 million, which could max out the package at $23.7 million based on his performance.
Included in the deal is $6.4 million in guarantees. There is another $1 million of roster bonus money toward the end of the contract.
Both sides came out of the deal happy. Taylor was rewarded for his development in Pittsburgh's defense after only one year as a starter. The Steelers, meanwhile, were able to lock up a cornerback for five seasons at a price that made them happy, particularly since the price of re-signing or obtaining cornerbacks is rising rapidly.
Taylor's one year as a starter was certainly significant. He started 16 games and helped take the team to the Super Bowl. Taylor is a big, physical cornerback at 6-foot-1, 191 pounds.
More than anything else, Taylor wanted to remain a Steeler. He was scheduled to become a free agent at the end of the 2006 season, but he had no desire to leave. Taylor developed a good relationship with the Rooney family, reputed to be among the best in sports at taking care of their players.
Taylor, 26, has played in 45 games during his first four seasons, starting 17. He was a fourth-round choice of the Steelers in 2003. He's played in two AFC Championship games and has one Super Bowl ring.
To accompany that ring, Taylor now has a deal that will keep him on the Steelers defense through 2010.
John Clayton is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.