Found April 14, 2013 on
SteelBlitz Steelers Blog:
According to reports the Pittsburgh Steelers are torn on whether or not to match the New England Patriots offer for Emmanuel Sanders. If they choose to match the deal they will bring back Sanders on a one year deal worth $2.5 million and he would be expected to move up on the depth chart as the Steelers number two receiver behind Antonio Brown. However, if they choose not to bring him back they will have only one member of the promising “Young Money Crew” left on the roster.
With only a little under $3.3 million in cap space to match a deal to Sanders the Steelers would leave themselves with very little cap room if they match the deal. They will have another $4 million in cap space available in June via the release of Willie Colon, but that money will need to be used to sign their draft picks. If the Steelers want to sign any other free agents, such as running back Ahmad Bradshaw who they have shown interest in, they would likely have to make a corresponding roster move to open up cap space to do so.
On the other hand, the Steelers could allow Sanders to leave take the Patriots third round pick as compensation and use their leftover $3.3 million in cap space to make moves like signing Bradshaw. Most fans, based on voting from other Steelers sites, are ready to let Sanders leave. An extra third round pick is intriguing and the four years of control on a drafted player versus one year of Sanders seems to have more value along with more cap space. Ben Roethlisberger, however, would like to have Sanders back and limit the turnover at the wide receiver position after already losing his top target from 2012 when Mike Wallace signed with the Miami Dolphins earlier this off-season.
As of now it seems 50/50 whether the Steelers will choose to match Sanders offer and it’s hard to predict what they are thinking. For the sake of looking forward we will assume the Steelers decide not to match Sanders deal and look at options for reloading the offense:
1.) Use the Pick to Draft Sanders’ Replacement
This is the option that most are expecting if the Steelers allow Sanders to walk. They will receive the Patriots third round pick and many expect they would simply take that pick and draft a receiver to replace Sanders. Potential players they could draft with that pick include West Virginia’s Stedman Bailey, Baylor’s Terrance Williams or Marshall’s Aaron Dobson. If the Steelers go this route they would have to hope to strike gold with that pick and hope that the player they select is able to contribute from day one.
2.) Draft a Tight End in the First Round
This one might not make sense. Why replace a receiver with a tight end? Well, Tyler Eifert out of Notre Dame was one of the best players at the NFL Combine and Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette who was at the combine said he was most impressed by Eifert. During his time at Notre Dame Eifert lined up at multiple positions including receiver. At the combine Eifert ran a 4.68 forty yard dash. Keenan Allen, who is compared to Anquan Boldin, could go in the first round and ran a 4.71 at his pro day.
The issue some have is: what do you do with Eifert when Heath Miller comes back from his knee injury? Well, the Steelers used two tight ends 37 percent of the time in 2012. Todd Haley loves to use two tight end sets and with Miller and Eifert he would have two very good receiving tight ends to work with. Also, when Miller returns the Steelers could still use Eifert out wide especially in the red zone.
Over the past few years one of the biggest issues with the Steelers offense has been scoring in the red zone. A possible reason for that is the height the team has at receiver. Before signing the 6’5″ Plaxico Burress mid-season last year the Steelers tallest receiver was 6’0″ Mike Wallace. Burress is back and Miller also stands at 6’5″; add Eifert at 6’6″ to that group and the Steelers would have a mismatch against almost every defense in the league in the red zone.
3.) Sign a Running Back and Double-Dip at Receiver in the Draft
This is the option that seems most likely if the Steelers decide to let Sanders walk. They are scheduled to meet with ex-Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw a second time before the draft. With the cap savings by letting Sanders walk they could take that money and use it to sign Bradshaw. During the 2012 season Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman both played well when the offensive line wasn’t beat up. Bradshaw would add another starting option to the group and they still have Baron Batch as a third down back.
With Bradshaw added to the running back group the Steelers could wait until the sixth round to go running back and instead use two early picks on wide receiver rather than one on a receiver and one on a running back. That would allow them to replace Sanders and Wallace and hope that at least one of those players is able to contribute in year one.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the Steelers are in need of a return man after cutting Chris Rainey. Antonio Brown is a very good returner, but the Steelers probably won’t risk him getting hurt returning kicks now that he is the team’s top receiving option. That hole means the Steelers will likely look for a receiver that can contribute on offense and special teams in 2013.
4.) Use the Cap Space to sign Two Veterans and Use the Draft Pick to Fill a Need
This option may be unlikely, but there are still some solid veteran players looking for jobs on the free agent market. Perhaps the Steelers could let Sanders go to the Patriots and replace him with a player that played in New England in 2012. Brandon Lloyd is a veteran receiver that has the speed to take the top off of the defense, but also has great hands and would bring a solid receiving option to the Steelers offense. Lloyd is still looking for a job and likely won’t sign until after the NFL Draft, but if he is willing to play for around $1-1.5 million in 2013 he could be a nice stop-gap at wide receiver for the Steelers.
Pittsburgh would also have the cap space to bring in Ahmad Bradshaw on a similarly small deal for one season. Letting Sanders walk also gives them an extra draft pick and with Bradshaw and Lloyd on the roster they would have the ability to possibly focus on drafting a running back or receiver later on and grooming them for a year and use their early picks on filling more pressing needs such as safety, linebacker and receiver or running back whichever position they believe is the more pressing need. This scenario would also allow them to focus on drafting the best players at each selection rather than reaching for needs which they may have to do to fill the receiver position if they lose both Sanders and Wallace to free agency.
As things stand now the Steelers have about ten hours until a decision must be made on Sanders. However, we will likely know the outcome of this situation prior to the 11:59:59 PM deadline tonight.
BEST OF MAXIM
According to Adam Schefter the Pittsburgh Steelers have matched the New England Patriots offer sheet for wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders. Sanders will now make $2.5 million for the 2013 season and become an unrestricted free agent in 2014 unless he receives a contrac extension.
Had the Steelers opted not to match the offer to Sanders they would have received a third round pick from...
Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert know that’s Emmanuel Sanders who wears No. 88 and not Lynn Swann, right?
That uniform number made Sanders look like Hines Ward in his rookie season, but that’s only because that second “8” looked like a “6” when Sanders caught passes over the middle in 2010. Steelers fans weren’t used to seeing the No. 88 on the field because it had been...
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown was a guest Friday afternoon on SiriusXM NFL Radio and was asked to give his thoughts on whether or not he believes restricted free agent wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders will be back next season after signing a one year, $2.5 million offer sheet with the New England Patriots.
Brown basically said that he doesn't think that Sanders...
Emmanuel Sanders’ agent Jordan Woy told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazertte that several teams made contract offers to his client.
“We had several teams make offers in free agency so we know there are teams who really like Emmanuel,” Jordan Woy, Sanders’ agent, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette today.
Woy also said “we are open to discussing” a multi-year deal. ”We are...
Emmanuel Sanders is sticking with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The team announced Sunday it matched the $2.5 million offer the New England Patriots made to the restricted free agent wide receiver last week. Pittsburgh would have received a third-round pick from the Patriots if it let Sanders go to New England.
Instead Sanders will likely be second on the depth chart behind Antonio...
According to Emmanuel Sanders’ agent Jordan Woy, the Pittsburgh Steelers have matched the Patriots’ offer sheet and will retain Sanders. https://twitter.com/JordanWoy/status/323559382371680256 By retaining Sanders, the Steelers are even closer to being over the current salary cap. They may need to restructure a contract or release a player on their roster.
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On Sunday evening the Pittsburgh Steelers announced that they have decided to match the New England Patriots offer sheet to restricted free agent WR Emmanuel Sanders.
Last week the Patriots announced they signed Sanders to an offer sheet for 1-year for $2.5 million. The Steelers had until Monday to match, reject or work out a trade with New England for Sanders. And after looking...
The Steelers have matched the offer made by the Patriots to Emmanuel Sanders. Of course the Patriots didn't make it very hard on them by offering only a measely amount of money. The Patriots always try to win the "battle of the contract" by trying to get the players they want only if the price is right.
If the Patriots wanted Emmanuel Sanders then they should have...
The Patriots put a $2.5 million offer out to Steelers restricted free-agent Emmanuel Sanders. There was much debate as to whether the Steelers would match or not. After Ben Roethlisberger rallied for the team to retain Sanders, the Steelers have officially matched the offer.
Steelers match the 1-yr, $2.5 mill offer on WR Emmanuel Sanders
— Jason Cole (@JasonColeYahoo) April 14...
At this point, it appears that the Pittsburgh Steelers might not match the offer sheet Emmanuel Sanders signed with the New England Patriots. However, there is at least one reason for the Steelers to bring
Sanders back; quarterback Ben Roethlisberger wants them to, according to Jason
La Canfora of CBS Sports.
Big Ben has been lobbying hard to retain Sanders, calling coach Mike Tomlin...
Yesterday, Adam Schefter tweeted out a comment from an anonymous Steeler who believed Emmanuel Sanders could actually be more talented than Mike Wallace. The Patriots have an offer out to the restricted free agent receiver for $2.5 million, that's more cap space than the Steelers have but they could easily move some money around to match it.
The dilemma of course is, would...
The Pittsburgh Steelers find themselves in a unique predicament: Match the deal wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders signed with the New England Patriots or let him go and receive a third-round pick in April’s draft.
Matt Williamson of Scouts
Apparently Ben Roethlisberger isn’t so keen on the idea of going into 2013 with either Plaxico Burress or Jerricho Cotchery as his No. 2 wide receiver — sh0cking.
That’s why the Steelers quarterback is “lobbying hard” for the Steelers to match the Patriots’ one-year, $2.5 million offer sheet given to Emmanuel Sanders, according to Jason La Canfora. The Steelers have the...
Losing out on the Emmanuel Sanders sweepstakes leaves the Patriots with just one more need they’ll now need to address come draft weekend.
There was a good chance the Patriots would find a receiver at some point on draft day when Sanders was still a possibility, but now that he’s out the pressure to find a playmaker only increases.
Fortunately for Tom Brady and company, this...