Found April 11, 2013 on
SteelBlitz Steelers Blog:
Th Pittsburgh Steelers have until the end of the day Sunday to match the offer sheet for Emmanuel Sanders. Sanders has signed a one year $2.5 million deal with the New England Patriots. If the Steelers choose not to match the offer they will receiver the Patriots third round pick. They will also save about $1.3 million against the cap. The Steelers could also choose to match the offer and pay Sanders $2.5 million for the 2013 season.
Due to the Steelers cap issues if they match the offer they would likely look to extend Sanders. It’s unlikely they would give up a third round pick and another $1.2 million for a potential one year rental. Keeping Sanders long-term would have to be the goal if the Steelers decide to match the deal.
Some fans are mad at Sanders for signing an offer sheet with the Patriots and putting the Steelers in this position. However, it is his right to do so and the Patriots were offering him twice as much for the 2013 season compared to the Steelers. The Patriots also have a major passing attack that a receiver would be happy to be a part of. Can you really blame Sanders for seeking more money and possibly more playing time? I can’t.
Nonetheless the Steelers are still in a tough situation with deciding what to do with Sanders over the next couple days. Luckily for them the deal was not worth $4 million which was rumored early yesterday. If that had been the case the Steelers would have been forced to open more cap space just to match the deal. Instead they have the room to match, but they would be left with less than $1 million in cap space if they did match.
Right now the Steelers will have to decide what is worth more to them. They could let Sanders walk and get a third round pick and save some money. In that case they could possibly sign Ahmad Bradshaw, who they will meet with a second time, with the saved cap space and use the pick to draft a replacement for Sanders. Or they could choose to keep Sanders and sign him long-term. However, if they are thinking about signing him long-term they will have to feel comfortable about his abilities and his history with foot injuries.
At one point Steelers coaches believed Sanders was the best player in what became known as the “Young Money Crew.” If they still feel that way it is unlikely they will let Sanders go. However, if their feelings about Sanders have changed they may choose to take the pick and cap space and move forward.
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Pittsburgh Steelers restricted free agent Emmanuel Sanders
signed an offer sheet with the New England Patriots worth $2.5 million for one
year yesterday, according to Albert Breer of NFL.com. Now, the Steelers will
have five days to either match that offer or allow Sanders to walk and accept
the Patriots’ third-round draft pick.
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Emmanuel Sanders is likely headed to New England. (AP Photo)
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