Found April 11, 2013 on
SteelBlitz Steelers Blog:
With Emmanuel Sanders potentially leaving the Pittsburgh Steelers for the New England Patriots as a restricted free agent the Steelers would be left very thin at receiver. Mike Wallace, the Steelers number one receiver in 2012, already left earlier in free agency to sign with the Miami Dolphins. Sanders served as the Steelers third receiver in 2012 which would means the team is in danger of losing two of their top three receiving targets from last season.
During his career Ben Roethlisberger has averaged around 265 completions per season. In 2012 Sanders and Wallace combined for 108 receptions. That would account for around forty percent of Roethlisberger’s completions in a normal year when he is healthy for all sixteen games. That’s a lot of production to lose in one off-season and is sure to make Steelers’ fans and Roethlisberger a bit iffy moving forward.
Sanders deal with the Patriots is for one year and $2.5 million. If the Steelers chose to match they would be left with less than $1 million in cap space. Therefore, to match and have the room to add other free agents they would have to make a corresponding move. Possibilities would be to restructure or extend a contract to clear up some space for the 2013 season. They could also look to cut a veteran player. The most logical option there would be defensive end Brett Keisel. Cutting Keisel would save the team almost $3 million and they have Cameron Heyward waiting in the wings to start.
On the other hand, the Steelers could also choose to let Sanders go. In that case they would receiver the Patriots third round pick as compensation. That pick is the 91st overall pick in the upcoming draft. Along with the draft pick the Steelers would also save $1.3 million in cap space which is currently counted against the cap for Sanders restricted free agent tender. Another thing to keep in mind is matching the deal would give the Steelers one year of control on Sanders. They would likely look to sign him long-term, but if they were unable to there is a chance he could leave after the 2013 season. However, that third round draft pick would be under team control for three to four years.
Now let’s assume that the Steelers decide to let Sanders leave and move forward with the extra cap space and third round pick. If that happens here are three potential routes the Steelers could take in free agency and the draft to reload the team with play-makers for the 2013 season:
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.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert was asked about the possibility of losing restricted free agent Emmanuel Sanders a few weeks at the owners meetings and was pretty straight forward with his response.
“We’ll wait to see what fits. If a player makes sense, if we think he’s a better player and we can make it fit financially, then we’ll investigate,” said...
So let's say that Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert decides that he does want to match the one-year offer sheet that restricted free agent wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders has signed with the New England Patriots. What options to the Steelers have to create the needed cap space?
For starters, the Steelers would instantly have the $1.323 million tender price to...
Despite everything that you are currently reading from the major media, don't expect the Pittsburgh Steelers to match the one-year offer sheet that restricted free agent wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders has now signed with the New England Patriots.
The offer is believed to be about $4 million and matching it would require perhaps an unwanted restructure or release of another player...
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...
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.
It isn’t clear what direction the Steelers...
The New England Patriots have added another weapon to their offense, as they have signed restricted free agent WR Emmanuel Sanders to a one-year deal.
The news coming from Jason LaCanfora of CBS Sports, states that the Patriots have submitted the offer and the Steelers will have five days to match it.
Emmanuel Sanders is likely headed to New England. (AP Photo)
For the Steelers,...
The Patriots may have found their answer at wide receiver. Only time will tell.
Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders signed an offer sheet on Wednesday, agreeing to join the Patriots on a one-year deal. The deal is not yet set in stone, but either way it’s a win-win in New England.
Sanders is a restricted free agent this offseason, meaning the Steelers do retain some rights...
John Clayton of ESPN reported Friday on Twitter that the Pittsburgh Steelers are 50/50 as to whether or not to match the one-year, $2.5 million offer sheet that restricted free agent wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders signed with the New England Patriots.
This is not surprising news as even the fanbase seems to be split with...
Actual big news coming from the New England Patriots today!
The Patriots just submitted an offer sheet on Steelers WR Emmanuel Sanders. some actual restricted free agent movement. Wow
— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) April 10, 2013
The deadline was the 19th of April, but the Patriots have made their move earlier than expected. The Steelers have one week to make an offer...
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...
Per Jason LaCanfora the Pats just signed Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders to an offer sheet....
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...
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...