Reasons Why The Steelers Are Unlikely To Release Rashard Mendenhall

The Pittsburgh Steelers announced on Tuesday that they have suspended running back Rashard Mendenhall for one game for conduct detrimental to the team. Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported a short time after that he was told the detrimental conduct was Mendenhall failing to show up at Heinz Field on Sunday for the game against the San Diego Chargers after being told that he would be inactive for the game.

Since the report surfaced many, including members of the media, have started suggesting that the Steelers just go ahead and release Mendenhall, who is in the final year of his rookie contract, so that both sides can get on with their business. While Mendenhall almost certainly will not be back in 2013, it is almost certain that the Steelers will not release him prior to the end of the season.

Keep in mind that Mendenhall is an unrestricted free agent. Even though the Steelers are unlikely to resign him, someone else will. That means that the Steelers stand to earn a 2014 compensatory draft pick for losing him via free agency. What that pick will be depends on several factors that are built into the compensatory draft pick formula. At the very worst he will bring a 7th round pick and the best case scenario would be a 3rd round pick.

In addition to that reason, Mendenhall would surely be claimed off waivers by another team and the Steelers certainly wouldn\’t want him to somehow wind up on another AFC playoff team, especially if they wind up making the playoffs themselves.

Like it or not, the Steelers still have question marks at the running back position as they head into their final three regular season games, and hopefully the playoffs. Keeping Mendenhall as depth still makes sense and his pending free agency value could be boosted should he wind up getting a chance to redeem himself and playing well while doing so.

Mendenhall stands to earn a $275,000 roster bonus by being on the Steelers roster for the last game of the regular season and his agent has reportedly said that his client will serve his suspension and return to the team next Monday in good spirits.

Mendenhall is frustrated right now and his actions from this past Sunday certainly can\’t be defended. All the Steelers can hope for is that he is true to his promise that he will return to the team with a better attitude. If he doesn\’t the team can just suspend him for the remainder of the season for more detrimental conduct.

At that point he will be out of sight, out of mind and eventually out of Pittsburgh. At least the Steelers won\’t miss out on an extra draft pick by handling him that way.

  • It don’t matter who at running back, they can’t seem to block for neither one. We got three decent backs and they can’t make a third and one, something’s not right

  • Bradys_Dad

    With the age, health and performance of many guys this season I predict a fairly major overhaul coming and not soon enough. It’s time that the brilliant Mr. Colbert explores the free agents available this off-season as opposed to building solely through the draft. Don’t get me wrong, the Steelers formula works, it’s simply not a game of build and wait anymore. Fans expect tournament worthy teams teams out of Pittsburgh year in and out. This is going to be one of the most interesting off seasons for the Steelers in a very long time. Happy Holidays !

  • steeltown

    I dont see a ‘major’ overhaul coming, atleast not next season. I think 2013 will be the last for guys like Ike, Harrison, Keisel, Polamalu, even though most are signed through 2014. The Team has some young players with potential, but they WILL need to draft another RB, OLB, Safety prospect and hopefully a mid Rd QB as soon as next season. I think 2014 the Team will look very different just by way of contracts ending and age of the long time Defensive guys

  • Bradys_Dad

    There’s also the issue with Casey Hampton who renegotiated for this season who is likely on his farewell tour. Ike and Clark (and ya got to love how Clark plays the game – good Lord!) are also at the end of the tunnel age-wise. Maybe 1-2 more years for either or. I like the idea of saying adios to Charlie and Byron and am hopeful that they’ll re-sign Hoyer and then draft a mid-round QB that can be groomed for a couple of years ala A. Rogers. I’m just thinking that IF they wanted a boat load of Cap room they could easily make it and justify doing so by releasing some previous fan favs. One more note. They really should sign Doug Legursky to a longer term contract than these repetitive 1 years deals. He’s the most reliable and versatile linemane we have.

  • steeltown

    Agree about Clark, I think he’s got atleast 2yrs left in him, I agree about Hoyer.. Leftwich shouldve been released or put on IR after the most recent injury. I dont however agree with Legursky, he has been darn good as a fill for Pouncey, but thats about it. I think Foster is more of an offseason priority, especially with the repetitive health issues of Colon. If they can afford both Foster and Legursky then great, but I’m not sure they’ll be able to retain both along with the other FA’s that they want to keep

  • TrueSteelerForLife

    I don’t understand why everyone is enamored with Hoyer? That guy is not good at all!

  • steeltown

    He hasnt really been given time to show that.. I personally just want some new, young blood backing up Ben, even if he’s 3rd on the depth chart

  • Bradys_Dad

    Doug’s a better center and while there’s NO disputing Pouncey’s skill and value, he has shown to have suspect ankles. Just sayin. Foster is a keeper and if Kelvin comes around we’ll have a strong bench. Aren’t both Redman and Dwyer FAs this year also ? I agree that we need a stud in the backfield but neither of these guys nor is Rainey that “guy.” The off-season is going to be more interesting than what’s developing this ugly season.

  • Bradys_Dad


  • steeltown

    Yes, Dwyer and Redman are both restricted FA’s as are E.Sanders and McLendon, plus Foote and K.Lewis are unrestricted FA’s after this season, lots of decisions to be made. I think Rainey will turn out to be a good versatile weapon, just not being utilized too much yet.