Could The Steelers Match A Patriots Offer To WR Emmanuel Sanders?

Now that Pittsburgh Steelers restricted free agent wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders is busy making a visit to the New England Patriots, several people are wondering if the organization will try to retain their former third round draft pick, should he sign an offer sheet, and if they do, where will the extra cap space come from to do that?

First off all, the Steelers need to deem if the offer is fair. Is it more than Sanders is worth? Second, how high is the 2013 cap hit on the offer sheet? These are things that are impossible to answer right now.

Assuming the offer is fair, and assuming they need just a few more million in cap space to match the offer, do the Steelers have the means of creating that space?

They could release wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery and cornerback Justin King, but that would only clear an additional $790,000 in cap space after displacement. Whacking kicker Shaun Suisham would only save roughly $600,000 after displacement, but then they would be left with one inexperienced kicker on the roster. That\’s not smart.

Cut Brett Keisel, you say? Yeah, that\’s not too smart, either, considering the Steelers don\’t have depth on the defensive line.

Extend the contract of tight end Heath Miller in a hurry? Agents love it when organizations are pressed to get a deal done, so that\’s not likely to happen quickly.

Restructure Troy Polamalu and/or Ike Taylor? No, that\’s not wise to push off potential dead money into 2014.

As you can see, there are not many options here and based on the fact that the Steelers likely still want to add a few more low priced free agents, including maybe a few of their own. Matching an offer sheet to Sanders, should he indeed get one, is not likely to happen. Instead, they would most likely take the third-round draft pick that they would get as compensation for their loss and move on.

  • LouPGH

    Dave is on fire today.

    Like I said, I’m rooting for Sanders, but I’m fine with getting something for his services now as opposed to seeing him leave via free agency.

  • steeltown

    We cant cut any players for another player at this point, our depth is lacking all over. Unless some vet players take straight paycuts or they extend Ben, there really arent many other options

  • Ill take a 3rd. WRs are easy to find

  • James

    Yep, the Steelers have backed themselves into a corner with the salary cap combined with low tenders to their RFA’s. Manny has loads of potential, but if he is going to leave, it will be nice to get something back at least. The Steelers have done well drafting receivers over the past few years (Sweed being the only big miss I can think of).

  • I’ll take the third. Cheaper over the long haul and what has he really done? But if he stays, happy either way.

  • Superdriller316

    If he stays I’m happy. If he goes, I’ll take the 3rd round pick, and if we could trade back in the 1st and pick up another 3rd. Then we could trade up in the 2nd. Then we have a late 1st for a LB, then trade up in the 2nd (WR or S), (2) 3rd’s (WR and BPA), 4, 5, 6, and (2) 7th. Holes filled…

  • JohnnyV1

    I live up here in New England, and the Steelers better not let him walk out the door to the Patriots. I will be so mad, and sick to my stomach. Why didn’t they just sign him long term and top playing around. Going from top 2 or 3 receiving corps in the league to Antonio Brown & 35/36yr old Plax! C’mon man!!!

  • Maurice_hill_district

    Sign Cotchery Mr Clutch now to a 2-year deal. Get it over with now!

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    I respectfully disagree on this one. If the offer is for fair value they need to match. Despite the depth problems at the positions you mention, you are talking about keeping an older player who is being overpaid at his position at the expense of a younger player coming in to his prime who will be fairly paid.

    I also think the learning curve for young WRs is at least a year and sometimes more, which makes Sanders’ spot in the lineup tough to replace.

    Hopefully, no one takes a run at McLendon.

  • Jazz


  • I don’t think many of you realize that Manny has nfl experience and was due to have a breakout season this year. Just getting picks doesn’t help the Steelers win now. Ben needs weapons, not rookie wr’s learning how to play. I trust the F.O. but this hasn’t been a great offseason so far.

  • Douglas Andrews

    I agree glad to see someone see these players we are losing for who they really are. We only really lose a James H pro bowler and M Wallace who wasn’t gonna be happy in the Haley System. All of these other players can be replaced in the draft

  • Douglas Andrews

    There some good ones out there in this years draft too. Steelers could easily add a WR of Sanders caliber or better from this draft

  • urstudent

    I understand the releasing of James Harrison and Willie Colon and support the moves, but how can they not even resign their own players after cutting these two guys? I wanted to cut #92 so that they could resign Keenan, that didn’t happen and now Manny’s leaving too? Crazy man

  • urstudent

    for the record, a 3rd round pick for him wouldn’t be horrible, but its still fustrating