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. The Steelers will more than likely take the Patriots third round draft pick as compensation and address the wide receiver position twice in the draft.
Even if the Steelers were to wind up matching the Sanders offer sheet, there would be no guarantee that they would be able to get him extended past this season. In other words, he could easily walk off next offseason as an unrestricted free agent.
The Steelers currently have wide receivers Antonio Brown, Jerricho Cotchery, Plaxico Burress, David Gilreath, Kashif Moore, Derek Moye and Bert Reed all under contract, and the additional $1.323 million in cap space that would be created would also allow another veteran such as Steve Breaston, assuming his knee checks out, to be signed for the minimum to compete for a roster spot.
The Steelers are almost certain to carry at least five wide receivers on the 53 man roster in 2013, so there could be as many as two wide receivers drafted later this month once Sanders is allowed to leave.
In his three years with the Steelers, Sanders has registered just four red zone touchdowns and caught six passes that were thrown more than 20 yards. While he was an excellent blocker and route runner, he is replaceable.
The Steelers are not ones to overpay wide receivers, and based on everything that Sanders has done up until this point, he is not worth a one-year, $4 million deal.