Extension For Steelers WR Emmanuel Sanders Not Likely To Happen Even If Offer Sheet Is Matched

Should the Pittsburgh Steelers wind up matching the one-year, $2.5 million offer sheet that restricted free agent wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders with the New England Patriots, all the discussion will then shift to the possibility of working out a long-term extension with him before the 2013 season.

Personally, I don\’t see an extension in his future.

First off, Sanders, much like Mike Wallace last season, will have over $2 million in his pocket and a potential breakout season ahead of him to improve his value. Not signing an extension this offseason would allow him to become an unrestricted free agent next offseason. Sure, it\’s a risk, but Wallace was rewarded big time for taking it, and I suspect Sanders is willing to take it as well.

Second, what the Steelers will be wanting to pay Sanders will not even come close to the $43.04 million contract that fellow Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown signed last offseason. While that total value might look big, it only included an $8.5 million signing bonus.

Sanders cap hit in 2013, should the Steelers indeed match the Patriots offer sheet, would be $2.5 million, and in my opinion, that would give him and his agent Jordan Woy pretty strong bargaining power with the Steelers, who have never been known to overspend on wide receivers.

Sanders has already been courted by another team merely being a restricted free agent with only 94 career receptions for 1,290 yards and five touchdowns in his first three seasons in the league. That bite of the free agent apple had to taste good and will likely taste even better should he increase his numbers in 2013.

Prior to and since placing the $1.323 million restricted tender on Sanders, the Steelers have most likely already explored the possibility of working out an extension with their former third-round draft pick. It would be pretty foolish if they haven\’t. I imagine, however, that those talks were short, if indeed they took place.

In addition to Sanders, the Steelers also need to be prepared to work out extensions next offseason with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and center Maurkice Pouncey. In addition to them, linebacker Jason Worilds and defensive end Ziggy Hood are also both entering the final years of their rookie contracts this season. Should Worilds breakout like the Steelers hope that he will,  they might be forced to use the franchise tag on him next offseason until an extension is worked out. That\’s the process that took place with LaMarr Woodley just a few years ago.

In short, Sanders is way down the pecking order as far as new contracts and available future money go. Unless he is willing to take peanuts in the form of guaranteed money, I suspect that he might be playing his final year in Pittsburgh should the Steelers match his offer sheet.

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • steeltown

    I agree.. there are a lot of players up for new deals or contract extensions in ’14 and most of them are more important than Sanders extension would be

  • hergieburbur

    Personally, I don’t think they match at all if they don’t intend to offer an extension. Now that says nothing for his side of things, but I think that is how they would see it.

  • hergieburbur

    I’m probably in the minority here, but if he stays and has an at all decent year, I would prefer they extend Sanders before Hood.

  • Joey

    Let him go. Take the 3rd round pick. The excuse that Ben needs him is not good enough. Ben has good rapport with Jerricho, Burress, and Brown. Sign Breaston to the veteran min and sign Ahmad Bradshaw as well. Then draft Johnathan Franklin with the extra pick.

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    I think $43M contract for Brown was pretty big considering he was 2 years away from free agency, not 1. In addition to the 8.5 bonus last year, he had the roster bonus for this year and is pocketing close to $15M in the first 2 years of the contract when you add in his salaries. If the Steelers would have done nothing with him last year and given him a first round tender this year, that total payout would have been around $4M for last year and this year. I could be wrong, but aside from Wallace I don’t think there were any WR contracts that even sniffed this level since the time Brown signed his contract.

    It seems to me the market is splitting for WRs. Guys who get down the field get big money, everyone else is treated as interchangeable.

  • zyzak

    Sanders isn’t Wallace in any fashion, less greed more grounded worth the money

  • hergieburbur

    Burress is far from an every down guy at this point. If they let him walk, they pretty much have to use the pick on another WR since they are so thin there. Cotch and Burress are both on the wrong side of 30, and Brown is the only other guy with any experience under 30. You can’t count on a rookie to come in and produce, so letting him walk is a risk.

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    I completely agree. You would have to think they’ve talked to his agents about the likelihood of an extension.

  • steeltown

    Cotchery is 30yrs old.. he’ll be 31 this year, thats nowhere near the wrong side of 30.. and Im sorry, but we see time and time again that WR’s can produce their rookie yrs, hell even QB’s can produce their rookie yrs

  • steeltown

    You are probably not in the minority, alot of fans seem to be down on Hood, but if they dont extend Hood then next offseason when Hood and Keisel walk, we’ll have no depth.. even the backup Al Woods is a UFA after this season. We would literally have Heyward on the depth chart

  • hergieburbur

    He’ll be 31 and has had injury issues in the past, and he won’t get any younger, that is what I meant.

    As for rookie WR, I had this debate here last night, and I am not having it again. Here are the simple facts on that: Rookie WRs CAN have very good, even great years. But statistically, only about 15-20% have years equal to what Sanders did last year. So it is a loser’s bet to count on one doing so.

  • T R

    If you not going to extend him then the Steelers should just let him go now and get the 3rd rd pick for 4 years instead of nothing after 2013

  • Tim Bodamer

    This is a 2-year process.. Let him go. You draft a wideout and you have him for four years at a rookie contract. They could draft a tight end, run 2 tight end sets, and have four wideouts on game day. Gilreath is also an option. Let’s face it, the Steelers are not going to win the Super Bowl this year (just being realistic).. Let’s retool. I say two years because next year they will have compensatory picks for wallace, menndenhall and lewis… So they may have five of the 100 picks next year, and four of the top 100 this year.

  • Lamarr56

    If we were to sign him, would we need to clear up more cap space for the draft?

  • hergieburbur

    Yeah, we need to address the position no doubt, and I am ok with Hood as a role player. I just don’t think he deserves big money. I don’t think his skill set fits our scheme all that well and he would do better in a 4-3.

    You are right of course that they need to plan for Keisel’s retirement, though I don’t see anyone taking a run at Woods.

  • steeltown

    No, they’ll receive $5-6MIL from the Colon June 1st designation

  • hergieburbur

    No. Draft picks don’t typically sign until after the Colon money comes off the books.

  • Isaac Reveles

    let him walk, draft Ryan Swoope.

  • hergieburbur

    Given, I am only addressing one year here, the long term prospects are of course better with a rookie if they aren’t going to extend, but I still think they extend if they match. So looking at a one year comparison, it is no comparison.

  • hergieburbur

    They already have 3 of the top100. I think you meant 4?

  • steeltown

    I’ll agree, its not a given, but neither is Sanders staying healthy or him being able to produce more than 2TD’s in a given season.. just saying

    I do know that for the most part, the Steelers have a pretty good track record of drafting WR’s.. Im not a betting man, but I bet they’ll find a WR in the draft that catches more than 1-2TD’s next season
    All im saying is, losing Sanders would not be the end of the world or even the end of the season

  • Joey

    I agree on Burress, but with that extra pick we can get something we need or an extra Wide Receiver. Or we can even take a need (LB, RB, or DB) I believe it is a huge risk, but I think it is a necessary risk. We sign Bradshaw and Breaston, and they will help us be stronger on offense!

  • steeltown

    I’ll agree, if they match the offer I think they’ll eventually try and get him extended.. although maybe they feel he’s worth $2.5MIL for this season alone, they might… either way, they’ll be drafting atleast one rookie WR… I guess both questions will be answered over the next couple weeks

  • $19122620

    Then I think it would be stupid to match the offer.

  • hergieburbur

    The TDs are a concern, though I still think part of that is Ben having RZ favorites, which I am ok with to an extent, as long as the scoring is there. Sanders isn’t a breakaway threat, we all know that, but I haven’t see anything from him to make me think he CAN’T score.

  • hergieburbur

    Both of those guys are huge injury risks. Especially Breaston.

  • steeltown

    True.. he is capable of scoring… and with Wallace gone and Heath rehabbing, we’ll need him to

  • Tim Bodamer

    Thanks.

  • Joey

    I like the conservativity of the Steelers brass, but I wouldn’t mind a little risk.

  • Pat Lopez

    Why did the Steelers sign their draft picks to 3 year contracts? They put themselves in a bad position.

  • steeltown

    I dont know.. the more and more I think about it, the more I think if it is truly only $2.5MIL (total) to retain him in 2013, they will match it, even if they DONT have long term plans for him. It’s not really all that much, especially if he is being considered the #2… and it would give the eventual rookie draft pick time to fully grasp the system before stepping into the #2 role

  • Clint Martin

    Swope there it is!

  • Maurice_hill_district

    Right on.

  • ty019@hotmail.com

    1st problem is that they over paid brown. 2nd this is a 3rd round pick that you have developed that you will allow to leave for another 3 round pick. It makes no sense. Since the steelers have many holes it only will make sense if they can use the 2nd round pick on latimore store him to mid to late season and that way you have a beast running back. Also, no way is redman worthy of a million a year.

  • hergieburbur

    Dave wrote a piece on that a while back, basically it was a combination of signing cheaper contracts, and allowing players to test the RFA market and see what teams were willing to offer them prior to becoming UFAs.

  • hergieburbur

    It normally takes 3-4 years for a WR to have a full impact, so they may match just to buy that first year.

  • moderatelysane

    I agree for the most part. It’s 2.5M for a year of what should be around 1000 yds. Additional twist though. You can now look at it as costing the steelers $2.5M and a 3rd round draft pick to keep Sanders. Is he worth that?

  • http://twitter.com/softdrums Shea Fahr

    If Ben was nearing the end of his window, I would say match it. The Steelers think Ben probably has another 4-5 years with an extension coming next season so that is plenty enough time to take the Pats 3rd and bring in some new young talent to get number 7 in the trophy case. I like Manny but I would prefer to get the pick unless both sides could work out an extension….but I have a hard time seeing that happen. This is tough.

  • Maurice_hill_district

    Sanders must be happy, anybody woud be, goin to a better team, better QB, & hate to admit it but better coach too. Its like Christmas for the dude. I thought Pats would find a better WR in free agency though, I dint think Emmanuel is a playoff caliber anything, even if to be a 3rd wr.

    Breaston sucks.

  • steeltown

    I still have to disagree with you there.. I’ll give you a bit of underproduction in the first season due to not fully grasping the system, but 3-4yrs??… If a WR has not produced in 3-4yrs he could be labeled a bust and may never produce, even the aforementioned Breaston had a 1,000yd season in his second year…… but Im starting to come around to the fact that Sanders is worth the $2.5MIL for one more season, while a rookie finds his footing

  • steeltown

    Well.. also remember if we lose him to FA in 2014, we’ll most likely gain a compensatory pick

  • http://twitter.com/softdrums Shea Fahr

    Yeah, I keep falling off both sides of this fence..

  • steeltown

    We could possibly still get a compensatory pick in 2015 for losing him to FA in 2014

  • steeltown

    It is tough…
    I think we can all agree that they will draft a WR in the upcoming draft… that much we can be sure of…. but… will they draft two?

  • http://twitter.com/softdrums Shea Fahr

    It is possible, they have done it before and have done it at other positions as well. It is also possible they see something they like in one of the young guys they already have contracted like Gilreath ect. I think it is also safe to say we are going to see a bit more of the running game this year as well.

  • greeny

    Keep an aging D and let go the young offensive weapons…..Please don’t tell me #1 ranked D. We had a ball control predictable offense and the D wasn’t on the field. They can’t sack a QB or get turnovers. This is idiotic but so was keeping the team together last year while firing the OC. Steelers need to learn from the ravens organization unfortunately.

  • steeltown

    Agreed… all of the Sanders talk over the last week or two has kind of blinded us to the fact that RB is just as much of a need as WR.. and I for one am excited to see a healthy DeCastro next to Pouncey and the new zone scheme in motion

  • steeltown

    I have a feeling they will draft two WR’s whether they keep Sanders or not, the reason being, Cotchery, Sanders and Burress are all UFA’s in 2014

  • http://twitter.com/softdrums Shea Fahr

    Speaking of RB..say Bradshaw looks like he is healing nicely. Would you take back the tender offered to Redman, match the Sanders deal and sign Bradshaw?? Then Draft a nice RB and a Wide Out or 2 and move on.

  • Chad H

    Hailey is high on the TE position. With Miller injured and won’t start the season I see them taking Eifert who can play wide out as well. Stedman Bailey in the 3rd. With Brown, Cotchery, Burress and Bailie we will be good. Now Miller comes back in week 3 or 4. Imagine Miller, Eifert, Brown and Burress in the red zone.

  • hergieburbur

    Statistically, that is when WRs come into their peak seasons. Not saying they do nothing before that, just that it is when they hit their best. Look at Ward’s career. He had decent year’s 2 and 3, but year 4 is when he really exploded into the WR he would go on to be. That is what I am getting on, not that we wouldn’t get anything out of them beforehand.

  • Kevin Gobleck

    I think our FO has confidence in Gilreath as a third or fourth string. To let sanders go

  • David Edward

    Hi Chad, I’ve said this before…I like the idea of drafting Eiffert. He can create mismatches all over the field..lining up in slot, outside, in motion out of backfield, and inline. Some people have expressed concerns about a rookie coming in and being productive, but I think it’s quite possible, especially for a guy like Eiffert.

  • David Edward

    Some of you may remember what Will Allen said about the locker room after he signed with Dallas. He mentioned that on the Offence some guys were complaining and not “drinking the juice” about Haley’s system, and wanting the ball more because they were going to be FAs. Most assume he was talking about Wallace because that seems obvious, but I think he meant Sanders too. Even if Sanders wasn’t complaining as much as Wallace…you know he will be if they match the Pats offer. He wants to get paid as a UFA, and will want more balls thrown his way than Brown or a TE. Honestly, all of the “young money” WRs are replaceable, and the Steelers made their choice in singing Brown to the big contract. Smart money is taking the pick @ 91 and moving forward with some new playmakers they will draft.

  • RMSteeler

    Take the pick and get a Wes Welker clone: Ryan Swope. Can’t believe the Pats would pass on a probable shot at Swope for Sanders. Pats are are a lose/lose. They let Welker go and now are signing sheets for #3/4 WR’s?

  • Admiral Ackbar

    IMO the Steelers have a Win/Win either way, when the win happens is the difference. If they don’t match they get NE’s 3’rd (91) in the 2013 draft. If they do it’s a 1year contract and he’s a FA next year. If he goes elsewhere next year and meets the qualifying conditions the Steelers get a 3rd round 2015 comp pick for losing a play in FA that they drafted. Either way they get a 3, just a matter of when they get it.

  • JC

    In my opinion this team isn’t going to compete for a championship with Sanders anyways, so we might as well take the pick and start the rebuilding process. Hers my mock draft prediction if that happens.

    Round 1 – WR T. Austin – West Virginia
    Round 2 – OLB J. Collins – Southern Miss
    Round 3 – SS JJ. Wilcox – Georgia Southern
    Round 3 – WR S. Bailey – West Virginia (pick from NE)
    Round 4 – RB C. Michael – Texas A&M
    Round 5 – CB W. Davis – Utah State
    Round 6 – TE M. Riveria – Tennessee
    Round 6 – ILB V. Williams – Florida State ( compensatory pick)
    Round 7 – OT L. Marquardt – Arizona Pacific

  • LucasY59

    yeah but its very unlikely to be a 3rd rd comp pick and the Steelers don’t get it until 2015, They should let him go unless they plan on keeping him long term

  • LucasY59

    I may be one of the few that actually thinks Hood is a good DE that fits the team’s scheme (yes he could perform better) I don’t think he or Woods will require a lot to resign, but it only takes one interested team to outbid the Steelers. The depth hopefully wont be too much of a problem, get a later rd pick in this draft to replace Keisel after this year (Heyward is the real replacement so the new player would be for depth) if Hood or Woods leave next year there are extra comp picks in next years draft to replace them. (the only problem is if it takes 3+ years before a young new player gets to be on the field and contributes)

  • LucasY59

    I cant believe you would write that comment here, you should go to New England with Sanders. better team, better QB, better coach? sounds like you need to find a better website to comment on (is there a patriots depot?) Belicheat hasn’t won a super bowl since spygate.

  • LucasY59

    They were already going to draft a WR this year if the Draft pick is a good one he will be the #2 no later than next season (#3 this season) Cotchery and Burress should be able to hold for this season, Cotch was stuck on the sidelines since he came from the Jets, when he did get snaps he usually produced (at least as much as Sanders) Plax didn’t get many snaps last year, but when he did he had some good results. I would like to see more of the big catch over the middle going above the defenders to get a first down (something none of the other WR on the roster can do) or catching a TD and not acting like he won the superbowl (because he already has a superbowl winning TD, and has had enough TD’s in his career that another is not a reason to act ridiculous)

  • LucasY59

    3rd rd comp picks are given for losing big time UFA’s Sanders would need to make the probowl or get a huge contract (Wallace’s $ or more) to earn a 3rd rd comp pick. they would probably receive a 5th rd comp for Sanders

  • LucasY59

    the other part that doesn’t make sense is they have only brought in slot type WR’s, they need outside deep threats. with the way the patriots bring in WR’s during the offseason they may cut Sanders before the season and then the Steelers can bring him back plus have the extra draft pick.

  • LucasY59

    I agree if Ben only has 5 more years, restock with young playmaker’s the next two years, so he has 2-3 more shots at winning a Superbowl. plus those young players will help ease the transition when they have to find a new QB

  • LucasY59

    so they can steal draft picks from Belicheat and the Hateriots, its just bait to use on other teams, If they wanted to keep Sanders they would’ve used a higher tender or extended him already

  • steeltown

    Thats tough.. being that I see Redman and Dwyer as the same mold/type of RB, I think that would be a possibility.

    Again though regardless of what happens with Sanders, I see them drafting a RB and 2 WR’s because of all of the UFA’s after this season

  • hergieburbur

    “I would like to see more of the big catch over the middle going above
    the defenders to get a first down (something none of the other WR on the
    roster can do)”

    You think Burress does this a lot? It’s never been his forte, and he has caused a lot of INTs throughout his career by hesitating over the middle. Yes, he does well in a spot role as the big WR, but he is no longer a guy that can be counted on every down. Even the Jets know this and they only had one WR on their roster at the time…

    I already acknowledged they need to draft a WR either way, IMO, letting Sanders walk just ups that number to 2.

  • LucasY59

    I’m not trying to say that Burress will be the star WR he used to be, I don’t think he is going to be a main part of the offense next year (#3 or 4), just that he can still contribute and if Sanders leaves the Steelers will not be completely with out depth depth behind A.Brown with Cotchery, Burress, and a Draft pick

  • hergieburbur

    This is true, but Burress is no more than a #4 at this point. We play a lot of 3WR sets, and he isn’t a player that can do that anymore. While the draft pick is appealing, and if Breaston were healthy and signed I would be all over it, the idea of drafting a WR KNOWING they have to be top 3 just grates at me. Of course, maybe Gilreath or Moye will surprise us…

  • http://www.facebook.com/bill.sanford.923 Bill Sanford

    I may be mistaken but I think Bens up for renewal in the very near future, if he decides he is tired of all the bull crap , screwing up by the front office with the offense, he may decide to look else where as well, and let the steelers screw things up for another qb.