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 apply against the one-year deal, which is believed to be $4 million or so. They also currently have just under $2 million in cap space to work with. So in essence, they will need to come up with another $1 million or so in cap space to afford the offer sheet.
They could release veteran wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery and clear a million in cap space instantly. Another option would be to pull the unsigned $1.323 million restricted tender off of the table from running back Isaac Redman.
So what about another contract restructure? Sure, they have the ability to restructure Troy Polamalu, Ike Taylor or Heath Miller, but all come with the risk of kicking more potential dead money into 2014. Miller is coming off of a serious knee injury, while both Polamalu and Taylor very well could be playing their final seasons in Pittsburgh.
Remember, the Steelers will not get any additional cap space until June 2nd as that is when the release of guard Willie Colon becomes official. Signing Sanders to a one-year deal will not guarantee that he doesn\’t walk after the 2013 season as an unrestricted free agent. Is it worth running your cap space all of the way to the top to keep Sanders for one more season? That is the decision that Colbert must make between now and the beginning of next week.