Options Steelers Have To Create Cap Room Should They Want To Keep Emmanuel Sanders

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.

  • redneckmuslim

    I was never sure if the Patriots would sign him. But I was always convinced we would let him go if they did. If we really wanted to keep him, we would have already performed one of the restructures Dave mentioned and made him a decent offer. I think we had a take it or leave it attitude when we offered him the tender.

    I think that attitude comes in large part from the ball control issues. That really seems to put you on Tomlin’s bad side for a long time. Sanders had 44 catches and 3 fumbles last year. Not to mention the injuries.

    I think they will take a third round pick for him and try again.

  • PetySteel

    See YA Sanders!!

  • steeltown

    Nope, none of these is an option IMO

    Cotchery is worth way more than that, so is Redman, releasing and ulitmately losing Redman to keep Sanders would be solving one problem by creating another, instead of no WR depth, we’d have no RB depth… and they should definitely not restructure Troy or Ike

    Restructuring or extending Heath is the only option and I dont see it happening due to his injury unknowns

  • Dan

    NO MORE 2014 DEAD MONEY!!! And I agree we keep the tender on Redman. I expect we’ll draft an RB, but I still feel that once our line is in order either Dwyer or Redman or both will do just fine.

    Speaking of the draft, looks like we’ll now have the 79th and the 91st pick in round 3. Seems like offer sheet compensation ought to be based on overall pick value instead of round. Later slotted teams have to pay less since bottom of a round is worth less than top of a round…especially in rd 1.

  • $19122620

    Yeah, I tend to agree. You know I have not been an advocate of drafting C. Patterson in the first round, but let’s say he is still on the board come our 17th round pick (which I would be sort of surprised), I now would be cool with them drafting him (again as long as it doesn’t require them moving up to draft him).

    This could leave them drafting (1) Patterson, (2) LB, and then RB and S in the 3rd rounds and maybe Boyce or another WR prospect in the 4th (Boyce has a lot in common with Sanders anyhow). Seems like the 3rd round is offering solid value at the RB, S position so that is why it would make sense to address those positions in those rounds. However, the 3rd round LB prospects seem to drop off a decent bit from the 2nd round caliber prospects, IMO, hence drafting a LB in the 2nd.

  • untitled

    Cut Keisel?

  • David Edward

    I would be surprised if they do anything to match the Sanders deal. Truth is, they already invested the “big” money on Brown and that’s probably why Sanders took the offer. He knows Steelers weren’t going to give him $4M for 1 year and he can becomes a UFA next year regardless. This is a good draft to have extra picks on second day since there more guys available with that type of grade (2-3rd round) than picks…meaning there is more value to be had in 3rd round than the first round actually.

  • TJimmy

    I guess I’m in a minority here but I really think the team needs Emmanuel Sanders. His lack of production is mainly due to his lack of playing time, not his lack of receiving skills.

    You can’t draft a receiver out of college and expect him to be instantly productive enough to replace Sanders. If Pittsburgh wants to have a passing game this year, they simply can’t afford to lose both Wallace and Sanders. I look for them to match the offer and sign him to a multi-year deal.

  • steeltown

    No way, we would have no depth at DE.. again solving one problem and creating another

  • steeltown

    Im still tired of people trashing Cotchery..every article I read on NFL or wherever say things like the Steelers have no one behind A.Brown and Sanders… I know Cotchery is not a #1 WR anymore but the dude is clutch. He is the epitome of not getting enough playing time

  • Eric MacLaurin

    I would either sign him long term or let him go.

    I don’t get the concern with deferring a million dollars for a year if you can do something you want but I would prefer a 3rd round choice to one year of Sanders.

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    They should ask Polamalu to take a pay cut. He is getting paid way above the market for safeties of his age. They should rescind Redman. They don’t need both him and Dwyer at that amount if they are looking at a guy like Bradshaw or someone in the top half of the draft to share the RB spot.

    They should not extend Miller. The market for tight ends is coming down and he is on the wrong side of 30.

    By the way, these are all things that should be done regardless of whether or not they are keeping Sanders.

  • untitled

    Good point. I thought Heyward as a replacement but didnt consider depth.

  • untitled

    I agree fully. He’s not as talented as Sanders but he’s much more reliable and I have more faith in him. Not a starter but he also doesnt leave his brain at home like sanders does.

  • David Edward

    Bingo! I really don’t have a problem with Cotchery as the #2 to start the season. He has some Hines in him, and if they draft wisely and get a play maker or two they will be better off in the long run than keeping Sanders.

  • Jazz

    He’s not that clutch; he couldn’t get on the field ahead of Brown or Sanders. Hmm! Why is that? Because he is Clutch? Not! I really don’t see the Steelers keeping Cotchery and Burress on the roster in 2013.

  • David Edward

    Quite frankly Jayson, I don’t see Sanders or Cotchery as the long-term answer as #2 WR, so that being the case I’ll take Cotchery, the pick @91, and the $1.2M for this year and help myself by drafting a playmaker.

  • steeltown

    That’s crazy.. maybe you forget that he was the guy who caught the game tying 30+yd TD that allowed us to go to OT against Denver in the playoffs, yes, we lost in OT, but wouldn’t have had that chance otherwise. He doesn’t see the field much but when he does he’s clutch, 12 of his 17catches in 2012 went for first downs. Plus he’s the best blocking WR on roster next to Sanders and he’s a bargain at $1.5MIL he cost as much as a tendered player does… you might not see his value, but I do

    Not saying that he’s the answer, not even saying that he’s a #2, but he is great depth when your #2 goes down

    Quality veteran experience, every Team needs it

  • steeltown

    I am in no way saying Cotchery should be #2, but he is great depth in case the #2 goes down

  • walter mason

    I guess cutting Ziggy Hood is out of the question lol. Just thinking (or trying to think) I dont like the thought of cutting Redman.

    But I wonder how much would we save? Does he have dead money?

  • steeltown

    Who Hood? He’s in the final yr of his rookie deal.. I think the dead money would be around $1MIL on him, I think..
    But thats crazy, again we dont have any depth behind Hood, in fact we need another DE even with Hood on roster, being that Keisel is in the final yr of his contract

  • Ahmad

    Have Ben give up $1 million of his salary though what are the odds of that happening?