Patriots Offer Sheet Signed By Steelers WR Emmanuel Sanders Only $2.5 Million, Not $4 Million

Adam Schefter of ESPN reports on Twitter that Pittsburgh Steelers restricted free agent wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders only signed an offer sheet worth $2.5 million, and not $4 million as it was previously reported.

This difference in amount really changes my opinion on the whole situation. In fact, the Steelers already have enough cap room to afford matching that offer sheet without doing anything else. After all, it\’s not even an extra $1.2 million over his $1.323 million tender.

If Sanders is to leave after the 2013 season as an unrestricted free agent, he has a lot to prove between now and then if he indeed is expecting a big pay day. That is a $2.5 million carrot that I would be willing to dangle in front of him.

We shall now see if general manager Kevin Colbert feels the same way. The Steelers have five days to match the offer.

  • NW86

    In that case, I say keep him. A lot of folks are saying he hasn’t produced and they would rather have the 3rd round pick – but the main reason he hasn’t produced is because he was behind Hines and Wallace, then Wallace and Brown on the depth chart.
    With Wallace gone, we need Sanders, and with the opportunity to start, he will produce. You never know what you would get with the (late) 3rd round pick.

  • steeltown

    Well that kind of changes things.. not having to make any other changes, restructures, cuts, extensions to keep Sanders, I assume they’ll match the offer

  • NW86

    Basically, if they match it, they’ll still be paying a little less than if they would have put the 1st round tender on him.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    Personally, I still let him walk, but that is me. Bring in a vet like Breaston and I don’t think the offense is any worse off. Breaston is only 3.5 years older and would come in at the vet minimum.

  • steeltown

    They’ll match it.. they have the extra $1.2MIL.. though I still think they’ll draft a WR between the 2nd – 4th

  • zyzak

    The 3rd rd pick is almost a 4th. Match. he knows the system and it will piss off Ben if they let him go

  • Lamarr56

    Keep him, it’s only an extra million!

  • reg38

    Even at only 2.5 million I still let him walk.

    4 years of a WR chosen in the 3rd round > 1 year of Sanders

  • Phil Heidenreich

    If he’s healthy enough to play – a factor in us not signing him before. I say keep Sanders at that price.

  • TheBlitz

    They will match only if Sanders is part of their long term plans and they deem him worth of a long term investment. I doubt they will want to sign him just to keep him around for an extra year and let him hit the market as a FA a year from now. If they match the offer they will must likely work a long term deal with him before the beginning of the season.

  • moderatelysane

    Does he fit in haley’s offense? That is the question. He’ll produce more this year than a rookie. If they let him walk, we can assume they’re committed to a youth movement.

  • reg38

    The Steelers were about 2 million under the cap. Sanders tender was 1.3 million. So if they let him go they will be 3.3 million under the cap. I be smart!!

    With the 3.3 million sign Ahmad Bradshaw and Breaston then draft Aaron Dobson or Stedman Bailey w/ the Pats 3rd round pick.

  • This provides great drama with all of the value in the late 3rd and early 4th rounds this year. If they are going to match the Pats offer, I would rather they sign him to a 3 or 4 year deal and be done with it. We do not want to end up in same situation next year with him as a UFA. But Is he in their long term plans???

  • I like the way you think although Bailey may be gone already.

  • JP4Pitt

    This hits the nail head on. He’s an unrestricted FA next year unless the team and Sanders are willing to negotiate long term. Otherwise, the Steelers have no choice but to match the NE offer if they want to keep him for 2013. So they’ll either pay $2.5 M for a player they could easily lose in 2014 (Sanders might rather test his market value than accept the Steeler’s multi-year offer–in fact, he almost certainly would now that NE tried to lure him away), or they can draft a WR rookie, who they’ll have on a rookie contract for four years, while getting an extra 3rd round draft, greater draft flexibility, and $1.2 M in added cap space.

  • redneckmuslim

    That is interesting to find out, if it is true. I assumed the Patriots would have chosen a figure that they knew we would have a hard time matching.

    But then again, the Patriots didn’t have to offer a big number. Any offer they make that is larger than the one we have on the table puts us in a bad spot. We match, they made us spend more than we wanted to. We don’t match, they take a proven commodity from us.

    If we match the offer, we have effectively let the Patriots negotiate that deal for us. I don’t like that precedent. I would pass and take their pick just on the principle of the thing. But I can see it both ways.

  • Dan

    It does indeed change things. I think I’d rather offer a comparable long term deal (3-5 yrs) than a 1yr deal though. I assume the player has the freedom to decide which offer is “best” when there are different structures.
    Really this comes down to do we want Sanders at $2.5m or a 91st pick where we start a newer, cheaper deal for an unknown commodity. What I really dislike is that an action by the Pats costs us either money or a player…..but that’s the game I reckon.

  • Jonathon Bert Schade

    I think we have to let him go and hope for the best in the draft. It seems to me there are several WRs that could fit the bill, not just for one season either. I think there might still be doubts about his durability as well.

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    They will match this offer and use the $2.5M as a starting point for determining the bonus/guaranteed money on an extension that averages about $3M/year. Sanders may not be open to an extension, but he’ll need to understand that there is not much money out there for slot/possession receivers, so $5 or $6M guaranteed on a 4 or 5 year deal might be worth it to him. I like him and I’m glad he’ll be staying. I think the Patriots put a fair value on him.

  • SteelersDepot

    The amount change really makes you believe that this could go either way as there are good pros and cons for either. $4M was out of the question. $2.5 M creates pause.

  • Tom

    I disagree that he should be allowed to walk. Losing your number 1 and 3 receivers is generally not good. Drafting a rookie or two is one thing…..expecting two to come in and contribute at a high level, is not good planning. With as many needs as the team has, the additional 1.2 million to lock up your #2 receiver, seems like a reasonable move.

  • The Pats sure have a way of making a Team and their fans use their brains…for better or for worse. This is a certainly a tough one.

  • Nolrog

    This is making less and less sense as more information comes out. The Pats are giving up a 3rd round pick for a 1 year guy at a price easily matched (though I’d take the pick I think.)

  • Nolrog

    I’m all for signing Breaston, for the fun his name will bring alone.

  • HoustonJr

    I have to think the Patriots already have a contract extension in place for Sanders. This is against league rules, but would be impossible to prove. Otherwise, by face the risk of giving up a third round pick AND watching Sanders leave as a UFA after next season?

  • Nolrog

    They should do what’s best for the team in general, not what will or will not piss off the QB.

    This draft is supposed to be very good in the middle, so they could get another solid piece or even use one of the 3rds to trade up for someone better (like one of the studs in the first.) I say let him walk.

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    We should let manny sanders walk, here’s why: Bradshaw. Signing Manny will force us to give up the chase with Bradshaw. Now, don’t get me wrong I like Manny for most part but Bradshaw is the best player available for the scheme we run and would give us a big boost in running game. That being said, even after Manny signs with Steelers (a hypothetical situation) we’d still go after Bradshaw and guess who we will have to cut? Cotchery. Why keep Manny if you know you can’t afford him in future when you can keep a cheaper veteran?

    is manny’s character hard to replace? Yes, is his playing and production hard to replace? Not at all. In matter of fact we can find a better prospect in draft (key word: better prospect, not a better production) to fit Haley’s mold of short passes. 3rd wr should be a big target, somebody who can expose opponent in redzone (or for that, a te in that case) but we can utilitize a player if he is friendly to the scheme we run.

    I’m already almost sure C. Patterson is good as ours if he’s there by our pick. Also signing Bradshaw will let us to stay away from drafting a higher pick of rb.

    This decision won’t be based on short-term wise; but rather long-term. Thanks, Manny for your service.

  • David Edward

    I’ll try to help out here by pretending to be GM for a minute. I already have Brown signed to my #1 WR contract, so I won’t be handing out another one of those. I have Cotchery for this year @$1.5M and Burress for the reduced vet incentive of $630k, and I have two youngsters in Gilreath and Moye who have potential to be my #4 and #5. Sanders was supposed to be my #2 on paper, but he becomes a UFA in ’14 if I don’t sign him to a long-term deal. If I thought Sanders was my long-term answer as my #2 starter, I could’ve offered him a deal worthy of that designation. I offered him the $1.3M tender instead. If he wants more than what I think he’s worth as a potential #2 then I know I’d probably lose him in ’14 as a UFA anyway. If he doesn’t have a good ’13, then it wasn’t worth signing him long-term, since I could then have him cheap if I still wanted him. I can use up another $1.2M to match the offer, but that will effectively take away my ability to sign anyone else until June 1 when Colons savings kicks in. Do I really want to pay an extra $1.2M for a guy I am likely to lose next year? There are some other FA WRs out there who I can get for probably less than the $2.5 cap for Sanders, and sign to a 3 year cap friendly deal. Either way, facing the potential loss of Cotchery, Burress, and Sanders next year I was going to draft a WR anyway. If I take the 3rd round pick for Sanders,I can address most of my needs with the now 9 picks I would have…along with having more flexibility to move up in a round if I need to. Having Cotchery start out the year as my #2 isn’t a huge difference from Sanders…I lose a little speed but gain some experience. If I draft wisely and bring in a couple of playmakers, I’m better off in the long run.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    As far as value goes a 3rd round pick is reasonable for what he has done. I do think the best is yet to come for Sanders but what we lose is the exp. So even though the comp. is reasonable the 3rd round pick will not be ready to add what Sanders will add this year.

  • Jazz

    I think it’s time Colbert and Tomlin start drafting players with the mindset they will be contributing in their 1st year. Why draft a player and you have already made up your mind he will only be used for depth? Even if the players was drafted late, if he comes in and plays better than a starter, allow the kid to play! What better way to learn than OJT? Example, Kelvin Beachum in 2012.

  • HoustonJr

    Agreed. I like Manny. He has a lot of upside. But currently – he’s an average WR who has yet to really show anything. He can easily be replaced.

  • TsarPepe

    Do the Steelers want to retain a player who has expressed already a desire to be with another team (by signing a pretty low 1-yr tender)?

  • rizzo29

    When have the patriots played by league rules

  • TsarPepe

    This is probably true. It would also answer the question of why Sanders would leave the Steelers for just a 1-year deal that doesn’t pay much.

  • TsarPepe

    The Pats are figuring that their 3d-rd pick is really almost a 4th, and this is a good value for Sanders. They will eventually sign him long term, no doubt.

  • TsarPepe

    Doesn’t quite work that way. Yes, 4 years is more than 1, on paper, but only on paper. Third-round receivers take time to develop into real NFL players. By the time they do, there may well be just one year left on their rookie contracts. Sanders is the best proof of this: a 3d rounder who is just emerging.

  • Nolrog

    But what puzzles me, is why not just sign him for longterm now? It won’t change the compensation they have to give up or anything, and they could have structured a longer term deal with more $$ up front to make it less likley the Steelers could match.

  • Superdriller316

    I think you have to look at all avenues with Manny. I’m sure the FO wasn’t to pleased with “YOUNG MONEY”. There wasn’t a lot of production and to many drops. With an original round tender there is two out comes. 1) you keep him at a cheaper amount. 2) you dump him off and get a third round pick.

    Looking at it from Manny’s side. He got another mill two which is good for him. He must have thought that the Steelers wouldn’t offer him a long term deal later in the year like they did AB. So, it could be that Manny doesn’t want to be here anyway. If we match the deal and we can’t sign him to a long term deal, then he walks and we have to wait and hope we can get a comp pick the following year.

    IMHO, and I could be dead wrong, but I think the FO sees a WR or two in the draft that they want and put the original round tender on Manny hoping someone would take him. That would explain why they signed PLAX so quick. We also have guys that were on PS that need to step up too. If the new WR coach is a real coach then he can make the WR’s better. He had Keyshawn Johnson in Tampa and they say he’s a no-nonsense guy, so hopefully he will work out. I think the Steelers let him walk and take the pick.

    I’m not big on having a lot of sub six foot WR ‘s, but if Manny goes I will feel a lot more comfortable if they pick up Bailey in the draft. We need a tall aggressive WR to be the #1 first and pick up Bailey in the 3rd.

  • Cody Younkin

    Let him go and draft two good WR

  • hergieburbur

    So we likely replace him with an unknown quantity of about the same upside? Makes little sense to me.

  • hergieburbur

    If it is 2.5, I think we have to match. We aren’t likely to get more than another Sanders out of the third round pick anyway, which we would almost have to use on a WR, so why not stick with the known quantity?

  • steeltown

    Im torn.. but if it really would only cost another $1.2MIL to retain him then I hope they do match the offer. One reason is Cotchery is a UFA after this season and Burress might not stick either, so even with a rookie draft pick this year at WR, we still need the quality depth that Sanders provides

    Of course, this is with the speculation that they intend on keeping Sanders long term

    In a perfect world, we find a stud WR in this years draft to play opposite A.Brown and then also extend Sanders and Cotchery to reasonable multi-yr deals to be #3 and #4 respectively

  • Superdriller316

    What’s the odds that the Steelers put the original round tender on him to try and get rid of him? Maybe the whole “YOUNG MONEY” thing really got to them after the poor showing of the WR’s last year. It’s not like there isn’t a lot of talent at WR in this years draft class.

  • HoustonJr

    Yes – An unknown quantity of about the same upside… with a lower salary 🙂

  • dgh57

    I don’t like Bradshaw because of his chronic foot problems! This foot problem he has now isn’t the 1st time he has dealt with this issue. He hasn’t played a full season yet both because of competition and injuries. Giants must of seen the same thing and decided to move on with RB David Wilson instead!

  • SteelersDepot

    the timing of the burress signing was quite surprising.

  • Richard Edlin

    Given the number of teams that are likely to be willing to trade down this year, where would R1#17 and R3#91 allow you to trade up to?

    If they’re looking at corners, could this bring Milliner into play?

  • hergieburbur

    And less experience, and less of an impact this year, and a longer learning curve…

    Look at it this way, Sanders is just now coming in to his own, by making the swap, they would be trading him for a guy that MAY have an impact in a few years, whereas they would be critically thin at the position now. Rookie WRs rarely play a huge role for their teams, especially later round ones.

  • hergieburbur

    While they should draft guys with the intention of them being more than just depth guys, it is a mistake to only draft guys you think can contribute year one. Those are the kinds of picks teams like the Jags or Bills make, or teams that are fully into cap hell, while we are still only on the edge of cap hell.

  • LucasY59

    I don’t like the idea of giving Sanders a 2.5 mil salary (with nothing guaranteeing he will come back, or that he wont want a contract that doesn’t fit the salary cap) I would take the 3rd rd pick, if they really want him back sign him as a UFA next year.
    (Sanders wasn’t worth 2.5 mil last year his fumbles and drops were not impressive and he is the biggest injury risk of any of the WR’s. If he plays well this season it will only make him think he is worth a big contract the Steelers salary cap can’t afford)

    I would rather have the extra pick this year (the 2nd and 3rd rounds seem to be the best “value” picks in this draft) and the comp picks in the 2014 draft will be the way the Steelers can become a younger (and more salary cap friendly team) the next two years will be the time for them to build the team with a young new core of players
    Wallace and Sanders were 3rd rd picks, this years WR depth is very good through the 3rd rd (use the 2 picks they would have in the 3rd on WR’s and they could replace the losses this offseason)

  • David Edward

    Agreed Superdriller. I actually thought Gilreath should have made the 53 man out of camp last year. Instead they went with only 4 WR. I had Gilreath slotted as #5 again this year with the potential to be a #4 someday. To me he can replace some of the things Sanders did…in time.

  • reg38

    3rd round pick Mike Wallace says….Hello!

    Rookie year 756 yds 6 TDs

    Maybe Wallace is “the best proof of this”

    This message is endorsed by 2012 3rd rounder TY Hilton

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    That doesn’t really take away what Bradshaw can produce. Yes he had this problem before but if you split the carries between him and dwyer I can see the stone being moved downward the field. Because of his health risk, the signing should be cheap. Just because Giants let him go and chosen to stay with David Wilson doesn’t mean Wilson is now a better back.

    This signing has more to do with long-term than short-term. Remember this.

  • sgishusa

    Let’s review the Steeler’s track record with 3rd round picks. 2012 – Sean Spence (may never play again), 2011 – Curtis Brown (so far a disappointment), 2010 – Sanders (TBD), 2009 – Urbick (Buf), Wallace (Mia), Lewis (Saints), 2008 – Bruce Davis (cut), 2007 – Spaeth, 2006 – Anthony Smith & Willie Reid. So you really think the Patriot’s pick is worth much given this record? I say match the offer and focus on other needs in the draft, including a WR for the future.

  • Ahmad

    NO DEAL! match the offer and keep Sanders. If we can keep bringing in and keeping old vets then we can afford to overspend a little on a young, talented WR.