Categorized | 2013 Draft, Article, Free Agents, News

Steelers Match Emmanuel Sanders Offer Sheet


The Pittsburgh Steelers have decided to match the one-year, $2.5 million offer sheet given to restricted free agent wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders by the New England Patriots.

By matching the offer sheet, the Steelers will have roughly $750,000 in salary cap space until June 2nd rolls around unless other moves are made.

Sanders was drafted by the Steelers in the third round of 2010 draft out of SMU. Since being drafted, Sanders has recorded 94 regular season catches for 1,290 yards and 5 touchdowns in 40 games. In 2012, he had career highs in both receptions and yardage as he registered 44 catches for 626 yards and a touchdown.

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About Dave Bryan

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

    If sanders leaves next year, are the steelers in line for a compensation pick? I believe they would be, potentially as high as the third round pick, depending on several factors. I believe the steelers matched because of this potential comp pick and because they believe sanders will help the team this year.

  • Addison

    They better sign him long or it’s tunnel vision here.

  • Dan

    A 3rd rd pik was a steal for him they should’ve let him go

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

    I would be happy either way they went with this. I think they still have the option of trading him to the Pats or someone else for that pick on draft day anyway if they feel a certain player they really want may fall to them. If they do plan on keeping him, I really hope they can work a 3-5 year deal out though.

  • zyzak

    3rd

  • hergieburbur

    Yes, if he plays as much as expected, a 3rd is likely. Though I think they will try pretty hard to extend him in camp.

  • Kirby Hogenmiller

    We are in for a bad year. wasted opportunity by the Steelers.

  • hergieburbur

    I think they try to, but it just might be a short term thing as well, if they looked at it from the standpoint of letting him go puts them too at risk for a poor season.

  • hergieburbur

    Looks like they saw this pretty much the same as I did. While the third is appealing, there were too many other reasons to keep him that outweighed the cap/draft picks.

  • Dan

    I bleed the black and gold but if u were sanders and it was your career who would u rather play with Brady all day. He’s pissed I guaranteed it

  • hergieburbur

    Maybe, maybe not. Brady is a better QB, yes, but look at the situation up in NE. They have a habit of bringing in WRs, then discarding them quickly. They heavily use their TEs and whoever Brady’s favorite target is for that year (which likely will be Amendola), which could hurt Sanders numbers. Here, he figures to be a much larger part of our offense, and they will likely try to extend him, although the Pats definitely shifted the leverage in his favor there.

  • hergieburbur

    Hardly a steal. While the pick would be nice, it is outweighed by the prospect of having to completely retool the offense in just one season. They were looking at possibly starting the year with a dramatically different (and lets be honest, downgraded in at least the short term) receiving corps, a new starting TE, likely a new RB in the rotation, and a QB that is in the middle of his prime and pissed off that they let so many of his weapons walk. I am sure that is a big part of what tipped the balance for them.

  • $19122620

    If the 3rd round pick was of the beginning or middle round variety I’d say they would have let him go. But seeing that is was a late 3rd round probably played some into their decision to match the offer.

  • Dan

    Balt got a 6th rd pik for boldin sanders is worth a 6th but if we don’t resign him to an extension we will get a comp pik

  • hergieburbur

    Baltimore didn’t get anything for Boldin yet, they won’t until next year. They run a year behind. On top of that, it does not depend only on the player that departed, but also upon the other players signed as FAs, and Baltimore brought in a few of those last season as well. We rarely bring in any. If you are using that as the measuring stick for “a steal” you are looking at it all wrong.

  • hergieburbur

    To help you understand, here is where Baltimore’s comp’s come from:

    “The Ravens lost six free agents after the 2011 season, Ben Grubbs, Jarret Johnson, Brandon McKinney, Haruki Nakamura, Cory Redding and Tom Zbikowski. They signed free agents Sean Considine and Corey Graham.”

    Another look at it: This year we got a 6 because we lost Gay and signed Pope. Pope did nothing so he was not enough to offset Gay, but his presence, along with the modest contract Gay signed, account for us only getting a 6.

  • Chris S

    Yes they should get a pick…however I’d be shocked if it was a 3rd. It all depends on what all FA’s they loose that year versus who the gain…plus the contracts the players they loose sign and their playing time for their new team/etc. Unless he becomes a superstar and leaves and signs a huge contract and is a teams #1 or #2 WR don’t expect much (and like I said it depends about the FAs in and out overall not just one comp pick per player).

  • hergieburbur

    I should say a 3rd or 4th is more realistic.

  • Rubem Dornas

    To me this is bad news. I was hoping in two WR draft picks ou 1 WR and 1 TE. And for those players available that are not injury prone like Sanders. As I always do, I’ll root for the Steelers even with the choice of keeping Sanders (or whoever) but I can bet he will be out of at least 5 games due to injuries.

  • hergieburbur

    You know he didn’t miss a game last year, right?

  • Bradys_Dad

    Let’s just hope that he stays healthy. ES is a great talent but it’s worthless if it’s standing on the sidelines. How do ya’ll think this will impact picks #1, 2 & 3 ?

  • Guest

    Another look at it: This year we got a 6 because we lost Gay and signed Pope. Pope did nothing so he was not enough to offset Gay, but his presence, along with the modest contract Gay signed, account for us only getting a 6.

  • hergieburbur

    If he has a decent year as a #2, and gets signed as a #2 elsewhere, he is likely to get between 5-7 a year. Combine that with how much we hate signing FAs, I could see a 3 or 4. Probably a 4 now that I think about it. If he signs as a #3, we are probably looking at a 5 or 6.

  • hergieburbur

    He was mostly healthy last year, so that’s a good sign. I think we will still use our 3rd on a WR, I think we were going to either way. But now, I think that a WR in the first is out, and we may only pick 1 overall, where I think we picked two if he walked.

  • hergieburbur

    I didn’t think they could trade someone on a match tender?

  • CW

    Probably the right move. Sanders would likely have gotten lost in the shuffle with the Pats as they have Edelman and Amendola, one who has more experience in the sort of receiving playbook the Pats run and the other who they have a huge amount of resources invested in. Sanders very likely would have ended up sitting behind multiple receiving and tight end options for a good chuck of the year and ended up either looking for a new contract with bad stats for the season or getting cut for being unproductive the way Lloyd was cut this offseason.

    Likewise Brady is getting close to that magic moment when starting quarterbacks really start falling apart. Favre was an extreme example of durability and Peyton might have the same sort of stamina, but for all we know this could be Brady’s last great year.

  • Nolrog

    You don’t retool the offense because you have a couple new guys. They learn the existing offense and fit in.

  • Nolrog

    I’d say 4th or 5th. I doubt that a 3rd is in play, unless he has a really good year (and he hasn’t shown that he’s capable of that yet.)

  • Tom

    Good move in my opinion. As it is, there will be one WR drafted. If Sanders was allowed to leave, probably two. I’d much rather see one rookie WR being phased into the offense than two. Would I be correct to assume that the extra $$ used on Sanders diminishes the chance of signing Ahmad Bradshaw? If so, I think that is a reasonable trade-off. I’d rather see a rookie RB starting than a rookie WR.

  • Nolrog

    I would have taken the pick, but that ship has sailed. Now that they traded 1 year of Sanders for a 3rd round pick, they better get him inked to a long term deal.

  • Eric MacLaurin

    Good news!

    I don’t want to have to go WR in the first round.

    I think Sanders this year, a 4th when he leaves next year and the first round pick we will now take this year is better than no sanders this year, a 3rd round pick and whatever WR we would have taken in round one as an overreaction.

    in other words

    Sanders in 2013

    4th in 2014

    Cooper, The ND TE, Lotuleilei or Ogletree

    is better than

    3rd this year

    Austin, Patterson, Allen or whatever WR falls in the 1st

    It was sort of like gaining a 3rd but losing a first.

  • Steelers32

    I only hope he shows how wrong I was to hope for the 3rd round pick

  • Nolrog

    We need to go WR anyway. We need a big tall physical guy. Those only come high in the draft.

  • David Edward

    I must say I’m somewhat surprised they actually matched. A little bit of desperation on their part? I’ll be really interested in hearing their reasoning once they comment. It will likely be something like “anything we can do to make us a better football team at the moment” type comment. Also, it will be very interesting to see if they ink him to a long-term deal or not.

  • http://www.facebook.com/reddickranch Jack Reddick

    Nice to see Ben is encharge of the personnel dept. maybe he could do the draft also!

  • Superdriller316

    If Sanders leaves next year, we won’t get a comp pick till ’15 and a 4th at best.

  • Superdriller316

    Yeah, but they could have used it to trade up.

  • NimbusHex

    If they aren’t 100% certain they can get a long term deal to lower the cap hit (and obviously keep Sanders around), this was yet another deal done with absolutely no foresight whatsoever.

  • Superdriller316

    It’s this years 6th round pick from SF

  • HoustonJr

    Can the Pats counter offer? Or is he now a lock to play for the Steelers next season?

  • LucasY59

    Yay!!! they get to pay a guy twice as much as they should have

  • LucasY59

    Thanks Belicheat!!!

  • SteelerFanInMD

    Bravo. I think the Steelers made the right decision. Even if they draft two WRs, they will need two quality starting WRs in 2013 while the new WRs learn the ropes. If they don’t extend Sanders beyond 2013, it will be because one or both of the new WRs will be ready to step in.

  • LucasY59

    I would say almost no chance of Bradshaw unless they take away Redman’s Tender offer

  • Superdriller316

    I hope he doesn’t pull a Wallace and holdout during training camp or worse till week 10. Holding out during the season would be dumb money wise, but some have done it.

  • LouPGH

    If they offer him a deal — and that’s a big if — I can’t imagine it would be for much more than “barely above insulting.” He didn’t exactly step up last year and he’s 1/3 on staying healthy for the year.

  • LouPGH

    The goal isn’t to be better than 8-8; it’s to win a Superbowl. Overpaying for one year’s services doesn’t make the team better in the long run. If Sanders plays poorly next year or is hurt again, we let him walk. If Sanders plays well, we lose him in free agency because we have higher priority players to resign.

    Look, I like the guy and I feel badly about some of the circumstances he’s endured since being drafted, but unless he plays lights out this year and then gives the Steelers a hometown discount, I fail to see how this makes the team better. (And debating the possibility of comp picks is pointless because there are far too many variables.)

  • Superdriller316

    They matched the deal, he’s ours this year.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    I think the deciding factor was what happens if Brown gets hurt? We don’t have anyone who can fill that quickness role. And a fast rookie doesn’t know the play book or hot reads. Ben would get blitzed like hell. We couldn’t put our franchise in that kind of risk/jeopardy.

  • dgh57

    I like this move! We already lost our fastest WR in
    Wallace, to lose our best blocking and route running WR would hurt this
    team even more. If they still draft two WRs in this draft I think that would tell us what their plans are for Sanders after 2013.

  • TsarPepe

    Agree 100%

  • Douglas Andrews

    I’m surprised they even tendered Redman. He’s the same big back that Dwyer is. IMO that was a waste of a tender and I hope too that pull the it and use the money for Bradshaw

  • TsarPepe

    No. The game is over.

  • Jazz

    I agree 100%! Sanders numbers would have increased big time. I’m guessing the F/O did speak with Sanders and ask him if he wanted to return. At least I’m hoping they did; durability? That describes Sanders the most, his ability to stay healthy.

  • RW

    I hope this is the impetus the steelers need to sign this guy now to a long term extension. His production isn’t such that they need to give him anything outrageous. I would expect it to average 4 or 5 million a year, which is pretty doable. Otherwise we’ll lose him in FA next year, like we do with all of our players who we wait this long to sign.

  • hergieburbur

    No. They are all over the draft.

  • hergieburbur

    Learning curve for 3-4 new starters IS retooling the offense. I am not talking redesign here, I am talking about what we would see on the field.

  • Gary Thomas

    Hey…..I got an idea…..Let’s get rid of our OC who has SB to his credit and a wonderful relationship with his players and start a new offensive system with a new Coordinator who doesn’t deal well with his players! Oh yeah and one that brings in a system new to all his players and doesn’t talk to the guy that is expected to run it! Run Ben Run!!!

  • Jollyrob68

    Unless Steelers & Pats workout a trade with Sanders approval. But Steelers can trade him to 30 other teams without Sanders approval.

  • Eric MacLaurin

    There aren’t any of them worthy of the 17 pick this year but there are plenty in the mid rounds if we can draft and develop.

  • Jollyrob68

    I expect them to pull/rescind the tender asap. Ben should take cut in base.

  • Eric MacLaurin

    You are right about the year but not about the round.

    Best case is a 3rd. Most likely is probably a 4 though.

  • Nolrog

    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

  • Nolrog

    The way I understand it, they cannot change the cap hit for this year.

  • Superdriller316

    If he pulls a Wallace contract then it would be a 3rd. I don’t see that happening though. So, best case would be a 4th.

  • TsarPepe

    Don’t forget one important thing: letting Sanders walk would have meant that the Steelers will most probably have their hand forced to take a WR in round one. Keeping Sanders means they have flexibility. If they find another Wallace (or Sanders) in Rd 3, they will have an all-important year to groom him. Now their hands are free to take the best player in Rd 1 for one of the many needs they have. It’s hard to put a price tag on that.

  • http://twitter.com/NeffRn Randy Neff

    I guess the Steelers don’t mind the way Sanders conducts his business.

  • hergieburbur

    I know exactly what it means. While it normally means to change things up to be more effective, as in redesigning the offense, it also means to adapt a process to changing situations, as in Ben learning to work with new guys. You don’t think Ben losing two WRs he was familiar with, Miller (at least to start the year), and likely having to work with a new RB in the mix would require a shuffle? You don’t think there is any learning curve to getting familiar with new players and their tendencies? That’s exactly what it would be. It likely will be anyway, this just reduced the upheaval. Don’t try using a meme instead of substance to win an argument. It doesn’t work. That should be considered a logical fallacy by now.

  • hergieburbur

    Oh, that’s right, it was a trade. My bad. You can’t equate value there apples to apples either though, since the main reason for the trade was to dump cap space. Boldin is a better WR than Sanders, no question, but especially when you factor in age and where they are in their careers respectively, they are very different situations.

  • Chris Ranieri

    Interesting point. Not sure I’d say deciding factor, but interesting perspective.

  • David Edward

    Yet again Lou, one of the most intelligent comments posted! I think they got a little desperate on this move when they didn’t need to.

  • Chris Ranieri

    Many people are criticizing the longterm aspect of this deal but forget that this is a two-sided discussion. Since when have the steelers been known to have draft picks come in and make immediate impacts? Especially and most notably skill positions. Drafting a backup slot receiver who can learn the playbook and learn under Sanders will ultimately be beneficial in the “long run.” Sure we’re overpaying him, and aren’t really the “winners” of this situation, but there is a long-term aspect to our decision. With all that being said hopefully we might be able to reach terms on an extension, which is unlikely.

  • tricitysteel

    Everyone who wants the 3rd rd pick is automatically assuming that player will be productive. I realize the Steelers get four years of control and cost certainty, but the draft is an inexact science. A bird in the hand is greater than two in the bush. Limas Sweed comes to mind.

  • Nolrog

    No, it doesn’t require a shuffle. It requires a whole bunch of new guys learning Haley’s offense.

  • hergieburbur

    And each other, which is the same thing.

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

    He cannot hold out once he signed the Pats offer. In fact, he has to participate in June mini camps too now that the Steelers have matched. CBA rule.

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

    True.

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

    Not sure why Redman is waiting on signing but I would not wait too long if I were him. Like Bradshaw, he is not exactly the Poster Boy of durability.

  • Superdriller316

    I’m sure there was some insider trading going on. I would gave up a 6th for Boldin.

  • Superdriller316

    Even better.

  • Superdriller316

    Haley has a SB to his credit too, he just lost. I wouldn’t want an OC who is going to get my 30+ QB killed. Look how many times Luck was sacked last year. Bens not that mobile anymore and took less sacks under Haley than BA.

  • steeltown

    Agreed.. alot of talent between 2nd-4th Rds

  • Addison

    Yeah I know they’re all afraid of poor season, but the way I see things happening (and I hope I’m wrong) is that’s steelers don’t value receivers. So next year New England scoops him up anyway for cheap and we are left with a 6th-7th round compensation pick instead. They are not a Super Bowl team. I’m a diehard steeler fan and like watching the rebuilding process. You’re going to have down seasons when you are “reloading” “Retooling” “rebuilding”.

  • lefnor

    This is why a long-term deal should be done before the season.

  • steeltown

    In the end its only $2.5MIL, thats less than a high tender amount (they already had 1.3 invested) and he does make the Team better in the short term, he’s a WR and KR… they’ll get their money out of him

  • steeltown

    Bad year, because we retained a player that we wanted to retain to begin with? …..He doesnt make the team worse

  • steeltown

    Well said

  • steeltown

    I want to see E.Sanders return more kicks this season, he’s a very capable return man, we might as well get our monies worth out of him
    I still see WR being drafted early, 2nd or 3rd Rd

  • steeltown

    Im alittle surprised that BA has not made a move for Redman or Starks for that matter, I bet after the draft Arians might ink Starks

  • Eric MacLaurin

    Best case for draft compensation doesn’t mean the compensation based on what you expect to happen. It means compensation based on the best possible outcome.

  • hergieburbur

    You aren’t wrong on their value of WRs. You needs only to look and see that the only two WRs since 1990 to get a second contract from the Steelers are Ward and Brown to see the truth of that. And that, I am ok with. It is the extra games that are concerning. I really hope they try to, but right now there is little incentive/flexibility until near the end of pre-season and they see what they have. If they get a guy like Bailey or Swope and he looks great, they may not try to extend and just go for the comp pick.

  • hergieburbur

    I would say 3rd based on likely value. There isn’t likely to be a WR worth a second where we pick.

  • Superdriller316

    It goes by annual contract of the player leaving vs UFA contract signed by the team. League min. contracts do not apply. That’s why we got a 6th for Gay, Pope didn’t count against us. Players that are cut or not tendered don’t count against either. There was a post a few weeks ago with a link that explained it for the most part.

    So if he leaves next year for say 4 years 16 million and we bring in an OL for 3 years 12 million then its a wash and we get nothing for him. He’s not going to get Wallace money if he leaves and there is always the chance we might bring someone in. So IMO a 4th round comp pick would be best case scenario.

  • Eric MacLaurin

    I think you misunderstand the concept if you expect the Steelers to get a 4th and also call that the best case scenario.

  • Superdriller316

    And why is that? Do you think he’s going to get a 8-10 million a year contract? That’s what it would take to get a 3rd round comp pick, barring we didn’t bring in a UFA.

  • Superdriller316

    I don’t expect them to get anything for him. Knowing about what his price range is, if we don’t sign anyone to counter his contract. A 4th round comp pick would be best case scenario.

  • Eric MacLaurin

    We got a pick for Gay so don’t play stupid just to make a point.

  • Eric MacLaurin

    best case scenario isn’t what I think will happen it is the best thing that could happen.

  • Superdriller316

    That’s because Popes contract didn’t count against because it was league min.

  • Superdriller316

    Well if you think they can get a 3rd round comp pick for Sanders, then you are the stupid one.

  • LouPGH

    Thanks. I agree on your point about desperation. Admittedly, without Sanders the cupboard looks a little bare. I expected they’d add Breaston via FA on a one-year deal and spend a higher draft pick on a WR. (I think they’re in a tough spot draft-wise: too high to take a WR in the First Round, but most of the better prospects could be gone by the time they pick in the Second.)

  • Eric MacLaurin

    Well, if the concept is more than you can grasp after this many posts it’s probably something I’m not going to be able to explain. Have a nice day.

  • Superdriller316

    The guy isn’t good enough to warrant a big enough contract to get a 3rd round comp pick. He’s not a #1 WR, he might get 5-7 million a year and that’s not enough to get a 3rd. Look up the teams that got 3rd round comp picks and look what they lost and the contract sizes then look what they brought in. So the best would be a 3rd, REALITY would be a 4th at best. Do you need me to draw it out with crayons? Yeah I’m done wasting my time with people who can’t put 2 and 2 together. Lets get back to REALITY and out of FANTASY.

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