Earlier today it was reported that Emmanuel Sanders, the Pittsburgh Steelers #3 wide receiver and current restricted free agent, signed an offer sheet with the New England Patriots. The Steelers’ front office now has five days to match the offer or else Sanders goes to New England and the Steelers receive the Pats’ 3rd round pick which is the 91st overall.
This is an absolute no-brainer here folks. While I like Sanders and what he offers the Steelers especially in light of Mike Wallace leaving via free agency, the fact is the Steelers can and should do better.
First of all, Sanders has averaged 31 receptions and has five touchdowns in three seasons with the team and has dealt with injury issues as well. These aren’t just any injuries either as they deal with his feet. Other positions on the field could potentially get by with such injuries but not a wide receiver.
Sanders could still leave after next season as an unrestricted free agent and the Steelers would receive no compensation. The Pats’ third pick would give Pittsburgh four selections in the top 100 picks. For a team with numerous holes to fill, this is just what the doctor ordered.
Most reports right now suggest the Steelers are about $2 million dollars clear of the salary cap. In order for the Steelers to match the Pats’ offer, they would more than likely have to re-structure yet another contract. To this I say “no.”
Who is left to re-structure? Troy Polamalu? He’s on the down-side of his career and has been oft-injured in recent seasons. There are many other options for such a pursuit which is even more reason to let Sanders go.
Heck, if I’m Sanders, why wouldn’t I want to go to New England? With Tom Brady throwing the ball at will and Pittsburgh moving decidedly more towards a running and short passing attack, it should be no surprised he signed the sheet.
If I’m the Steelers, I’m just not in any position to match the offer. Sanders will more than likely go after next year anyway so get something for him while you can. This NFL Draft is already one of the most important in Steelers history anyway so there shouldn’t be any added pressure.
Let him go.
Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns www.steelcityblitz.com. Follow him on Twitter @steeldad and follow the website at @SCBlitz. He can be heard Mondays on Trib-Live Radio at 4pm ET talking Steelers.