Could Emmanuel Sanders’ Replacement Come via Free Agency?

20130410-sanders-blogWith the roster purge that many are expecting, the Steelers will probably need to fill more roster spots than usual this off-season.

Gerry Dulac of the Post-Gazette has mentioned a few times recently he thinks that the Steelers could get more active than usual in free agency to fill starting spots.

Keep in mind “more active” basically means a small amount of activity.

No, the Steelers are not going to go grab some pro bowl player to fill in at Wide Receiver or Safety… But they’ve shown in the past they can win with guys that nobody else wanted. Think Jeff Hartings, James Farrior, and Ryan Clark.

I’m just starting to get into draft mode, and my initial thought was that there’s some really talented pass catchers in the first round of this draft… However, I also started looking into free agency and there is going to be a wide range of guys that could fill the #2 receiver spot across from Antonio Brown.

Signing a guy to play receiver would allow the Steelers to get a little younger on the defensive side (where I think they need more help than the offense).

Wide Receiver is also a position that’s typically a little easier to step in and make an impact quickly regardless of scheme, which isn’t really the case in Dick Lebeau’s complex system.

Here are some of the names that will be searching for new contracts very soon…

Eric Decker, James Jones, Riley Cooper, Anquan Boldin, Julian Edelman, Hakeem Nicks, Jeremy Maclin, Dexter McCluster, Golden Tate, Kenny Britt, Devin Hester, Emmanuel Sanders, Jacoby Jones, Doug Baldwin, Andre Roberts, Danario Alexander.

Some of those guys like Decker, Nicks, and Maclin are probably out of the Steelers’ price range, however once they sign that’s one less team to compete with when offering a contract.

A guy like Golden Tate or Doug Baldwin could step in and be a solid second option at receiver.

Or, the Steelers could roll the dice on a Kenny Britt or Danario Alexander who have some issues (inconsistency with Britt, and injuries with Alexander) and potentially have a “boom” type of signing if they pan out.

Dexter McCluster is an intriguing option as well. McCluster was Todd Haley’s personal project when he was coaching the Chiefs.

He could potentially come in to improve the kick return game as well as be the lightening out of the backfield that many hoped Larod Stephens-Howling would be.

All of these scenarios could be a pipe dream, but as they say… Desperate times calls for desperate measures.

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8 comments on “Could Emmanuel Sanders’ Replacement Come via Free Agency?

  1. When the Steelers have had success in Free Agency it has been with guys who were brought in to be second teamers and were good in that role (Travis Kirscke, Mike Tomczak, Charlie Batch) or guys who were considered under achievers with other teams (Wayne Gandy, James Farrior, Kevin Greene, Jeff Hartings, Ryan Clark). All of those players gave Pgh many good years and the last four were Pro Bowlers here. Pgh rarely if ever goes after a “Front Line” quality player. Even Greene was considered on the downside of his career and in decline with the Rams when he signed here, as was Deuce Staley (he fit the typical mold of Steeler FA but wasn’t as successful as the others). Finding a quality WR who can catch 60 passes for 700 yards on team that passes 60% of the time shouldn’t be that challenging assuming Sanders signs elsewhere (those stats were what he produced this year which puts him ahead of notable No 2 WR busts like A. Randle El but behind the production guys like S. Holmes & P. Burress had on teams that passes far less than Pgh this year).

    • That was part of my point here James. Wide Receiver is a position that a guy can come in and pick up quickly. Jerricho Cotchery is not a name anyone was fighting over in free agency and look at his production. Cedrick Wilson is another example of that.

      James Farrior was a guy that didn’t really fit where he was playing so nobody wanted him and the Steelers made him a star… Kenny Britt could be a similar situation.

      • That’s because people were Stupid. Cotchery was a hell of a player and it took The Steelers too long to figure it out also.
        I’d like to get Dexter McCluster and think he might want to reunite with Todd Haley.

  2. Here are the answers to all the WR’s on that list. Decker-Stays with Broncos, James Jones-Stays with Packers the same answers apply to Boldin, Macklin, Cooper, Tate, Baldwin, Hester, Andre Roberts, Jacoby Jones, McCluster and Alexander. Nicks is like Sanders-production yes but always hurt, Kenny Brit-Troublemaker. Why does this guy even put these names out there when he knows just like any expert in this city or any radio host that the Steelers don’t care for them. I keep maintaining my position of WR in the 1st round but all I get is this “you’re nuts, there is value beyond the top 3 so don’t think like that” To those who think that either Benjamin or Strong will declare I say this: It won’t happen so stop asking for it. I have said over and over again I know there are holes on the D but I do not want this team to waste there 1st round pick on a guy who start for 3 years at minimum or 4 years at best. Explain to me what WR’s besides the top 3 make sense for this team? I hear people talk about Beckham, Richardson and even Matthews of Vanderbilt. Beckham is younger version of Cotchery. Matthews has no speed and Richardson is a slot guy not a No.2 WR.

    • You seem awfully confident that something like 90% of the FA market stays with their current team… That never happens. My guess is maybe 5 of the ones I listed stay put.

      I’m not against a WR in the first round… In fact as of now I’m leaning that way, but I’m just pointing out there are some very good ones available in free agency.

  3. I am 100% sure that it will happen. Look at guys like Baldwin and Tate in Seattle, if Wilson is not there are we talking about those guys. Brit is a disaster waiting to happen. Nicks and Alexander are like Sanders: Good production but always hurt and what is the point of those guys playing here if they always get hurt. Be honest with all of us here on this site. Look at all those WR’s you listed and you tell me how much they will get paid to play. Guys like Decker and Jones they ain’t leaving there teams it just won’t happen. When was the last time you saw this team go out in FA and snag a good NO.2 WR for there team? Besides this team won’t have the money to pay for them. Look at guys like Worilds and Hood each get new deals or short ones at least. Ben is due for a new contract as well so where do they find the money to pay for FA WR’s?

    • Then I guess we have to agree to disagree. Decker is going to want a big contract, and he won’t get it in Denver with them just signing Welker (and Thomas needing one soon).

      There’s going to be a lot of changes made this year to the roster. A lot of guys extended or outright cut. That’s where the money is coming from. They have a ton of holes, and only so many draft picks.

      Look at last year’s crop of FA receivers. Nearly all of them changed teams, why would this year be any different?
      Dwayne Bowe- Stayed
      Mike Wallace- Pit to Mia
      Greg Jennings- GB to Min
      Wes Welker- NE to Den
      Danny Amendola- Stl to NE
      Brian Hartline- Stayed
      Josh Cribbs- Cle to Oak
      Darrius Heyward Bey- Oak to Ind
      Ted Ginn- SF to Car

  4. Okay lets look at that list you just posted here: Jennings-without rogers he ain’t worth it. Wallace got paid and again missed the playoffs by running almost the same type of routes when he was here. Heyward Bey-lost cause at this point. Bowe-has alex smith throwing to him and is way overpaid. Welker is Welker no other way to explain that. Hartline is lucky his knee is not blown out. Think about dude the Steelers could care less about what FA are out there, they do not want to pay them. I just don’t get why so many experts keep thinking the Steelers will change that mindset. Face it that money will not be there for this team. Ben-new contract. Keisel is coming back at vet minimum. Hood will be back, Worilds will be back and they will attempt to sign Cotchery. So where exactly is the money for the guys you have potentially coming this way.

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