I want to make sure I give proper credit for this topic because A. he deserves it and B. it’s an important topic related to the potential departure of Emmanuel Sanders. During the hot discussion yesterday over whether the Pittsburgh Steelers should or should not match the New England Patriots’ offer to Sanders, a great friend of Steel City Blitz brought up a great point.
Our very good friend Lance of Steel Curtain Radio fame talked about Sanders versus the ‘Unknown.’
The unknown in this case is just that, ‘unknown.’ The question is basically this, “Would you rather have Emmanuel Sanders, who knows the system and has proven capable when not hurt or would you rather not match and go with someone brand new in free agency or the draft?”
I think it’s an extremely valid question although I’m clearly in the camp that says take the third round pick and let Sanders walk.
The ‘unknown’ goes much further than just ‘Player A’ who may be drafted or signed in free agency to replace Sanders. The unknown also means a new, less familiar weapon for Ben Roethlisberger who has already lost Mike Wallace, Rashard Mendenhall and has a rehabbing Heath Miller.
For a team that is coming off a very disappointing 8-8 season and is looking at a significant amount of turnover already already, the unknown becomes tougher to swallow. General Manager Kevin Colbert has a draft record in Pittsburgh that is less than sparkling since Bill Cowher departed following the 2006 season. This means how much faith do we as the fan base have in Colbert to find the right replacement for Sanders.
For me personally, if Sanders had a history of staying healthy then I would be much less inclined to ‘toss him to the curb’ but that’s what I struggle with in his regard. If the Steelers match and he plays in just ten games or so and then signs as a free agent elsewhere for 2014, the team will have gotten nothing for him in return.
The third-rounder the Pats will have to give up would give us four picks in the top 100 and I’m confident that not even Colbert can screw that up. Obviously I value and respect Lance’s point a lot or I wouldn’t have mentioned it but this is what makes Steelers Nation great whether we agree or disagree on every topic.
The unknown is always scary but I’m trying to hold out hope that maybe in this case the ‘unknown’ might end up better than Sanders. Notice I said, “hope.”
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.