The Steelers yesterday placed tenders on six players prior to the Tuesday cap deadline. The played it safe, as well the should being so close to the cap as it is. Here’s how the tenders break down and how they really effect the overall scope of things.
The Steelers, not surprisingly, placed a first round tender on Mike Wallace. That equals the amount of $2.7 million. If no one offers Wallace a contract, then the Steelers will only pay him that much. Should a team put an offer out for the speedster, then the Steelers need to either match/exceed the offer or get a first round pick from the team placing the offer. This was the easy one to figure out once the franchise tag was not placed on any player for the Steelers.
During our discussion last night on our podcast we put out a bunch of other restricted free agents. Dom and I found it difficult to peg any of them getting anything higher than their original draft tender. Turns out the Steelers did too. They placed the minimum original round tender of $1.2 million on five others: David Johnson, Keenan Lewis, Ryan Mundy, Doug Legursky and Ramon Foster. Johnson would bring in a seventh round pick, Lewis a third round, and Mundy a sixth round. Foster and Legursky were undrafted originally, so the Steelers would get no picks in return.
This is a very safe move by the Steelers and should probably pan out for them. The only one I could see getting another offer from another team might be (MIGHT BE) Mundy. He is a pretty decent backup to Polamalu and could get snagged for $1.5 million or so from another team who is looking for depth at that position. The rest of these five don’t really carry the free agency power for pursuit by another team. It was smart for the Steelers to tender Lewis because Gay is an unrestricted free agent this season. Should Gay go to another team, which is very possible, then Lewis would move up to the #2 spot. Cortez Allen and Curtis Brown would be fighting for that spot as well, but Lewis has a bit more game time experience.
The free agency period begins today, but I doubt the Steelers will be very active this season. The last time they were very ‘active’ in the FA market was two years ago when they signed Jonathan Scott, Larry Foote, Arnaz Battle, Will Allen and ARE. Ummm, yeah, maybe they should just focus on their own roster this season. I will be surprised if they do sign a bigger named FA like Carl Nicks – there’s just not enough money in the coffers right now, and Rooney II has said the team will focus on retaining as much of the current roster as possible.