If a player ever wants to stay on the Steelers roster, they better start with Ben Roethlisberger. After the New England Patriots finally offered a tender to Emmanuel Sanders of $2.5 million, Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger was reported as lobbying heavily for the team to match the offer. I wonder if he would have worn a #88 jersey if they were in any mini-camp.
As you all might recall, the last time Big Ben lobbied this hard for a fellow teammate, Max Starks found his way back onto the Steelers roster. Not once, but twice. During that time, Ben could be seen wearing a #78 jersey as a way of saying ‘I got your back bro, and I want you back on this team.’ Even though no jersey was worn this time around, the Steelers agreed with Roethlisberger that Sanders was worth paying him twice what his original tender was by matching the Patriots’ offer.
Last we all heard, the Steelers were under $2 million in cap space. That meant and means that for the Steelers to sign just about anyone left as a free agent, they are going to need to shuffle around some cash. There aren’t really any significant contracts to restructure that would free up another million in funds, so the team will more than likely have to dump some more weight. I’m not really sure where that will come from, but after losing a bunch of players already it really doesn’t give me the urge to jump for joy at this deal. Granted, the team would have lost Sanders if they didn’t match the offer, but they were lined up to get a third compensatory round pick – not really that bad when you consider that third round picks can be good development projects with little risk.
I’m guessing that the idea of Antonio Brown, Plaxico Burress, Jerricho Cotchery, David Gilreath, and a 2013 draft pick as the main receiving core scared the front office enough to make this move. Sanders is not the most impactful receiver out there – drops, lost fumbles and bad feet – but he knows the offense already. As an RFA, it’s not like he had many choices in testing the waters. It appears he wanted to stay with the team, and that’s better than certain other former receivers we know.
Was this a good move or bad one by the Steelers Brass?