McLendon sacking Michael Vick. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Packers Talking to Steelers RFA Nose Tackle Steve McLendon

It looks like the “offseason of ridiculousness” has yet to end for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Yesterday it was reported that backup nose tackle Steve McLendon visited with the Green Bay Packers.

A former Undrafted Free Agent (UDFA) out of Troy in 2009, McLendon has developed into solid heir apparent to Casey Hampton at the nose tackle position over the last three years.  Unfortunately, the Packers could change all of Pittsburgh’s future plans if they decide to sign McLendon to a Restricted Free Agent (RFA) offer sheet before Friday’s (April 19th) deadline.

What makes this situation an even bigger “football to Hans Moleman’s groin” for “Steeler Nation” is the fact that Pittsburgh’s cap-strapped front office decided to only tender their nose tackle at a UDFA RFA level for $1.323 million!  Thus, if Green Bay shells out $1.323 million and Colbert & Co. cannot match the offer, Green Bay will obtain McLendon’s services for the 2013 season and not have to compensate the Steelers with a darn thing!

As it stands, Pittsburgh has limited cap space, and the Packers could easily lure McLendon away, and do it on the cheap.

On the other hand, I must give kudos however to Green Bay’s brass for this move though.  In fact, I will tip my cap to G.M. Ted Thompson & Co. for their due diligence in this situation.  McLendon could chip in on passing downs for B.J. Raji at nose tackle, and then provide some depth at defensive end.  It also does not hurt that Dom Capers is running the Packers’ defense, and his scheme has many similarities to the one Dick LeBeau runs in Pittsburgh.  Plus, 2nd year defensive end Jerel Worthy is coming off of an ACL injury, and a heady yet athletic veteran like McLendon could definitely help Green Bay’s depth in the trenches.

In addition, it might be in McLendon’s best interests to skip town.  Heck, he will probably see more playing time with the Packers even though he will remain a backup!  It was a shame to see McLendon’s athleticism go to waste in Pittsburgh, and I am sure that Capers will find better and more ways to utilize the athletic defensive than LeBeau did when he simply had him rot on the bench when the nose tackle could have benefited from extended reps.  I should also add that the Packers are more than likely to field a postseason-bound team next year, and it would probably benefit McLendon to escape the impending “dumpster fire” of a 2013 campaign with the Steelers.

The Packers would be stupid not to make the move and sign McLendon if they really want him.  Pittsburgh’s RFA’s are ripe for the plundering, and no compensation will be sent to “The Steel City” if Steve leaves.  Furthermore, because Pittsburgh’s front office made the moronic decision to re-up Emmanuel Sanders, their cap space is limited, and they might not be able to sign other RFA’s like Isaac Redman if they try to match whatever the Packers could offer McLendon.

But hey, a team needs a 1-year rental of a #3 wide receiver over a soon-to-be starting nose tackle during a rebuilding process, right?

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Tags: Green Bay Packers Pittsburgh Steelers Steve McLendon

  • Dave Buzard

    This isn’t America’s Funnies Home Videos!

    • Dom DiTolla

      But..The Ball…His Groin…It Works On So Many Levels! Lol.

  • JWoo

    totally agree, Dom I thought Steve was really starting to come on, love his ability to actually give QB chase and with no certainties on either Big Snack or Ta’amu even being on the roster? this could be a big blow imo… what do you think of Steve playing a little DE and Hood moving to NT – i don’t see it but since i think there has been some Coaches discussion about it? imo McLendon is more than ready to be our Starting Nose for good just hope our FO sees it that way (also hoping Ta’amu can get past the past and contribute)

    • Dom DiTolla

      Thanks for the comment John.

      While I agree that McLendon can chip in as a 5-technique and definitely be a pass-rushing threat at the position in sub-packages, I’m not sold on Hood playing nose tackle, especially in the team’s base 3-4 scheme on running downs.

      Hood is much better suited to be a gap-shooting 3-technique defensive tackle in a 4-3 scheme. Ziggy is far better suited when he attacks a single gap as opposed to having to man two-gaps at a time. Plus, I question whether or not Hood can anchor himself to play two and man a double-team effectively at the nose. Nevertheless, if Ziggy lined up on the interior in sub-packages to pass-rush, he could definitely help in that area.

      I know that I will also be interested to see how Fangupo and Ta’amu fare this offseason. I should also mention that Fangupo played some defensive end at Brigham Young too, so he might be a “wild-card” to watch over the summer and during the preseason.