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?