The Steelers are banking that dice don’t have memory, at least when it comes to restricted free agents. Facing salary cap pressures, the Steelers have given original round tenders to restricted free agents Steve McLendon, Jonathan Dwyer, Emmanuel Sanders and Isaac Redman. Pittsburgh has opted not to offer tenders to Stevenson Sylvester or Jeremy Kapinos, making both men unrestricted free agents.
By offering the men original round free agent tenders the Steelers both preserve their right to match any offer given to these players and the signing team will have to give up a draft pick from the round the player was taken in.
- In Jonathan Dwyer’s or Emmanuel Sanders case, that means any team signing him would essentially have to trade the Steelers their 6th round or 3rd round pick.
Given that both men have ample experience, either man could garner attention, thereby putting the Steelers at risk of losing their project starting nose tackles and running backs. However, a year ago the Steelers made the same gamble last year with (then) restricted free agents Ramon Foster and Doug Legrusky, both of whom had starting experience, and neither man drew much interest from NFL teams.
The cases of Sylvester and Kapinos are more nebulous the Steelers could bring both men to camp, but clearly show no interest in paying either man more than the NFL veteran minimum.