Could the Steelers worst nightmare be about to come true come true? For three years, nary an offer was made on a restricted free agent in the NFL. Part of that is due to the lockout uncertainty regarding the CBA.
But another part of it was due to the fact that for whatever reason, in today’s NFL draft the potential and promise held by picks seem to more valued than experience.
Doug Legursky and Ramon Foster joined the Steelers as rookie free agents. When they reached restricted free agency a year ago Pittsburgh rolled the dice that they could offer them original round free agent tenders which would have entitled the Steelers to zero compensation.
The Steelers gamble played off in spades. They left two proven players virtually unprotected, got both men back, and both where there when the Steelers needed them to start.
This year the Steelers made the same gamble with restricted free agents Emmanuel Sanders, Issac Redman, and Steve McClendon.
- After at least one false start, the New England Patriots made a run at Sanders, forcing the Steelers to pony up and match the offer for Sanders.
- Unfortunately now one has.
BTSC’s source is a tweet from Ravens Insider, but Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Mark Kalboy of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review have commented on the Twitter feed, lending credibility to the story, although neither of the two dailies is carrying the story on their website, or is there mention of it on ESPN.
Ed Bouchette, however did go so far as to suggest this:
“@nollschooled: @edbouchette Packers gonna pay McLendon more than Hamp is gonna cost?” ... Steelers tendered Mac more than Hamp wd cost
— Ed Bouchette (@EdBouchette) April 18, 2013
While Casey Hampton did show he had something left and appeared to get stronger as 2012 progressed, the Steelers have said they were not planning to resign him.
Steelers Hamstrung by the Salary Cap
It promises to be a stressful 48 hours on the South Side of Pittsburgh. The Steelers have no money to match an offer for Steve McClendon's. And unlike Emmanuel Sanders, there is zero depth at nose tackle as the only other nose tackle they have under contract is Alameda Ta’amu, who recently pleaded guilty to a number of charges tied to a drunken rampage from last October.
If an offer for McClendon does materialize, the Steelers would have no choice but to cut a veteran player and/or take another step towards ensuring that they reach salary cap hell by restructuring yet another contract.