If we are to believe the percentages given by John Clayton, the Steelers are split in their Emmanuel Sanders decision. This isn’t any sort of playin’ around split either. No, we have a 50-50 split on our hands.
Hide your wife, hide your kids.
Steelers are 50-50 whether to match Emmanuel Sanders offer sheet. Some in org. want the 3rd round pick. Others want the player.
— John Clayton (@ClaytonESPN) April 12, 2013
Earlier this week the Patriots signed Sanders to an offer sheet, and we later learned the contract offered to him is valued at $2.5 million. That’s a little problematic for Pittsburgh, since they only have about $2 million in cap room.
Of course, in the business of NFL cap manipulating, $500,000 is about the equivalent of three dimes. The Steelers could easily restructure a contract (most likely Troy Polamlau’s) and then secure Sanders so that they have someone who isn’t named Jerricho Cotchery to play alongside Antonio Brown.
Or they could just take the third-round pick New England would have to surrender, and use it to purchase themselves a starting-caliber wide receiver at a much cheaper rate. The latter option is where they’re likely leaning if the decision is truly set to wait until Monday’s deadline.
In a deep wide receiver class, the Steelers could spend their first-round pick (17th overall) on, say, Cordarrelle Patterson or Keenan Allen. Or they could wait a round or two and select Robert Woods, Quinton Patton, or Ryan Swope. There’s five names at different value points who would be more than capable replacements for Sanders.
That makes him look pretty damn expendable, until you realize that a rookie is being trusted to replace part of Mike Wallace’s production in an offense that likely won’t have Heath Miller to start the season. Good luck, kid.