Steelers match offer to Sanders
Ben Roethlisberger might be happier about this than anyone in Pittsburgh — Emmanuel Sanders isn't going anywhere.
The Steelers on Sunday matched the Patriots' $2.5 million offer to Sanders, a restricted free-agent wide receiver who is expected to replace Mike Wallace as a starter next season.
Roethlisberger is believed to have badly wanted to keep Sanders, especially with Wallace heading to the Dolphins after signing a $60 million deal and tight end Heath Miller healing from an ACL tear.
The Steelers initially tendered Sanders a $1.323 million original-round offer that would have gained them a third-round draft pick if Sanders left. They chose not to make an $2.023 million offer that would have forced the Patriots — or any other team — to hand over a second-round pick, an unlikely scenario.
Sanders could leave as an unrestricted free agent after next season unless he signs a contract extension. Agent Jordan Woy said he is the first restricted free agent to receive an offer in three years.
“Glad the business side is out of the way,” Sanders posted on Twitter. “Now it's back to playing football and bringing (Super Bowl trophy) No. 7 back to Pittsburgh.”
Losing Sanders would have given the Steelers more salary cap room and the 91st pick overall in a draft in which there is wide receiver depth. But it would have left them with a woefully thin receiving corps — Antonio Brown, Plaxico Burress, Jerricho Cotchery, David Gilreath — at a time when the passing game has never been more important to winning in the NFL.
By paying Sanders nearly twice what they anticipated, the Steelers are only about $700,000 below the cap. They will clear $5.5 million of space from Willie Colon's release June 1, but all or most of that will go to signing their rookies.
Sanders, mostly a slot receiver last season, has 1,290 yards receiving and five touchdowns in three seasons. He had a career-high 44 catches in 2012.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers won’t be backed into a corner at NFL Draft
- NFL draft preview: Rich harvest of receivers
- Ex-Alabama WR Cooper gains separation from other draft prospects at position
- Steelers visit with Arizona State receiver Strong, claim long snapper
- Steelers veteran cornerback Ike Taylor announces retirement
- Maligned Nebraska OLB Gregory visits Steelers
- Steelers host Auburn WR Coates, 2 others
- Steelers host two more pre-draft tight ends
- Steelers notebook: Nebraska LB scheduled to visit Steelers Thursday
- Steelers name player engagement coordinator