View Full Version : Ed: Steelers Blew it on Both Sanders, Harrison

Hawaii 5-0
04-15-2013, 02:47 PM
Ed: Steelers Blew it on Both Sanders, Harrison


Good morning,

Well, the Steelers blew it. No, not necessarily by matching the $2.5 million contract Emmanuel Sanders signed as a restricted free agent wit the New England Patriots – although my opinion against matching was written here last week – but by not tendering him a larger one-year contract in the first place.

Had the Steelers tendered Sanders a $2 million offer as an RFA, a team would have had to give up a second-round draft pick to get him, and that was much less likely to happen. By tendering him a $1.3 million deal, the Steelers not only let everyone know that’s what they thought Sanders was worth, but also that they would be willing to take a third-round pick for him.

In the end, they got neither.

Now that they’ve matched, let’s look where they stand:

--- Their wide receiving group is not decimated and they actually could go into the 2013 season with what they have – Sanders, Antonio Brown, Jerricho Cotchery and Plaxico Burress. They also have a few youngsters, headed by David Gilreath.

Offensive coordinator Todd Haley does not use many four-wide formations, so that could be enough. Nevertheless, they still no doubt will draft someone.

--- They have to draft someone because Burress is old and he, Cotchery and Sanders all will have their contracts expire at the end of the 2013 season.

--- The Steelers are left with roughly $800,000 in salary cap room. That’s not enough to sign someone like Ahmad Bradshaw. If they want to do that, they’ll have to create more room by pushing yet more cap accounting into the future, such as reworking the deal of Troy Polamalu, who turns 32 on Friday.

--- Now, the Steelers can try to protect their investment in Emmanuel Sanders, which cost them the 91st pick in this draft, by keeping him longer than the one season in which he is now under contract. They can negotiate now, and sign the deal after June, when they get the $5.5 million cap space from Willie Colon’s contract. They signed Antonio Brown last August to a six-year, $43 million contact with an $8.5 million signing bonus after Mike Wallace turned them down. Must they offer Sanders that much in order for him not to enter free agency in 2014? Probably. Brown was two years from becoming a UFA when he signed, Sanders is only one year away. Plus, he saw how it worked out for Wallace and he could be just as willing to roll the dice.

--- Sanders comes out of this the big winner. There was little gamble for him by signing with the Patriots. He nearly doubled his salary for 2013 and would either catch passes from Ben Roethlisberger or Tom Brady.

--- In the end, the Steelers matched Sanders contract because had they not it would have again appeared they were giving up on the 2013 season, an opinion that already is popular among their fans. This at least temporarily stops the talent drain that has been going on since the beginning of March.

Onto some stuff:

--- By many reports, it appears James Harrison will sign a contract this week with the Cincinnati Bengals. That’s a lose/lose for both the Steelers and Harrison. The linebacker turned down the demand by the Steelers that he take a paycut from his $6.57 million salary. Their highest offer, according to one source, was $3.7 million for 2013 in a straight salary. He might get half that from the Bengals.

--- The Bengals want to put Harrison on the strong or left side of their 4-3 defense. The outside linebackers in a 4-3, drop into coverage more than they rush the passer, which is the primary job of the ends in that defensive set. Harrison can cover and he can stop the run, but his forte is rushing the passer and he did it in a 3-4 defense from the right side – the predominantly weak side. That sounds like putting a fish out of water.

--- The Steelers had two other restricted free agents whom I thought were vulnerable to being signed – projected starting nose tackle Steve McLendon and halfback Isaac Redman. Neither would have required compensation with the Steelers only maintaining their right to match any signed offer sheet. How much is a starting nose tackle worth?

--- Onto your questions:

--- YOU: I'm worried that Sanders has a bit of a breakout year (a la Keenan Lewis) and the Steelers wind up losing him anyway. Do you think the Steelers try to sign him to - say - a 4-year deal to guard against this? Also, how much longer until we find out about Bradshaw's foot?
ME: I’m sure they will try to sign him before the 2013 season to a longer term. Ahmad Bradshaw reportedly will visit the Steelers a second time before the draft.

--- YOU: How much if any impact do you think B.R. had in the Steelers’ decision to keep Sanders.
ME: I’m sure they took Ben Roethlisberger’s opinion into account, but his coaches may have had the most influence on keeping him. Ben was probably preaching to the choir if he made his pitch to Mike Tomlin. It was the front office they needed to convince to match.

--- YOU: Ed, now that they have signed Sanders to the offer sheet, does this indicate he may have a long term deal coming before the season and if so, does that help or hurt them on the salary cap? Last question....does this pretty much squash a WR in the first round?
ME: I wrote the pros and cons to getting a long-term deal done above, but no it does not squash the idea they could still draft a receiver in the first round.

--- YOU: What do the Steelers management see that most of us die hard fans don't? Even if he turns out to be worth the money THIS year, how could he ever be worth the money he will command next year whether he is with the Steelers or not? Is this not mortgaging the future for the futile present? This one is hard to swallow, I have not been this disappointed since the decision to hire Tomlin over Grimm.
ME: Many questions, no firm answers.

--- YOU: Okay, let's turn this around on you--YOU are Kevin Colbert. Would you take a mid-round chance on Marcus Lattimore? Kid has incredible character and drive. He'd be a risk, and a long-term investment...but what a potential upside. If so, what round?
ME: It depends on what I draft in the first couple of rounds. I would take him in the fourth.

--- YOU: i was imagining sitting tight with their pick in the first round and then maybe trying to trade back into the end of the first round and maybe grab lacey. it would seem that the cost of trying to trade up is far far less than in years past. i think they need all the playmakers they can get on offense. if they could come away with eifert, patterson, and/or lacey on the first day, i think us steeler fans would hold off on the talk of the armageddon.
ME: It will be hard for teams to trade back in the first round this year, not that it cannot be done. There’s really no reason for them to trade higher in the round.

--- One YOU are Kevin Colbert today:

--- Round 1 – Given the drop off after the first 5-10 picks, I would pick ‘for need’ as anybody is technically a reach given the parity between picks 10-40 or so. We need a player to start so I would go with offense and pick a RB or WR (especially with Sanders’ imminent departure) or perhaps a TE given the evolution at that position

Round 2 – If no WR in first round, find the best WR with speed. If not, find a LB, S, or RB.

Round 3 – Best available players with our 2 picks to fill the RB, LB, S, NT voids”


04-15-2013, 03:21 PM

Come on, Ed.

Hawaii 5-0
04-15-2013, 04:07 PM
Monday Wakeup Call: Why Steelers right on Sanders

April 14th, 2013
By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Let’s not kid anyone: This decision was going to be based off what Ben Roethlisberger needed and wanted, and he’s entitled to have that say as a two-time Super Bowl winning QB. If that offends anyone longing for the old days when even the most elite athletes had no say, so be it. Ben’s going to be 31 and would have had every right to be ticked had he lost Mike Wallace and Sanders and not had a meaningful free agent signed.

Analyzing this further is probably a waste of time, but since everyone will: The Steelers could have let the Patriots keep Sanders, saved $2.5 million, spared themselves the indignity of watching Sanders walk next spring as a free agent and, of course, gotten a third-round comp pick. And some of that inherently sounds pretty tempting.

But at what cost?

The 2013 Steelers needed another receiver, or they’d go into the season with Antonio Brown, Plaxico Burress and Jerricho Cotchery, and maybe cope for a spell without Heath Miller. Sorry, but that’s tantamount to forfeit, no matter if you brought in a rookie Earl Campbell to be your back.

That matters. It matters that a star QB in his prime isn’t tossing away an entire season.

Moreover, there’s nothing stopping the Steelers from drafting a wide receiver should they wish. People were talking as if the New England comp pick were the only way they’d ever pull that off. They could still have one in the first round should they so choose. (I’d hope not.)

The NFL exists on a year-to-year basis. The greatest turnarounds happen in football, the shortest period before free agency is in football, and what’s here today can be gone tomorrow with the next snap.

I won’t suggest Sanders doesn’t have flaws. He does, not least of which is the generally infantile behavior of the so-called Young Money crew. He’s not consistent enough, not durable enough. But he’s an established NFL wide receiver, he’s only 26, he can make plays and, way above all, this team needs that right now.


Fire Arians
04-15-2013, 04:23 PM
if douchette knew how to run an organization (ie better than the steelers FO), he would have a job with the NFL making 10x as much as he does now. just saying.

i'm going to laugh at all these doubters when we make the playoffs next season

Atlanta Dan
04-15-2013, 04:32 PM
Someone "blew it" in the Harrison negotiations but it was not the front office that offered twice what Harrison apparently will get from the Bengals - Harrison's agent has some splaining to do

The more I read the more the Young Money crew's attitude appears to have been a big part of the 2012 problems - the WR coach moving on is an indication that all was not well

04-15-2013, 04:46 PM
Agreed, the Steelers did what they could to keep Harrison. That was a legitimate good faith effort, and it was Harrison and his agent's mistake.

As for the young money crew - I sure hope that Brown's workmanlike attitude returns, because that's who we've got long-term. Bring on the adult supervision, and lets move forward.

04-15-2013, 05:34 PM
Of course Young Money crew had problems, they had a self-centered ahole who didnt live up to his mouth on the team playing like an ahole with no Hines Ward to keep everyone in line. Then you had a head coach who patted players on the rear end after bone headed plays. And then that led to players not showing up from games and zero leadership in any area at any time.

All the cancers are gone. However, this has been one of the worst off seasons i have ever seen.

04-15-2013, 07:47 PM
So they have $800,000 to sign Mclendon?

Mclendon > Sanders

Hawaii 5-0
04-15-2013, 07:56 PM
So they have $800,000 to sign Mclendon?

Mclendon > Sanders

I believe the tenders extended to both McLendon and Redman are already included in our salary cap.

04-16-2013, 07:02 AM
I believe the tenders extended to both McLendon and Redman are already included in our salary cap.

But didn't the cap space shrink when they re-signed Sanders for the same amount they offered(tendered) Mclendon and Redman?

04-16-2013, 07:46 AM
Agreed, the Steelers did what they could to keep Harrison. That was a legitimate good faith effort, and it was Harrison and his agent's mistake.

As for the young money crew - I sure hope that Brown's workmanlike attitude returns, because that's who we've got long-term. Bring on the adult supervision, and lets move forward.

I agree. Harrison's effort last year did not give him a legitimate argument he is worth keeping around for a $10M cap hit. Compared to that, Sanders showed promise in 2012, and his 1-year contract seems like a bargain.

Hawaii 5-0
04-18-2013, 02:56 AM
Ex-NFL GM Casserly: Max Starks Might Sign Before James Harrison Does

April 17, 2013


PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – As the NFLDraft approaches, NFL Network analyst Charley Casserly joins Ron Cook on Sportsradio 93-7 The Fan.

The former NFL general manager shares his thoughts on James Harrison’s situation, as talks between Harrison and the Cincinnati Bengals appear to have stalled.

“He’s not the same player he was,” Casserly says. “Clearly, he misread the market. I didn’t think there would be any market for him. You gotta look at his age, and where he was last year, he’s only 3-4 outside linebacker so that eliminates half the teams right there. He had a home with the Steelers, and he misread that.

“Max Starks may have a better chance of getting signed than James Harrison, because of [the value of] the offensive tackle position versus the outside linebacker position. Even though Harrison is probably a better player at this time, Max might get signed first,” he added.