When it was reported that Pittsburgh Steelers‘ wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders was given a one year, $2.5 million contract offer from the New England Patriots, the Steelers were on the clock. They had one week to determine whether Sanders or that third round pick was more valuable. Today, just hours before the deadline, it’s being reported that the Steelers decided that there was better value on keeping Sanders than letting him walk and gaining an extra third round pick in the 2013 NFL draft.
This is obviously a calculated risk. The Steelers are on the clock to try and sign Sanders to an extension, but his value is really a total mystery at this point. With the loss of wide receiver Mike Wallace to free agency, Sanders will likely to be a starter in 2013 across from fellow wide receiver Antonio Brown. Sanders is a very talented football player and is young at only 26, but this is a team re-building after some questionable contracts and squandered draft picks, so assuming they have to overpay a little to keep Sanders long term, this could really blow up in their faces, if he cannot ascend to the level of play they are expecting.
It was rumored that Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger lobbied hard to the front office to match the offer the Patriots made, and that could have had an effect on this. Having the confidence of Roethlisberger is good news for Sanders as he should see plenty of targets, but this whole situation has a panic feel to it and is going to end up costing this team more than just salary cap money. Throwing a bunch of money at Sanders just because they are concerned with who they will replace him with is no reason to overpay.