This offseason has been one to forget for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Most Steelers fans are accustomed to seeing this team let players leave because for the most part they find a way to re-stock the shelves so to speak. But this offseason has been marred by far more losses than gains, and it looks like those losses could continue.
It’s being reported that defensive tackle Steve McLendon, who was in line to be the starting nose tackle in 2013 has visited the Green Bay Packers and may sign an offer sheet. McLendon is a restricted free agent, but unlike wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, was given a low offer and there would be no compensation if McLendon leaves.
The rub is the Steelers have no money to spend. After matching the offer on Sanders, they would have to reach out to other veteran players to re-structure their contracts in order to create enough cap space to sign him. I’m all for veterans doing what they need to do, but the fact the Steelers are even in this position punctuates how the front office has mismanaged their contracts in recent years. It seems the Steelers are backed into a corner with McLendon should he sign with the Packers. Their depth at defensive tackle is very thin, so a decision to not retain McLendon means defensive tackle would immediately become the top priority in the 2013 NFL draft. Fortunately, this is a very deep and talented group, however, in terms of starter quality talent, the pick would have to come in the first round.
It’s hard to speculate on whether retaining Sanders potentially at the expense of McLendon is a good move. At this point the Steelers will just have to wait and see what the Packers decide to do, and then react. McLendon is a good player, probably underrated in the league and would be a significant loss if he signs with the Packers.