If you remember, back in April of 2013, the New England Patriots signed Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders to an offer sheet. Sanders was a restricted free agent who did not sign his initial offer the Steelers had sent him. Instead, Sanders sat out until the Patriots tried signing the young receiver that would have handed the Steelers a third-round pick for the upcoming draft. However, the Steelers matched the Patriots’ offer and kept Sanders throughout the 2013 season.
As a result of the happenings, Sanders came away in 2013 with his best season of his career. The fourth year wide receiver registered 67 receptions for 740 yards and six touchdowns. However, in 2014, Sanders is now an unrestricted free agent and the Steelers seem ready to let the wide receiver walk without giving him the pay day he is looking for.
The Steelers will be in a constant fight with the salary cap over the offseason as it is, and Sanders will not be the top priority. Therefore, the Steelers must address wide receiver yet again in this year’s NFL Draft. Last year, the Steelers drafted Markus Wheaton from Oregon State in the third round, but a severely broken finger set back the rookie from making too much progress.
The Steelers are staring at a chance to lose Jerricho Cotchery, who is also a free agent. Cotchery is much more probable of getting a contract over Sanders, however. Without Sanders or Cotchery, the Steelers just have Antonio Brown, Wheaton and Derek Moye left at receiver, increasing the probability of the black and gold addressing this position this May.
So, the Steelers have some figuring out to do during this offeaseon, much like every football team that is sitting out and watching the playoffs from home.