The Packers wisely have decided to kick the tires on Steelers nose tackle Steve McLendon. Green Bay has nothing to lose by taking advantage of the opportunity to talk to a player who would be off limits if he were under contract.
Former Patriots V.P. of player personnel and former Chiefs G.M. Scott Pioli explained on Wednesday’s PFT Live the benefit of bringing in a restricted free agent. At a minimum, it’s an opportunity to legally tamper with a player whose rights technically belong to another team. The Packers can get to know McLendon, and they can decide whether they’d like to make a run at him if he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2014.
The Packers also could sign McLendon to an offer sheet before Friday’s deadline. If the Steelers choose not to match, the Packers would get him without compensation, because the Steelers tendered McLendon, who was undrafted, at the lowest level of $1.323 million.
If the Packers make a move on McLendon, the Steelers could once again find themselves stung by a decision to tender a player too low. By bumping the number to $2 million, the Steelers would have been entitled to a second-round pick as compensation — and the Packers surely wouldn’t be considering a run at McLendon.
Pioli explained that some teams intentionally tender players at one level higher than intended, in order to ensure that the player won’t be vulnerable to an offer sheet. McLendon, with merely a right of first refusal, is as vulnerable as a restricted free agent can be.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!