Steelers match offer for Emmanuel Sanders

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The Steelers had a decision to make Sunday about whether or not to match the offer sheet wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders signed with the Patriots and they’ve made their call.

Jordan Woy, Sanders’ agent, sent out a tweet announcing that the Steelers have decided to match the offer rather than accept a third-round pick as compensation from New England. Sanders now stands to make $2.5 million in 2013 under the terms of the offer he accepted from New England.

The Steelers can now try to work on a longer deal with Sanders in order to lower that cap number and keep him in Pittsburgh for a few more years. If they don’t, Sanders will be on track to become an unrestricted free agent after the season.

The Patriots will now likely look to the draft to round out their receiving corps. They re-signed Julian Edelman to go with Danny Amendola, but their pursuit of Sanders makes it clear that they have more they’d like to do at the spot before the 2013 season gets underway.

80 responses to “Steelers match offer for Emmanuel Sanders

  1. So I guess the Steelers front office isn’t taking your advice, after all, Florio.

  2. This signing will increase the Steelers chances of winning the Super Bowl from 0% to 0.0000000001%. Congrats Steeler fans.
    Two words: Timmy Tebow.

  3. So much for all the “smart money” that said Pittsburgh would take the pick and save the cash. regardless of their past success in drafting receivers in the lower rounds, it looks like Terrible Towel folks did not feel all that confident about it when the chips were down. What are all the Steeler fans that posted comments regarding Sander’s lack of ability going to do now?

  4. Actually Josh, the Steelers cannot lower the cap number for 2013. His salary cannot be modified per CBA rules. So, the Steelers are already in for $2.5m. Any long-term deal involving a bonus would be applied over the course deal and thus adding to his base salary for 2013.

    Steelers are already hurting in cap space . . . I wonder why they matched it.

  5. So now Sanders gets to stay in Pittsburgh (with a hefty raise) where the fans and media have been incessantly ripping him for the past five days. But I’m sure he’s a future star now right Steelers fans?

  6. Poop that means all the Steeler fans who said he was worthless have to now talk about how amazing he is and how this was a clutch move.

  7. Queue all the Steelers fans who said ES was awful to jump right back on that bandwagon.

    Dammit I guess we have to wait a year to sign him for Brady

  8. This could get awkward for all the Steelers fans here who described Sanders as an injury-prone underachiever that their team almost certainly wouldn’t try to keep instead of getting a third round pick….

  9. If I were a Pats fan I would be seriously concerned about the receiver situation in NE this year. Not a formidable group to say the least.

  10. If they can re-work his deal and sign Bradshaw, I’ll be happy. Queue up the hypocrites. Can’t wait to see the backpeddling from the ignorant haters.

  11. The Steelers might also try to trade Sanders to NE for additional picks (A 3rd and their 2 7th? or maybe a 2nd?).

    Just because they matched the offer doesn’t mean they are keeping him.

  12. Now lets hear all the steeler fans saying how great he is after bashing him this week.

    Pats would have been the clear favorite this year.

  13. Being a huge Steeler fan I must say, I am very surprised by this move. Sanders is not a supreme talent, and by all accounts will be wearing a different uniform this time next year……

    RentaReceiver should be the title of the article 😉

  14. This guy has good hands. He is a younger Deion Branch…. Too bad Pats didn’t get him. Would have loved his production to go up with TB12.

  15. Don’t understand all the hate here for Sanders. He was a third round pick and played well before getting hurt his rookie year. He also played well in his second and third years moving up the depth chart each time. Now he’s reaching his prime, has a year in the system, three years with Big Ben and is set to start.

    How is that not worth $2.5 mil and how would you replace that with the 91st pick in a weak draft?

  16. Makes sense for them to match. If they didn’t, they’re looking at Brown and a rookie as their top receivers with no real depth (except old man Burress).

  17. Why everybody knocking on sanders? And black and gold nation im shocked that yall willing to throw sanders under the bus so fast….hes not that bad…dont forget he used2 start over brown….we must see him in our future he just needs to stay healthy to prove he can be a #2

  18. Several commenters are reducing the previous discussion on Sanders to Steeler fans bashing him or calling him an underachiever. I like Sanders, but said he wasn’t worth $2.5 million for a single season when we have other, more pressing needs and can pick up receivers in the draft. That’s still my view–although I’m willing to concede the Steelers’ personnel department knows our needs and budget better than we blog commenters.

    We’ve been told the front office was split over how to handle Sanders, and I’m now doubly curious to know who favored releasing him and who favored matching the offer. It would be nice to have a better handle on who’s calling the shots as we head into the draft. Did Haley desperately want to keep Sanders? At this point, I don’t think what Ben wants is a major factor.

  19. Overpaid for him but they needed him. If he stays healthy he’ll have solid numbers. They need to figure out how to pull some cap space out of thin air tho.

  20. I disagree with the move. But I also haven’t built the most successful franchise in the history of the NFL. So who am I to question this.

    Sanders, hang on to the ball and Ben will make you a stud receiver.

  21. Still a young player, 2.5M doesn’t exactly break the bank, the pick is closer to a 4th rounder because of the Pats record, and you keep him from a rival with a wide receiving core from hell. Not a fan of either team but it makes sense to me.

  22. As a Pats fan, I had mixed emotions on this one and would have put it in the “In Bill We Trust” category. Personally, I like a 3rd rounder for 4 years for a total of roughly $3M better, but Sanders reminded me a little bit of Deion Branch in his style, size/speed combo, and route-running ability. Pats likely keep pick now, but nothing says they don’t trade it for another player (or even for Sanders if rules allow them to offer their 3rd and a 7th – not sure if they can or not – I recall them throwing in a 7th with their 2nd for Welker to expedite Miami not to match). I also still think Pats might have a Mallet to Cleveland deal still cooking and would have used that to stockpile more picks over next draft or two.

    As a 2nd guess for those Pats fans who really wanted Sanders, should Pats have gone up another $500K to $1M to make Steelers match more painful and more likely. I say no unless they think Sanders was great as opposed to good-vg. Their discipline with cap has worked well for them in Belichick era and an extra $1M or so here or there across deals would add up and hinder flexibility.

    From a Steelers perspective, this is a little more perplexing. They could have tendered Sanders at the 2nd round level (~$2.0 million) at the beginning of this process and likely dissuaded any team like the Pats from making an offer. Instead they tendered him at the original round level for $1.3M and now had to spend an extra 500k over the 2nd round tender to match offer & keep him. This is no small deal given their tightness to the cap. If they had passed on matching, they would have freed up the $1.3M cap-hold for the tender, gotten a 3rd round pick, and could have signed a player or two with the saved funds(e.g., Bradshaw), while creating more room to sign thier draft picks.

  23. if emmanuel sanders has a great year and leaves as an unrestricted free agent next season wouldn’t the compensatory pick be a 3rd or 4th round pick next season? So the steelers really aren’t losing by matching the offer sheet.

  24. Really dont know how your can be a Ravens fan? Players abandon the team and all your fans can do is troll the Steelers news.

  25. Once again Colbert proves his ineptness at running a franchise. Should’ve taken the pick. Looking forward to reading the same Steelers dogging him now proclaiming he’s elite. It going to be brutal when their fans realize their only a doormat for the rest of the AFC.


  26. Belichick squeezes the Steeler’s cap space dry – Bwahahaha!

    And now Sanders knows Pittsburg fans sold him out. They better not cheer for him when he gets first downs for the team.

  27. All these haters need to get a life…..

    It was a win win situation either way I would have liked the 3rd round pick if it was a higher 3rd rounder (basically a 4th round pick).

    I like Sanders alot of upside great to finally see what he can do as a starter…. But the Steelers are kind of screwed if he performs good this year he is going to want to be paid if he sucks it up I would have liked the 3rd rounder still think we will look to draft a receiver or 2….

  28. As a Pats fan, I’m dissapointed. To be willing to give up a 3rd, in a yr they have few picks, indicates to me they really wanted this guy. ES could have big things in an offense that considered BLloyd a disappointment @900yrds. Seems like most steeler fans and talking heads would have been happy with the 91rst pick. We’ll see how it plays out. It’ll be interesting to see if Sanders is willing to sign an extention after the steelers lowballed him, or will just hit free agency, where ehe’ll prob get more, and they get nothing but a 1 yr rental. That’s why they play the games. See ya’ll in Foxboro this fall.

  29. Move had to be made. Can’t go into the season, with 1 WR that was truly on the field last season. They still need to draft a true #1 if one is available, but Tyler Eiffert should be the pick regardless. Miller coming off major injury, 30 years old, and not getting younger. If the Jets believe Revis won’t be back to top play, why would the stillers think differently of heath? Great fan fav, but a replacement has to be drafted. Get the best on board.

  30. Now the should get a longterm deal done if they are unable to they can trade him on draft day.
    However, they may not get a 3rd for him.

  31. This probably isn’t a big deal either way it went. Steelers could have had four picks in the top 91 and rolled the dice on a replacement for Sanders. Instead they’ll stay with 3 in the top 80 and keep a guy they know can play.

  32. I would have preferred the draft pick but having sanders stay is fine with me. He’s experienced, good receiver as long as he stays healthy and has good relationship with Big Ben.

  33. Lets get some much needed context here. Obviously the Stealers think that one year of Sanders is better than what they can get in the 3rd. Sounds like a weak draft and probably a bad move. Always knew Stealers were FoS when they thought they could win with anyone and anyone was replaceable. Great idea on paper but the SB champs are in much better shape so maybe you guys just suck at drafting now?

    For stupid Pats fans, Sanders wasn’t the lost link to another SB win. That’s called illegally taping the other team’s workouts and signals. Without Brady, that team would have been average or lower years ago. Looked pretty average against the ravens as well. Brady will get you back into contention but karma will keep you down once again. Cheating may have been worth it but it feels good that you may not see another championship again for years.

  34. Sanders is the only experienced Steelers receiver on the roster with 4.4 speed. With Wallace gone I will not be surprised if he leaped Antonio Brown and became the number 1 receiving threat. I like Brown but I can’t help but think that he was able to work all those underneath passes because Wallace was busy DBs further from the line of scrimmage with his speed.

  35. Here’s to another year of 8 and 8 if their lucky. The Browns are going to have a better season. I know you have 6 trophies but what have you done lately besides make Tebow look like a all star

  36. Who cares what they do? Like the sorry two Ohio teams the steelers are under the Claws of the World Champion RAVENS, and won’t be doing a thing, with or without Sanders. Between Suggs, Dumervil, Harrison and Kruger Ol Ben is gonna be gettin hit! Haley will probably call plays not involving Jim resulting in sideline screaming matches. Oh yeah, steelers will be at the bottom of the AFC North in 13..

  37. The Steelers badly overplayed this. They had to already consider the possibility of someone signing him to an offer sheet so if they knew they preferred him to a 3rd rd pick they could have placed a 2nd rd tender on him for an extra $700k which would have most likely prohibited anyone from signing him. His 2013 salary would still be almost $500k less than what they have to pay him now and almost as much as a 1st rd tender. So basically they allowed Sanders and the Patriots to dupe them out of almost $1.2m which is a lot when you’re cap strapped.

  38. This is a Ravens fan who does respect the Steelers organization. But this one has me wondering, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot??

  39. Can the Pats not counter offer? Or is he now a lock to play for the Steelers next season?

  40. Didn’t expect this one especially because cap space was so tight. I’d like to see a follow up on what room they have left as I thought they only had a few million under the cap. Either those numbers are wrong or Steelers will have to release someone to make cap room for their rookies.

    For all the fans who were trashing him I guess the lesson is wait until the deal is done.

  41. He knows the system, we need a WR with a reduced learning curve, something a drafted WR would not have down come week 1. It was a smart choice, especially now that this means the brass should sign him to a long term deal, focus on the draft and restructuring in case they want to sign Bradshaw..although now I doubt it, I think we address the RB option in the draft with a TE in round one. I wish we could bring back Harrison as well….it will be a shame to see him in a Bungles outfit….ouch.

  42. I would have rather them sign Brandon Lloyd for around the same cost or maybe a million more and get the Pats third round pick out of it.

    Oh well, Sanders is still a good young player and they’d need to burn a pick on a WR anyways if he left so it’s a wash.

  43. What a fiasco! Now Bill Belichick is calling the shots in the Steelers front office. Two days ago, every Steeler fan was screaming sour grapes over Sanders (expecting him to leave) and now he’s a prized vintage. No wonder this team finished 8-8. I can’t wait to see them fall apart on the field. It’s going to be another throwback season alright — ala 1948 with another 24 straight years of no post season. Congrats!

  44. This is a logical move to me. We know what we have in Sanders – he knows the offense, and Ben wanted him back. You never know what you are going to get in the draft. This could very well be his year to shine.

  45. so now the steelers pay him 2.5 million for one year. now sanders knows the patriots are interested and when he becomes an unrestricted free agent next year he goes back and meets with them first. when he signs with the patriots next year the steelers get nothing. while every team tries to figure out how to meet with free agents a day before free agency starts the patriots visited with a free agent a year early. thats why bill belichick is the best at what he does.

  46. Pats fans should be a little disappointed that they weren’t able to snag Emmanuel Sanders, he is still young and has more years to develop. As a Steelers fan I am glad that we signed him back because when the QB is begging Tomlin for him back, there must be a connection between the QB and WR.

    Also Ravens fans just come on the Steelers posts just so they don’t have to see another post about the Ravens losing another key player.

  47. Anyone professing to have the definitive answer to the signing of Sanders is full of crap. It’s a roll of the dice like most deals in the NFL; dependent on injuries, schedule, and luck.

    It’s amazing these same Ravens fans were thumping their chests over getting Lee Evans two seasons ago. Long winded explanations on how Evans was clearly going to become a star Ravens player were written. How’d that work out?

    I’ll take my chances with the winningest NFL team since the merger, the most superbowl wins, and a world wide fan base. (Also fans who don’t cheer when one of their players are injured and carried off the field as the Ravens “fans” did with Kyle Boller).


  48. Why is it that every time something doesn’t go their way, the Patsies fans start degrading everything and everyone in front of them.

    You tried to cheat your way out, by trying to steal a player from another team, and you lost! Cheaters don’t always win!!!

  49. I do like Sanders, but am one of the Steelers fans who wanted them to let him go in exchange for the pick. I am totally cool with this move if they can sign him to an extension prior to the start of the season, or land a stud in the draft they can groom for a year prior to his departure.

  50. “I’ll take my chances with the winningest NFL team since the merger”

    Are you talking about the same team that went 24 years without a playoff game? The team that got Tebowed out of the playoffs after Aaron Rodgers sliced and diced them in the SB? The team that’s currently 8-8? Good luck with that! Make sure you turn on the dehumidifier because it gets awful damp in the basement.

  51. Brady seeking Single White Male who can catch his 5 yard pass and run for 30, and if pass is incomplete, then be good at demanding an interference or illegal contact penalty.

  52. Should have took that extra pick..Maybe they lookin at the comp picks for Mendy..Wallace and Lewis for next year I don’t know but That 3rd round pick woulda been nice with the exception Colbert didn’t blow I guess its a crap shoot. SMH

  53. This draft is far from “Weak” at the positions we need help with WR RB SF..BUT now that I think about Colbert and the scouts Maybe this was the best move..If he wants Brown type $ he wont get it. Maybe 4year 20m if that..Nobody understands the reasoning..I know this..he needs more then 2 TD per year,a rookie can give them that

  54. When teams match offers for players that try to sign elsewhere it projects weakness. This is especially true in the case of the Steelers, a team that went through a soap opera year with Mike Wallace. If they don’t extend or trade Sanders in the near term they will have another soap opera on their hands. I suspect that keeping him was as much about saving face as it was about their need at wideout. On the plus side, he will be playing for a contract so he should me motivated.

  55. the picture with this article shows him dropping the ball (at arm’s length) after catching the ball. At least he catches it. stay healthy, we need you.

  56. In an ideal world, the Steelers would have taken the draft pick and moved on. However, I think the loss of Wallace and injury to Heath Miller forced them to match the offer to Sanders.

  57. Well, now its time to go Fish That Saved Pittsburgh- All of us need to head out to Gillette Stadium and try out

  58. Boy I have to appreciate this as a Raven’s Fan!

    1) Hurts the steelers cap space, and does nothing to improve the team. He was an “OK” receiver anyway – no real harm to us.

    2) Picking up a 3rd Round pick from the Pats would have surely strengthened that spot! Or definitely improved their O-line where they need a lot of help.

    3) If they were going to squeeze their cap, they’d have been better keeping Harrison who is going to be much more damaging to the Steelers season than Sanders is going to help it. Or improving the line – to give Ben more time, and he uses a lot of time to make plays.

    Although, I appreciate this move, I don’t think it is good for the Steelers, although it will help us sweep them again. I want our rival to give us a hard fought game though. I just don’t see this as a good move! There are going to be lots of options for quality receivers to fill this slot. They need to strengthen the line – our division has some really strong pass rushers!!

    Don’t get this move.

  59. Just think how Sanders is going to feel when the Steelers fly out to NE and get skunked. “Man, I could have been a contender. I could have been somebody. Instead, I get a one-way ticket back to Loserville.” Enjoy the season!

  60. I still think the third rounder, even though it was late in the third, was more valuable than a guy at the end of his deal that is prone to injury and fumbling at key moments in games. That said, I can also see how losing Sanders next year stings less than losing him this year.

    His production is not irreplaceable by any means, but with Wallace gone and then losing Sanders it leaves a corp of Brown, Cotchery, and Burris, plus whatever they find through the draft. I prefer seeing Brown, Sanders and Cotchery with Burris seeing redzone duty and having a year to develop someone from this draft.

    The extra pick would have been great for infusing talent and youth into a defense that is losing more steps every year, but not having to replace two wideouts along with still needing a running back and someone to play tight end to eventually replace Miller will help on that front.

    He just better not fumble the ball when he’s running down the field wide open towards the endzone. Again.

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