Sunday, April 14, 2013

Steelers match offer for Sanders. What does it mean

The Steelers on Sunday matched New England's offer sheet for wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders.

The move holds several meanings for the Steelers over the coming weeks.

First, wide receiver becomes less of a pressing need for the team heading into the draft later this month - at least in the short term.

The guess here is that now that Pittsburgh has kept Sanders, it will attempt to sign him to a long-term deal that will keep him past the 2013 season.

They dealt with Mike Wallace as a lame duck starter in 2012 at wideout and likely won't want to put themselves in a similar situation with Sanders. The two sides will have to come to an agreement that will pay Sanders starter money - not star money - but I look for that deal to get done.

Sanders' new contract also eats up an additional $1.2 million of salary cap space, leaving the Steelers just over $700,000 under the cap.

They will clear an additional $5.5 million once guard Willie Colon's release hits the books on June 1, but with so little cap space now, the Steelers appear to be out of the market for free agent running back Ahmad Bradshaw - unless he goes into the summer unsigned.

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