The Steelers have issued their restricted free agent tenders, ESPN reported, and there are a few surprises.
Thy opted to place low tenders on Steve McLendon, Jonathan Dwyer, Isaac Redman and Emmanuel Sanders. They passed on Stevenson Sylvester, which will make him an unrestricted free agent Tuesday at 4 p.m., along with punter Jeremy Kapinos.
The low tenders are worth $1.3 million, but they have different values when it comes to possibly keeping or losing a player. All of them allow the Steelers to match any offer the player might sign as an RFA. In addition, if they do not match, Dwyer would bring a sixth-round draft pick and Sanders a third-round pick, because those are the rounds in which they were drafted.
McLendon and Redman would bring no compensation if they sign elsewhere and the Steelers do not match.
The surprise is that they did not bump their offer to McLendon up to $2 million, which would have required a team to send them a second-round pick if the Steelers declined to match. That virtually would have ensured he remains with the Steelers. The gamble they took is that they could lose him if another team sees more value in him than the Steelers apparently do not. And Casey Hampton is an unrestricted free agent.
-- Onto your questions:
--- YOU: I’ve heard the Steelers will never be considered "rebuilding" as long as they have an elite QB. But with the loss of Harrison, and most likely Wallace, Lewis and Mendenhall, the Steelers will need to be perfect in the draft to address all their shortcomings. I don’t see it happening. So how is this not a team that is rebuilding? And barring some surprise, why shouldn’t fans expect the Steelers to drop further this season than last?
ME: I take your questions as rhetorical because you seem to be on the right path with each.
--- YOU: I'm surprised the Steelers gave McLendon the original round tender, although I know cap space is tight . Do they really see him as a starting quality NT?
ME: Right now, you’d pencil him in as the starter with no challenger.
--- YOU: Is it out of the question that the Steelers wanted Harrison back to avoid the loss of leadership? To avoid your comment that "the move will not go over big in [the] locker room?
ME: They wanted him back for plenty of reasons, leadership being one but his play the overriding reason. Harrison led by example, by his renowned workout routines and his approach to the game.
--- YOU: Will the Steelers lose more veteran leadership with the release of James Harrison? Clearly so, but it's always seemed to me, reading the tea leaves of locker room coverage, that he's not really that kind of player. He seems more like a "keep your head down, do your job" type rather than a teacher or a vocal leader.
ME: You have him pegged correctly.
--- YOU: I am surprised that both JH and the Steelers couldn't come up with some sort of common ground.... James must really thing he can get a better deal than was offered to him and I read somewhere that the Steelers asked him to only take a 30% cut which he could have made up in incentives...
Of course, I'm not sure how true that report was and perhaps you can shed some light there, but....
ME: I have no idea how much the Steelers asked him to take, or how much Harrison was willing to give. If he makes a few more bucks, will it be worth it to him? And, if the Steelers don’t get much from whoever replaces him, was it worth it to them?
--- YOU: It sounds like there is a distinct possibility that the Steelers and James Harrison are going to part ways. Would this move provide the Steelers with sufficient cap space to extend a more competitive offer to Keenan Lewis?
ME: They needed Harrison’s money to tender their restricted free agents. It changes nothing as far as Lewis.
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