The Steelers put tenders on their restricted free agents Saturday, and there are two interesting developments.
The first one is Pittsburgh placing a low tender on Steve McLendon, who is expected to replace Casey Hampton as the team’s starting nose tackle. There were thoughts that the Steelers would protect him more by putting a second-round tender on him.
But in choosing the low tender ($1.3 million) over the second-round one ($2 million), the Steelers could lose McLendon without compensation because he was undrafted. The Steelers would have the right to match any offer, although it could be difficult to do considering their cap problems. This is certainly a gamble.
The Steelers’ other notable decision was placing tenders on running backs Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman. There was speculation that the Steelers might put the tender on Redman only because of limited cap room. But Pittsburgh put low tenders on Dwyer and Redman, both of whom will get $1.3 million. Although unlikely, the Steelers would get a sixth-round pick as compensation if they lose Dwyer to another team and no compensation for Redman because he was undrafted.
Accounting for all these RFA tenders on the cap, the Steelers were $1.4 million over. But when factoring in the release of linebacker James Harrison, the Steelers are now $3.4 million under the cap.
Here’s a recap of the Steelers’ restricted free agents:
RB Jonathan Dwyer: Original round (sixth round)
P Jeremy Kapinos: No tender
NT Steve McLendon: Right of first refusal (no compensation)
RB Isaac Redman: Right of first refusal (no compensation)
LB Stevenson Sylvester: No tender
WR Emmanuel Sanders: Original round (third round)