Steelers Restricted Free Agency: Deadline is April 19, McLendon, Redman still unsigned

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

The Steelers nearly lost Emmanuel Sanders and are still at risk of being forced to decide to match an offer for Steve McLendon and Isaac Redman. The deadline for RFAs to sign offer sheets with other teams in April 19.

in 24 hours, the Steelers will no longer have to worry about the pillaging of their players from their roster.

April 19 is the deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets with other teams. The Collective Bargaining Agreement signed in 2011 sets unsigned players with four years of tenure as free agents, meaning, after the 2013 season, there essentially won't be any more restricted free agents.

While the recent flurry of RFA activity likely won't amount to a loss of personnel for the Steelers - assuming Steve McLendon's recent visit to Green Bay won't result in an offer sheet being signed - clearly, the raise given to wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders doesn't help things for 2013.

The risk of losing McLendon - a talented player without an insurance policy protecting him - was perhaps calculated, but losing a talented player a team should otherwise have been able to keep with no compensation (outside of likely a late compensatory pick in 2015) can't be seen as a success.

As it is, whether McLendon signs an offer sheet or not, he's unprotected. With the extra money being given to Sanders, the Steelers really don't have the cap space to match an offer much higher than the $1.323 million he's already on the hook for. The Packers, a team looking to add to the depth along its 3-4 front, could be able to get a player with ability at a cheap price.

Isaac Redman is currently unprotected as well. Undrafted, Redman would not return a pick in compensation if he was to leave. With the Steelers current cap situation, a team could swoop in on him as well.

This isn't to suggest either of them will sign over sheets before the deadline, but with the tenuous cap situation the Steelers are facing, a team looking for an experienced player could get either of them on a relatively cheaper deal.


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