The Steelers don't conduct business in the same manner as other teams, as the adage goes.
However true that statement is, one thing is certain; they are not one of four teams who engaged in negotiations with wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders over the weekend. Or at least there are four teams who tried to negotiate. Sanders and his agent, Steve Weinberg, allegedly accepted a verbal deal from Kansas City, only to shop that deal to the Buccaneers, never having told them about the Chiefs deal, and still managing to arrange a visit to the 49ers.
So, obviously, based on the chain of events displayed, it's only natural he comes to terms with the Denver Broncos, who say they had no idea he'd already agreed to terms before they signed him. Then as a bonus, the dynamic duo of dirty deeds never bothered to tell San Francisco they weren't coming.
"This was one of the worst situations in modern football negotiations," wrote NFL.com writer Gregg Rosenthal, quoting an unnamed executive."Totally wrong. This needs to be stopped."
All the players lied to by coaches/execs feel really badly for teams spurned by Emmanuel Sanders— Ross Tucker (@RossTuckerNFL) March 16, 2014
Let's keep in mind, Weinberg had been banned by the NFLPA previously, having allegedly funneled money into an offshore account after requesting payment from a client earlier than rules permitted.
As BTSC wrote Sunday, Weinberg had 42 clients at the time of the alleged misconduct. Now he has two, including Sanders.
Odds are good Sanders will be shopping for a new agent in the near future, as it seems highly unlikely an executive - albeit probably one on the short end of the stick in these negotiations - would use those words and action not be taken against him.
BTSC also wrote Sunday regarding Ed Bouchette's report the Steelers did not make an offer to keep Emmanuel Sanders this year - just one year after they passed an opportunity to get New England's third round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft by not matching an offer the Patriots made to Sanders in restricted free agency.
The Steelers matched the one-year deal, worth $2.5 million, which was approximately $1.2 million more than the original round tender the Steelers gave Sanders in RFA.
Sanders changed agents between then and now, and it's reasonable to assume Weinberg at least had conversations with Sanders regarding a contract offer - agents can't legally speak to other teams while a player is under contract, so the only team he could have talked to regarding his market value was the Steelers.
Yet, the Steelers never made an offer. Certainly, some of that is due to the selection of Markus Wheaton in the third round of the 2013 draft (a pick made knowing Sanders had only a one-year deal in place). At the same time, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger expressed his desire to keep the entire offense intact, after averaging 28 points a game in the final eight games of the season - the first time over the last two years the team had sustained offensive production of that magnitude.
It's fair to say Sanders is an acceptable loss, even if the shady practices of his agent might suggest the team simply didn't want to enter into negotiations with him. The point could have been to let him walk in 2014 anyway, hope someone signs him to a huge deal and get a third round compensatory pick for the second straight year.
That still may end up happening, but it's rare when we have a better guess into a free agent's contract value and length than we do which team it will be with.