Shortly after releasing linebacker James Harrison, Pittsburgh Steelers’ general manager Kevin Colbert turned his attention to the team’s restricted free agents.
In a rather shocking move, the Steelers placed a low tender on both nose tackle Steve McClendon and running back Jonathan Dwyer.
That’s rather odd for a couple of reasons.
First on McClendon.
With Casey Hampton likely not to be brought back, it is expected that McClendon steps right into the role as starting nose tackle. It was thought that the Steelers would put a higher tender on him, but that’s not the case.
By placing the low tender ($1.3 million) over the second-round tender ($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.
The same goes for the running back situation with Dwyer and Isaac Redman.
ESPN speculated early in the week that that the Steelers would put a higher tender on Redman. 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.
Here’s a look at the Steelers restricted free agents and the tenders put on them:
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)
With all of the money due to the restricted free agents, the Steelers would have been $1.4 million over the cap, but factor in the release of Harrison and the team is now $3.4 million under, meaning they still have a lot of money to clear just to sign draft pick, much less sign any free agents.