August 19, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) is sacked by Pittsburgh Steelers defensive tackle Steve McLendon (90) during the first quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Steelers Free Agency: Steve McLendon visits Packers

The Pittsburgh Steelers only have a pair of restricted free agents remaining in nose tackle Steve McLendon and running back Isaac Redman.

It looks as if they could have some competition for one of those.

December 23, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers defensive tackle Steve McLendon (90) reacts to a defensive play against the Cincinnati Bengals during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. The Cincinnati Bengals won 13-10. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

McLendon, who is penciled in to replace Casey Hampton in the starting lineup this season, visited the Green Bay Packers on Friday, according to The Sports Xchange.

If the Packers sign McLendon to an offer sheet, which they can do up until Friday, it would put the Steelers in a tough spot. Because of the low tender the Steelers placed on the fourth-year pro, the Steelers wouldn’t get any compensation if they chose not to match a potential offer sheet.

I mentioned back when it happened that it was a major gamble to place the low tender on McLendon, now it could turn out to be an even bigger challenge to keep him in black-and-gold.

The problem is finding a way to not only keep McLendon but take a run at signing running back Ahmad Bradshaw. Considering the fact that the Steelers have less than $800K in salary cap space, it will be interesting to see exactly what the Steelers will do.

One option will be to restructure the contract of safety Troy Polamalu to create cap room.

Of course, the Steelers could be looking at the other option and that is simply to let McLendon walk, which would be a tough blow.

If he does walk, what other options are there for the Steelers?

If that’s the case, they will likely turn their attention back to veteran Casey Hampton, who could be had for the veteran’s minimum of $940 K. They will have to pay McLendon $1.3 million if he signs the tender and possibly more if Green Bay signs him to an offer sheet.

That’s something I would expect to happen as he could help solidify the Packers’ run defense.

If that is the case, it is back to the waiting game for the Steelers as similar to the situation with Sanders, they will have five days to make a decision.

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Tags: Green Bay Packers Pittsburgh Steelers Steve McLendon

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