My what a study in contrasts.
When word leaked that Emmanuel Sanders had visited the New England Patriots, the Steelers Braintrust calmly watched as confusion spread about his signing, debated the pros and cons of keeping him, and matched the offer at the 11th hour.
- While the Steelers value Emmanuel Sanders, clearly there is another restricted free agent who was “more equal” than Sanders.
When news broke that starting nose tackle Steve McLendon had worked out with the Green Bay Packers it sent, in Dale Lolley’s words, “shockwaves” through the front office.
- Less than 24 hours later, the Steelers had resigned Steve McLendon to a 3 year deal.
According to reports published by Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, McLendon’s deal is for 7.25 million dollars and includes a 1.67 million signing bonus. The move likely spells the end to Casey Hampton’s time in Pittsburgh – Dale Lolley commented that Hampton’s agent expects his client to land an offer during training camp.
Steve McLendon joined the Steelers practice squad during the 2009 season, and saw his first action in week 2 of 2010, earning his stripes vs. the Tennessee Titans in what was one of the finest defensive performances in franchise history.
McLendon worked his way past Chris Hoke in the starting line up, and by training camp 2012 many fans felt that McLendon was outperforming Hampton. Hampton started all 16 games for the Steelers in 2012, but McLendon got plenty of playing time, and when he did he disrupted.
This was one player the Steelers needed to bring back, and they’ve taken care to do just that.