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Tender blunder costs Steelers $500,000

Emmanuel Sanders

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Brian Hoyer looks around the stadium as he walks out the tunnel before an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens in Baltimore, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2012. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)


Regardless of whether the Steelers made the right decision to match the one-year, $2.5 million offer to retain receiver Emmanuel Sanders, the truth is that the entire escapade easily could have been avoided if the Steelers had made a better decision regarding the tender offer given to Sanders.

By going with the third-round tender at a cost of $1.3 million for a one-year deal, the Steelers tempted the Patriots to sign Sanders to an offer sheet. If the Steelers had gone with a second-round tender at roughly $2 million, the Patriots likely would not have tried to sign Sanders.

It’s a dynamic that was explained by Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette during Monday’s PFT Live.

So by trying to save $700,000, the Steelers cost themselves an extra $500,000.

The ultimate winner is Sanders, who gets another $1.2 million than the Steelers wanted to pay. And unless the Steelers make him a much larger offer, Sanders will hit the open market in 2014.