The Pittsburgh Steelers' receiving corps already took a hit this offseason when they lost Mike Wallace, but the hits may not be done coming. Restricted free agent Emmanuel Sanders is visiting with the New England Patriots, according to Adam Schefter, and there are concerns that he could receive an offer sheet that the cap-strapped Steelers won't be able to match.
Pittsburgh has been restructuring contracts all offseason to clear cap space. Antonio Brown, LaMarr Woodley and Lawrence Timmons all reworked their deals to help the Steelers get down to the cap numbers, while James Harrison was released in part to get the team far enough under the cap to offer tenders. With such little cap space, the Steelers could easily end up being priced out of Sanders by a team like the Patriots, who entered the offseason with a ton of cap space.
Sanders had the best season of his career in 2012, catching 44 passes for 626 yards. The 26-year old doubled his production from 2011 and was expected to take another big leap in 2013.
If Sanders receives an offer sheet that the Steelers can't match, or won't match, they will get a third-round pick in compensation because they did place the $1.3 millon tender on him.
But a draft pick wouldn't be enough to fill the huge holes in the Steelers receiving corps. If Sanders leaves, Brown, Jerricho Cotchery, Plaxico Burress and David Gilreath would be the only wideouts on the Pittsburgh roster with any experience and they don't have the cap room to make a splash in free agency to shore up the position.
First Wallace, now maybe Sanders? The Steelers could have some trouble at receiver.