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Should Steelers Trade Emmanuel Sanders?

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The NFL’s newly revised trading deadline is scheduled for 4:00 this afternoon. One of the benefits of pushing it back from it’s previous date is teams now have a better idea of where they stand in relation to being contenders. There were a flurry of rumors yesterday involving several big name players stuck on dead end teams. Whether or not any of these deals actually come to fruition remains to be seen.

One team that should be active today is the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Superstar receiver Larry Fitzgerald is one of those big names I mentioned being thrown about. When word spread the going nowhere Cardinals might consider trading their star wide out, I saw delusional Steeler fans clamoring for us to make a play for him. The logic being, I guess, that LarryFitz would be an insta-fix for all our offensive woes. What’s more there are local connections with Fitzgerald playing college ball at Pitt. And while getting an elite receiver might seem counter-productive to Todd Haley‘s two year quest to return us to 1970s Stiller Football, Haley was Fitzgerald’s offensive coordinator during the best run of his career.

Of course, it helped that they had a quarterback by the name of Kurt Warner.

In any case, trading for Fitzgerald is completely absurd. For one, the Cardinals would be idiots to give him up for anything less than a bounty of draft picks. The Steelers simply can’t afford to put off the rebuilding process any longer. What’s more, the salary cap numbers don’t make any sense. LarryFitz signed an 8 year $120 million contract two years ago with a salary of $18 million on the books for next season. Considering the poorly managed Steelers recently had to re-do Ike Taylor‘s contract to get a piddling $3 million under the cap, I don’t see how they squeeze him in unless they literally unload every veteran on the roster this off-season.

No, the Steelers aren’t buyers. They’re sellers.

And the guy they should be peddling like a 2008 Chevy Impala is receiver Emmanuel Sanders. At this point, I think everybody would agree the Steelers blundered in not accepting the 3rd round pick New England would’ve surrendered for signing him as a restricted free agent. Sanders is having a solid but unspectacular season and will be an unrestricted free agent at year’s end. I don’t see the Steelers making any great push to sign him meaning he’ll likely depart for next to nothing.

The Steelers aren’t going anywhere this season. Their best course of action at this point is to focus on next year. If Sanders isn’t going to part of the equation, cut your losses and get what you can for him. The Indianapolis Colts already drastically overpaid by surrendering a 1st rounder to the Browns for colossal bust Trent Richardson. Teams who think they’re a player or two away from a Lombardi Trophy are often willing to do crazy things.

I don’t think we’ll get a 1st for Sanders but could we get a 2nd? Probably not although I’ve seen teams put escalators into trades where the trading team gets a say a 3rd if the other team makes the playoffs, a 2nd if they go to the Super Bowl, etc. There are teams out there definitely in need of a good wide receiver. The Packers have been ravaged by injury and while their top 2 are still solid, Sanders would slot in nicely at his natural #3 position. The Niners and Colts are also teams that have been hit by the injury bug and could use an upgrade at receiver.

However, the best trade match might be the team we face this Sunday. The team that wanted Sanders in the first place. Yes, I’m advocating dealing with the New England Patriots. Sure it’s sleeping with the enemy but watching poor filthy rich and banging a supermodel Tom Brady grow increasingly frustrated by his inept young receivers leads me to think they’d trip over themselves to land a guy like Sanders.

All we’d ask is for a third round pick.