As the old saying goes, “hindsight is 20/20.” Therefore it’s easy for me to bash the Pittsburgh Steelers for a move they should have made a year ago when they could have let Emmanuel Sanders go to New England.
The Steelers would have picked up a third-round selection as part of his restricted free agency.
It’s easy for me to say the Steelers erred because the team went 8-8 last year. It’s not like Sanders was instrumental in getting them to the playoffs. He had a very nice season with 67 receptions for 740 yards and six touchdowns but what did showcasing him to other teams get the Steelers in return?
It garnered them nothing.
In fact, while Sanders waxes poetically about playing with Peyton Manning whom he referred to as a “wide receiver’s dream,” he should also send his heartfelt thanks to the Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger who helped him earn his wonderful new contract in Denver.
Besides the third-round pick they could have had for the 2014 NFL Draft, they also would have been forced to play a guy like Derek Moye who didn’t see the field nearly enough for a team struggling to be .500.
Perhaps Markus Wheaton gets on the field sooner as well? Yes, he was limited by the broken finger for much of the season but who knows?
Let us also remember the Steelers traded a third-round pick last year to move up and grab Shamarko Thomas. Having the third-round pick for Sanders right now sure would look good. Granted, the Steelers may still get that pick back through compensatory picks that have yet to be awarded but draft picks are like gold.
Especially the ones you should have had.
Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns www.steelcityblitz.com. Follow him on Twitter @steeldad and follow the website at @SCBlitz. He can be heard Mondays on Trib-Live Radio at 730pm ET talking Steelers and is a blogger for ESPN 970 in Pittsburgh.