Nobody is surprised that Mike Wallace received a first round offer from the Steelers. The fact that Doug Legursky, Ramon Foster, and Ryan Mundy received draft round offers (along with Keenan Lewis & David Johnson) though shouldn’t be a total shock either. It’s not a reflection on their importance to the team, but rather a business decision in the cut throat industry that is the NFL.
Even with the extra $1.6 million that the league awarded the Steelers and other franchises in the wake of the infractions by Washington and Dallas, it’s still a tight cap year.
All of these players are worth a 2nd round tender, however the business side of things tells you that if you’re planning on matching the offer sheets that they might get, you keep it as low as possible. You would like to see them be able to cover the bases should a large offer come from another team but as we know that isn’t always possible. Both Legursky and Foster were undrafted free agents so if the Steelers would decline to match a deal from another team, they get nothing in return. If Mundy leaves, Pittsburgh only gets a 6th round pick as compensation. Let’s face it, the chances of finding more undrafted free agents or late round gems like Legursky, Foster, and Mundy is not exactly a guarantee so one can expect the Steelers have already decided to bring them back when the time comes.
It’s a testament to the front office, scouting dept. and coaching staff of the Steelers to have brought these guys to the team and turned them into quality players who contributed every week to the cause. Each player has proven his value at his respective position in their young careers; all 3 were on the roster and active in the Super Bowl run in 2010. Each one made significant contributions in 2011 too, as both starters and role players.
We would be remiss if we didn’t at least explore the possibility of them not being around though next year. It’s not as if these players don’t have a value to other teams in the league for those same reasons we talked about above. If I’m a team looking for reserve lineman; guys who have starting experience and I don’t have to give up anything significant to get them, that’s quite an enticing scenario. Depth is not a luxury in today’s NFL, injuries are inevitable so everyone wants to have guys capable of stepping in at a moments notice. Each player we’re talking about here could help virtually any team in the league to some degree.
Ryan Mundy is not the flashy type of player that both Ryan Clark and Troy Polamalu are but he’s a serviceable guy who could help another franchise not only from a depth stand point but also on special teams. Considering that he has starting experience and plays every week makes him worth more than a 6th round draft pick. Any team would be lucky to have a guy like Mundy on their roster.
Should the Steelers decide to let one or both players go it tells you that a complete retooling of the offensive line is in order, like it or not. That wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing considering the state of the line these last few years, however it also really forces you to possibly forgo other areas of need with a premium draft pick. The Steelers don’t allow themselves to be put in such a position though where they have to go in a particular direction in the draft or free agency.
The Steelers know exactly what they are doing, we should all know that by now. Even when things initially don’t make sense, the Rooney’s and the rest of the front office always have a plan. Foster, Legursky, and Mundy may not be upper echelon talent in the eyes of other NFL teams but they fit well in the Steelers system and that’s where they belong.
As we know they also tendered David Johnson and Keenan Lewis. There shouldn’t be much of an issue keeping Johnson should they desire to do so. We’ll have an additional writeup about Keenan Lewis very soon because his situation may not be quite as clear as the others.