Is it possible the Green Bay Packers might actually try to pry a restricted free agent away from another team? That seems like a completely idiotic suggestion, but — get ready for this — the team actually hosted Pittsburgh Steelers restricted free agent defensive lineman Steve McLendon on Wednesday.
What’s wrong with this picture? Well, first, the Green Bay Packers don’t sign free agents. It’s written in the organizational constitution. Can’t do it. Penalty of death.
Second, no one signs restricted free agents. Only one restricted free agent even received an offer this offseason — the New England Patriots tried to sign another Pittsburgh player, receiver Emmanuel Sanders. The Steelers ultimately matched the Pats’ offer and kept Sanders.
So, what the hell is going on here?
McLendon isn’t exactly a big-ticket guy. He’s started only one game in three NFL seasons. Last year, he had just seven tackles, although two of them were sacks. So, it’s not like Pittsburgh can’t live without him.
In fact, Pittsburgh gave him the low tender and since he was an undrafted free agent, the Packers wouldn’t owe the Steelers any compensation if they ended up signing McLendon. A perfect case of the Packers being the Packers.
A couple other factors to note are these. Pittsburgh doesn’t have much cap room, so there’s a good chance they wouldn’t match an offer. Also, there are only two days left for other teams to sign restricted free agents to offer sheets, so maybe this is some sort of gamesmanship by Green Bay.
Now, no offer sheet has been signed and we fully expect the Packers to sit around and do absolutely nothing to try to sign this guy, but on the very slim chance they did, it’s clearly because they’re looking to shore up their defensive line. The Packers need another big body until Jerel Worthy returns from a torn ACL.
McLendon is certainly that. He was up to 325 during the 2012 season.