Well, that was short-lived optimism. After reports surfaced Wednesday evening that the Green Bay Packers had met with restricted free agent nose tackle Steve McLendon, the Pittsburgh Steelers today announced that they have re-signed him to a three-year contract extension.
We have signed restricted free agent nose tackle Steve McLendon to a three-year contract today.— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) April 18, 2013
Does anybody think that these two events are related? It certainly seems like far too much of a coincidence, and that McLendon either used the Packers as leverage to get a long-term deal from Pittsburgh or that the Packers' interest in him forced the Steelers' hand. In any case, McLendon will return to the Steel City as the presumptive starter at nose tackle. Terms of the deal were reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter:
Steelers gave DT Steve McLendon signed a 3-yr deal with max value of $7.25 mil, including $1.675 million guaranteed. $5 mil in first two yrs— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 18, 2013
This probably means that the Packers will address the defensive line early in next week's NFL Draft. In just over seven days from now, we will know whether or not that takes place with the Packers' first round pick at 26th overall.