Steelers sign McLendon to three-year deal

April, 18, 2013
4/18/13
2:47
PM ET
The Pittsburgh Steelers reached a three-year deal with nose tackle Steve McLendon, thanks to a nudge from the Green Bay Packers.

A day after McLendon visited the Packers, the Steelers struck a multiyear deal with the restricted free agent that's worth a maximum of $7.25 million and includes a $1.675 million signing bonus, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

The Steelers had other options -- like re-signing Casey Hampton or giving Alameda Ta'amu a shot to start -- but keeping McLendon was the best one. Hampton turns 36 by the time the season starts and Ta'amu is a risk considering his off-the-field issue.

McLendon, 27, is hitting the prime of his career and has shown the ability to step up when Hampton has been hurt. But the Steelers committed to McLendon more on projection than on production. He has one career start and played only 139 defensive snaps last season.

The Steelers could have avoided all of this drama if they had put a second-round tender on McLendon, which would have cost the team $700,000 more this offseason. Still, in the end, the Steelers likely would've reached a multiyear deal with him anyway. The interest from the Packers just sped up the process.

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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