Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been lobbying coach Mike Tomlin to match the one-year, $2.5 million offer sheet the New England Patriots gave wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, according to sources.
The Steelers have until 11:59 p.m. Sunday night to match the offer sheet Sanders signed with the Patriots. If the Steelers don't match, Sanders will join the Patriots and Pittsburgh will receive a third-round draft choice.
The Steelers are not expected to make a decision until Sunday.
The money in Sanders' offer sheet won't scare Pittsburgh, sources said. But Sanders can leave in a year as an unrestricted free agent. Instead of risking losing him with no compensation after the 2012 season, the Steelers could opt to take New England's third-round pick now.
Sanders, 26, is a quick, athletic receiver who caught a career-high 44 passes in 2012, doubling his production from the previous season.
He received an original-round tender from the Steelers only because of the team's salary-cap restraints this offseason.