The Steelers gave QB Dennis Dixon the original draft-round tender in restricted free agency, agent Jeffrey Sperbeck confirmed to PFW on Thursday. Should a team sign Dixon to an offer sheet that went unmatched by Pittsburgh, it would have to surrender a fifth-round pick as compensation if the NFL continues to operate under the rules that have governed restricted free agency in recent years. Sperbeck told PFW that Dixon has long been recovered from the torn lateral meniscus in his left knee that sidelined him in Week Two and landed him on injured reserve.
Dixon, 26, began the season as the Steelers' starter with QB Ben Roethlisberger suspended and Byron Leftwich suffering a knee injury in the preseason finale. In two starts, Dixon completed 22-of-32 passes for 254 yards with no TDs and one interception. He also rushed for 32 yards on five carries. Should the Steelers retain Dixon's rights, he'll compete with Leftwich and Charlie Batch for the top backup role. Leftwich held the job for much of last season.
Considering the relatively low level of the tender extended to him and with multiple teams having a need at quarterback, it will be interesting to see if Dixon draws an offer in restricted free agency.