ESPN is reporting that Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver, Emmanuel Sanders, has signed the Patriots offer sheet on a one-year deal. That is significant, because the Steelers have one of the leagues worst cap situations and tendered Sanders as an original round value. They can either choose to match the offer to Sanders or take a third round pick from New England.
With Sanders due to be a free agent after this season anyway, they risked losing him to free agency and getting nothing in return, much like Mike Wallace this off-season. But if they truly view him as Wallace’s replacement, then they will match the contract without question and workout a long-term deal in the future. It will be very interesting to see how this unfolds in the next few days.
Sanders had his best season as a pro in 2012, and he comes into 2013 with a lot of upside. He has the speed to break free and Big Ben still has a cannon. Emmanuel also showed signs of being more than just a downfield threat as he’s worked hard in his route running.
Behind Antonio Brown, if the Steelers let Sanders walk, is Plaxico Burress and Jericho Cotchery. This could be a forgetful season in Pittsburgh. And immediately following a year they want to forget, Steelers nation is getting quiet… a little too quiet.
If Sanders does make it to the Patriots, New England is sure to say good-bye to Brandon Lloyd as Sanders should slip into the #2 spot opposite Amendola.
New England is also hedging their bets on Sanders by re-signing, their Swiss army knife Julian Edelman, to a one-year deal. Edelman is a valued member of the Patriots and after testing the market, came back to the Pats. Julian had the chance to prove himself last season but numerous injuries kept him from realizing his full potential. Now he comes back to give depth and experience to a now crowded WR corp including Danny Amendola, Donald Jones, Michael Jenkins and Brandon Lloyd.
I find it hilarious, the situation the Patriots have put themselves in heading into 2013. Instead of just signing the guy that’s been as steady a player in the NFL for the past 6 seasons as you can get, they elect to stand firm and go after a bunch of guys that “could” be as good, collectively, as Welker. Makes no sense to me.
This is quickly becoming a situation to avoid in terms of targeting receivers. Tom Brady is still going to be very good but you gotta think, with all of these new faces, can he equal the production from the past couple of seasons? Now that we know Gronk may not be ready for the beginning of the season, I’m starting to worry.