Entering his final season of his contract with the Denver Broncos, it seems like Emmanuel Sanders and the team are finally picking up pace with their negotiations for a new contract.
— Mike Klis (@MikeKlis) September 7, 2016
According to the reports, both sides seem to be in agreement about the average salary, but just like in the Von Miller negotiations this offseason ($114.5 million, 6 years, $42 million guaranteed on signing), the guarantees and contract structure are holding back the deal from getting signed.
With every NFL contract, it’s compared to players in the same position getting recent deals. Sanders, who comes with a $6.6 million cap hit this season, isn’t going to be getting top 5 money like Dez Bryant, Demaryius Thomas or A.J. Green, all making $14 million a season or more. Tavon Austin signing a $42 million, four-year deal with the Los Angeles Rams seems like a much better comparison, and his deal included $17 million in guaranteed money. However, Sanders is older than Austin, and other receivers like Allen Hurns, Keenan Allen and Doug Baldwin are younger than him too. Sanders will be 30 in March, and after his big breakout season in 2014 (1404 yards, 9 touchdowns), his production of receptions yards per game dropped by 14% in 2015, although that might have more to do with the Broncos quarterback problems.
In the end, the Broncos and Sanders will come to some agreement. He performed extremely well for them in the postseason, finishing with 16 receptions and 230 yards and a Super Bowl ring, although he still doesn’t have a playoff touchdown in his career. Over the last four seasons (two with the Steelers before joining Denver in 2014), Sanders has missed only one regular season game.