The New England Patriots are addressing their wide receiver needs by both trying to add more players and keeping those they almost lost – after re-signing Julian Edelman on a one year deal, they offered another to restricted free agent Emmanuel Sanders, forcing the Pittsburgh Steelers to match their offer or lose the player, not having too many options at wide receiver themselves.
And still, even after letting Mike Wallace go, the Steelers might opt to not match the Patriots’ offer. Sanders will become an unrestricted free agent next season anyway, with the option of walking away without the Steelers getting anything out of it. At least this way, if Sanders does indeed joins the Patriots for the 2013 season, they’ll be compensated with a third round draft pick.
Sanders was offered a one-year, $2.5 million deal by the Patriots, not the kind of money that could scare away the Steelers, but as we mentioned before, it’s more than just a cap issue. Sanders caught a career high 44 passes last season, going for 626 yards and a touchdown, starting a career high 7 games and playing in all 16 for the Steelers. Not exactly a number one wideout type of production, but there’s certainly a lot of potential if the usage numbers go up.
The Steelers were planning on using Sanders as the replacement to Mike Wallace and start him opposite of Antonio Brown. His departure will probably force them to seek a solution in the draft. For the Patriots, if they do manage to add Sanders in the next few days, it’ll be the fourth wide receiver they sign this off-season after already adding Danny Amendola, Michael Jenkins and Donald Jones earlier.