The New England Patriots, as expected, released veteran wide receiver Brandon Lloyd on Saturday to avoid paying him the $3 million roster bonus that he was due. Lloyd was also scheduled to earn a base salary of $1.9 million in addition to that bonus.
Now that the Patriots have cleared more salary cap room, they could decide to sign Pittsburgh Steelers restricted free agent Emmanuel Sanders to an offer sheet. As of 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, however, Sanders still hasn\'t received or signed an offer sheet from the Patriots. It was erroneously reported on Friday by several media outlets and blog sites that Sanders had already signed an offer sheet.
Should the Patriots ultimately sign Sanders to an offer sheet, the Steelers will have the choice to match it within seven days once their former third-round draft pick presents it to them. A decision not to match would result in the Steelers receiving the Patriots third-round draft pick in the upcoming draft as compensation.
Letting Sanders leave would also free up less than a million in cap space for the Steelers after displacement, as the $1.323 million tender that they gave to him prior to the start of free agency would then be off of the books.