Former Steelers WR Emmanuel Sanders Expected To Sign With The Broncos

In what is perhaps the least surprising news this free agency period related to the Pittsburgh Steelers, wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders will sign with another team other than the Steelers, according to Adam Schefter.

That team is the Denver Broncos, who lost Eric Decker to the New York Jets earlier in the past week. While Schefter says that the Broncos are expected to sign him, however, it should be noted that according to Aaron Wilson, he remains in Kansas City for tonight.

Sanders, the Steelers’ third-round draft pick in 2010, had his best professional season last year as a regular starter for the first time in his career.

But according to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Steelers never even made the four-year wide receiver an offer to stay with the team that drafted him.

Last season, as a restricted free agent, the Steelers gave an original-round tender on him, and thought of him enough that when the New England Patriots signed him to a one-year, $2.5 million offer sheet, they matched the offer

As a result, they turned down a third-round pick they could have used to draft Shamarko Thomas (or somebody else) last year, instead of trading away their third-round pick for this draft.

Though Sanders posted career-bests in receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns, he also posted a career-low 11 yards per reception last season. In addition, according to Pro Football Focus, his six touchdowns were nearly matched by the five interceptions thrown when he was targeted.

The Steelers intend to address the wide receiver position in the early rounds of the upcoming draft, and they also expect to see a substantial increase in the playing time and production out of second-year wide receiver Markus Wheaton.

It wouldn’t be the first time a second-year receiver broke out big after a rookie campaign of inactivity, of course. Antonio Brown had a 1000-yard season in his second year after seeing little playing time the year before.

Meanwhile, a re-signing of Jerricho Cotchery is anticipated to take place any day now. He was reportedly on board a Steelers-sponsored cruise over the past few days. That can probably be taken as a good sign.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • Maureen A Gomes

    Kevin Colbert’s First Question to Steelers’ UFAs is “Does the player want to be here?” The Steelers not making an offer to Sanders makes sense in light of the fact that he signed an offer sheet with the Patriots last off season. He clearly did not want to be here.

  • Matt Manzo

    Smart move to go from Big Ben to Manning! If he can’t do it with Manning he’ll be a #3 forever. He’s got a good chance ahead of him.

  • dgh57

    I hope this is true because I’m getting tired of hearing about Sanders!!

  • Jason White

    Until he reaches the playoffs/Superbowl then he’ll wish he had Ben back throwing him the ball instead of watching Peyton throw retarded ducks to the opposing defenders.

  • Brian Tollini

    Everytime I looked at Sanders on the field this year all that I saw was a 2014 3rd round pick in a jersey. Damn.

  • Jazz

    I think Mike Tomlin and the Coaching Staff didn’t use Emmanuel Sanders to his advantage. Instead, they use two RB’s to return KO’s/Punts and they had a nice weaponin Sanders. Sanders will flourish under Peyton Manning, people can say what they want to about him, but he will be catching the ball from a pure pocket passer QB like Manning. I’m sure all of those WR’s get tired of Big Ben breaking down the play trying to make something happen when it is clearly not needed 100% of the time. Granted, Emmanuel Sanders did drop several of passes thrown his way last year, and lets give credit were it is due. Big Ben did hit him several of times right on the numbers and he was open as well, he simply dropped the ball. But I still think if they use Sanders in the slot, he is definitely better than any 3rd CB he will typically be facing on Sunday’s. I’m curious to see the numbers to his new deal.

  • Steelers12328882

    Peyton threw for 5,477 yards(68.3%) and 55 tds with only 10 ints last year. I’d say it’s a good move too lol.

  • Steelers12328882

    It’ll be a 2015 3rd rd pick instead. Well, either him or Hood after they subtract M&M out.

  • Brian Tollini

    My memory could be foggy but I don’t remember too many drops from Sanders.

  • Brian Tollini

    For sure, good point

  • Superdriller316

    It will take more than a five million a year contract to get a 3rd round comp pick. More like 8-10 mil a year. It was a 3rd if we let him go to the Pats last year.

  • Superdriller316

    He wasn’t good enough to wear 88.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Yeah, the Steelers won’t get close to a 3rd in a comp pick this year. Look at the deal Lewis signed and they are only expected to get a 5th out of that. Plus the Mitchell signing will already negate some of their comp value.

  • Johnny Loose

    I remember his rookie year when he took #88. When asked about it, he said he didn’t know who Lynn Swann was.. Good luck to him. I don’t think we’re missing anything great though

  • alex

    NE and Denver spending in there best impression of the Yankees and RedSox!

  • John

    Not a huge fan of Sanders but think what this means for Steelers next year. Even giving Steelers a draw at QB and RB, Broncos are better at WR, OL, DL, LB and secondary than us, So try to evaluate how well we will do next season based on that.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    And most people were screaming like they hit they jackpot when the cap went way up. Little did they realize how fast it can disappear. Well, at least they still have a little and a little more after June 1. If they want to do anything big, they will have to once again mortgage the future.

    Interesting decisions to be made. I still think there are lots of guys to be had inexpensively, like RB’s and some DE’s or even backup LB’s. If they can keep Cotch and a couple of others before the draft, there would be much less pressure on them as they make their picks.

  • shawn

    He’ll do well there !

  • Ken

    extremely foggy!!! They were big time drops game changing drops

  • Matt Manzo

    That’s true! If he throws like he did in the SB he’s in for a long year!

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Do not get me wrong here I was jumping for joy when we picked Wheaton who I had as one of my favorite players in this last draft but he hasn’t giving us anything and we just expect him to come in and be a stud. We see this on the DL as well. I see us gambling a lot more this year hoping that certain guys will just begin to show out.

  • Steelers12328882

    Ahh that sucks.

  • Jazz

    They would have been better off allowing him to go the Pats last year. They matched the offer, paid him $2.5M for one year, and then he walks one year later. Hmm! I’m no expert, but I think the Steelers could have done better than that. Now we’re in 2014, they don’t have a 3rd rd draft pick because they took Cleveland’s 2013 4th pick for their 3rd rd pick in 2014. I’m not understanding that philosophy at all!!!!! Even better, they traded a higher pick for a player that never made an impact in his rookie year. C’mon Man! If you’re going to give up a 3rd for a 4th for a player that still will not start in 2015, to me that was DUMB!

  • Superdriller316

    I would have let him walk last year. Took the third round pick and called it a day. He definitely wasn’t good enough to wear #88.