Now That WR Eric Decker Is Off The Market, Will Emmanuel Sanders Be Next?

The New York Jets announced late Wednesday night that they have come to terms with Denver Broncos unrestricted free agent wide receiver Eric Decker, so you have to think that puts Pittsburgh Steelers unrestricted free agent wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders one step closer to finding a new home for 2014.

The Jets were rumored to have serious interest in Sanders well prior to the start of free agency, but it appears as though that was severely overblown. They could certainly still go after him now that they have Decker in the fold, but with so many needs at other positions and a deep wide receive draft class just a few months away from being center stage, the Jets might turn their attention elsewhere now in free agency.

Sanders isn’t being ignored completely, however, as he reportedly visited with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Wednesday. At the time of this post no deal has been reported.

At some point, you have to wonder if the Steelers currently have an offer on the table for Sanders and if they do, just how far below what he’s being offered from other teams is it. Decker reportedly received a five-year, $36.25 million deal from the Jets that included $15 million guaranteed and one would think there’s no way that Sanders will see that kind of money.

More than likely, several other teams are sitting patiently waiting for Sanders asking price to come down. Regardless, every day the SMU product remains unsigned can’t be considered a good thing and especially if those days carryover into the first weekend of the free agency signing period.

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • shawn

    For the record …. Sanders who most everyone on here is happy to let go (including me) was rated at least 20 positions ahead of Mitchell in the FA market… puts things into perspective

    another doozy … Verner who was one of the top rated FA’s on the board (top 10) barely got a few $$ more per yr than Mitchell (who barely cracked the top 100-FA)

  • Madi

    Exactly which ratings system is it that can see the future? You’re acting like you know what’s going to happen over the next 5 years.

  • Virdin Barzey

    Decker is a clown. You leave Peyton Manning to play with Sanchez and Geno. What a dummy. Well lets re-word that. He did it for the money. Win a Superbowl and get even more.

    Surprise the Patsies haven’t scooped up Sanders already. We really should have taken that pick for him.

  • shawn

    Great Post … ya we should have gotten that pick from them … bad choice by the FO … another of many … but did work out a little as Wheaton had his injuries but that was not their thought process … Decker should have stayed in Denver for less money … u are right he is a clown .. he’s a product of the system and benefits more with Peyton than will with anybody else … some times these guys are so short sighted !

  • shawn

    huh … nice post i mean whatttt … Im talking about the FA Market that sites and experts had rated … what part of that did you not understand !

  • steelster

    so if they would have left sanders go who would have been the number 2 receiver for the steelers in 2013.

  • mlc43

    I have to agree. I thought of Sanders as a 1 season rental all of last year. I would have rather taken our chances with Cotch as the no 2 and had the pick this year.

  • steelster

    in hindsite that is a easy statement to make. The steelers really didn’t know what they had with sanders because he hadn’t been a fulltime starter. Cotch wasn’t a good number two guy with the jets and that is why they let him go.

  • shawn

    looking at the time Wheaton would have been the better choice … but in hindsight they were lucky as he was injured … but still would have rather had anybody else fill in and gotten the pick … not like it helped us get anywhere right !!

  • mlc43

    Well, I did scream from the rooftops to let him go for the pick. Still, it is what it is. We’ll recover I’m sure.

  • steelster

    how were we lucky that wheaton was injured it really hurt us

  • mem359

    Verner is also getting $14 million in guaranteed money for his four year contract, versus a little over $5 million for Mitchell’s five years. That greatly reduces the risk.

    It also sounds like Mitchell wants to be in Pittsburgh. No idea if Verner would have wanted a lot more to play in the snow instead of the sun.

  • shawn

    People need to stop having to get caught up in Guaranteed Money … thats not how it works !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    You telling me you are looking at the pick as a FAILURE before he even hits the field …. ah geez where do i begin

    Looking at guaranteed money comes in handy when ur looking at guys that aren’t likely to be able to stay on the team for the entire contract and other similar situations not when u are talking about players that u are LOOKING TO PAY OUT THE FULL CONTRACT because that would be a SUCCESS !!!!

  • CW

    You’re missing the problem.

    Verner costs far more over the next two years while Mitchell costs far less. That gives the Steelers more room to sign other free agents, whether their own or other team’s free agents.

    That lower cost this year and next year might be the difference between resigning Cotchery as well as Keisel or Hood and adding another decent veteran free agent or two where needed from other teams rather than having to pick between signing just a few free agents and then relying on rookies and castoffs to fill in as backups or spot starters.

  • shawn

    would much rather had Verner and his 5 mil cap hit than Mitchell and his 2.5 mil cap hit .. please dont try and tell me that we couldn’t have afforded that or would have not let us sign our guys …. they are still walking out the door .. lets be real here !

  • CW

    You’re forgetting that Tampa Bay wanted him at least as much as you do, had been in contact with his agent from the moment that the window on talking to free agents opened, and they had the bigger bank roll to throw at him. They could have doubled the price and beaten the Steelers outright in a bidding war or driven the price into the break the bank range for the Steelers and crippled the team for one free agent.

    Even so Verner’s stats from last year in several areas could very well be outliers that will not happen again. He never had more than 11 passes defensed in a season prior to last season and mostly had less than 10 prior to last year. He also just about doubled his best previous year’s interceptions last year.

    Throw into it that this year’s draft has some serious talent at cornerback and some serious question marks at safety, especially free safety, and the Steelers probably made the best move for the money they had. The team needed to replace Ryan Clark badly with a free safety that should be able to handle the responsibilities of a Steelers free safety and they probably got the right man in Mitchell.

  • shawn

    You make a good point that TB could have beat us out in a bidding war .. but u didnt take into account what its worth playing for a winner in Pitt … can’t agree with u on the CB vs Safety in the Draft … i think its closer than u think … also dont think its the best move we could have made … it was a so so signing, u cherry picked Verner’s stats but i could do the same and did with Mitchells … his numbers are actually very pedestrian … look at his last 10 games last yr … can u say average ?? … while Verner has been more than Solid the last several yrs !

  • CW

    Wasn’t cherry picking Verner’s stats. Just pointing out that it could be an outlier year.

    Verner never turned in a Pro Bowl year before last year and he doubled several key stats in a contract year, which is worrying. Big outlier years tend to regress significantly afterwards statistically towards the mean of their previous average far more often than that outlier becomes the new normal.

    If the team was sitting pretty with money like the Browns have, then yeah, they should have made both moves.

    However the Steelers are in one of the weaker free agency positions this year and have to play where they can win the game without breaking the bank.

  • Nolrog

    Decker got a 36 million dollar contract. How is that being a clown?

  • Steve

    Shawn and CW, great arguement. Gotta go with CW on this though. Theres no way of telling whether or not Verner would have wanted to play in Pitt. As fans I think we are bias to the point of saying who wouldnt want to play for the greatest organization in sports. But everyone knows its about the almighty dollar. If Verner would have been offered contracts from both Pitt and CLE but CLE offered more guaranteed, he would sign with CLE.
    Saftey position in this years draft may be deep but Mitchell provides a service of coming in and starting right now. The only safety in the rookie class thats going to possibly show he might be able to start would be a first round pick. With so many other needs and the signing of Mitchell, that allows them to focus on other needs. Plus, the Mitchell signing also says to me that Thomas isnt ready to start even though they are high in him.
    With Woodley and Foote gone, they need depth at both LB positions. Alot of things can happen in the next few days or within the next week. Say Pitt resigns JCO and Sanders gets no decent offers through this coming weekend and he decides to come back on the cheap. Now Pitt wont be looking at wr in the 1st, 2nd or even 3rd round anymore. Wouldn’t be surprised if they took another outside LB in the 1st to push mister Jones or ILB they look like they desperately need. Now that Woods is gone, they could be looking at DL in the 1st. Point is, they have multiple positions (WR, LB, CB, DL) to look at in the 1st and safety is now one they dont have to look at.

  • Virdin Barzey

    My bad, Decker did try to stay in Denver but looks like they had other plans. Guess someone had to pay for those defensive FA Elway is picking up.

  • AndyR34

    CW – love this statement: “Big outlier years tend to regress significantly afterwards statistically towards the mean of their previous average far more often than that outlier becomes the new normal”. “Regression towards the mean” is a too-often discounted, disregarded, and ignored statistics concept that fortunately, the Steeler’s FO understands. Thanks for bringing good stuff to the discussion!

  • AndyR34

    Thank you for the thoughtful post!

  • shawn

    Your outlier stat/theory looks like it applies to Mitchell a lot more than Verner if true … while Verners stats did improve a lot he has been considered very good since he has been there and that along with improved numbers may just mean he is getting better but i would be happy if all we got was his performance prior to last year

    On the other hand, Mitchell did next to nothing before last year … and a closer look at last year it was just a few games that he put up most of his numbers so I would not be happy with that type of performance !

    While not having the luxury of many teams this year I do think we had enough $$$ to do a little better in my opinion.

  • shawn

    Im saying they were lucky they kept Sanders as Wheaton ended up being hurt … wish it had been let Sanders go gotten the 3rd and Wheaton picked up valuable experience and decent numbers … yes it really did hurt us

  • shawn

    You make some good points, just dont like the direction you are pointing us in … liked where we were and wanted to get better thru the draft … (focusing on DBs, TE/WR and other Def) Mitchell wouldnt have been my choice to bolster our secondary

  • 243546

    Golden Tate got 5 years/$31M, with $13M guaranteed. Sanders will make less than Tate.

    I don’t think Sanders has as much value to other teams, as we think he does. We’ve seen enough former Steelers WR’s tank once #7 is no longer throwing to them, and most of them were better players than Sanders. If he gets $5M/year, he should consider himself lucky.

  • shawn

    That statement that u like so much defines Mitchell to a “T”

  • PA2AK

    Are these the same guys that predict who wins the Super Bowl and which draft picks are going to be the best? I believe that was his point. The rankings don’t mean everything, and certainly have less weight when considering team needs and how they approach the game differently.

  • PA2AK

    Hence the money friendly deal…

  • Steve

    Had they resigned Woods, I think DL would still have been a priority just not as high. They need to focus on getting JCO signed or they will be in trouble going into the draft. I’m kind of hoping no one bites on Spikes and Pitt takes an interest in him. He’s young and could be explosive just needs someone to kick him in the arse from time to time

  • Steve

    Hate to say it but I’m kind of hoping Sanders gets squat offered to him and he comes back. Pitt really needs to focus on defense through the draft

  • Steve

    Cotch may be the @2 WR this year, which I think he would do a lot better at than Manny Sanders. Sanders dropped way too many catches that cost us. Cotch was clutch in the RZ.

  • Steve

    Shawn means that we were lucky to have Sanders since Wheaton broke his finger and was hurt.

  • Steve

    Going from a Super Bowl team to a toilet bowl team. Yes Denver lost in the SB but they were there and not in the toilet bowl.

  • Steve

    Agree that Defense should be a priority. Need to say Adios to Sanders and should have last year. Never will be a #1 receiver and had too many drops.

  • shawn

    same type of guys that rate the draft pics but at least now they have pro work to judge by … my point is nobody had him in the top half of FA guys out there … we vastly overpaid for him … look at Nolan Carroll’s contract they had very similar years and he got half of what we paid Mitchell … ughhh

  • shawn

    Friendly ?? … Look at Nolan Carroll’s contract (similar year to Mitchell) and he got half what we paid !!

    yes friendly indeed … friendly to him !

  • shawn

    Well had they kept Woods and Hood … I dont think there was much of a need at DL, yes we could have picked up somebody but now they are both gone they have to get after it hard in the draft and or FA

  • PA2AK

    but the guy fits next to Troy very well. I’m not saying that we should all ignore the ‘pros’ that are out there ranking people, but they aren’t considering how well they will mesh with schemes and needs for each team. Given the significant holes on the team, this appears to be a great signing at a friendly value with relatively low risk.

  • PA2AK

    He’s aggressive and can cover…we need that. The lack of intimidation we have with a great deal of our defenders is a problem that doesn’t figure into the statistical rankings.

  • PA2AK

    Look at the cap ramifications should he not work out. i hope you aren’t suggesting the Steelers ignore their cap concerns going forward. Remember, there is more than one position to fill.

  • Rikki Giaro

    I think people gets confused sometimes about the difference between the 2 positions , one is free saftey and one is strong safety. Thomas is a SS he was drafted to replace Troy,Mitchell is a FS he will be talking Clarks old spot. I am sure we will see Thomas in sub packages and maybe a bit at corner.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    with a deep WR class and quite a few decent WR’s in FA we still maybe be able to sign him cheap.

  • shawn

    I was only judging the amount we paid … for his production … i have little doubt that he is an upgrade over Clark .. how much of an upgrade is the million dollar question !