Report: Browns Could Go After Steelers WR Emmanuel Sanders

According to Jason La Canfora, one of the early suitors for the services of soon-to-be-former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders will be the Cleveland Browns.

This is following reports that Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Andre Roberts, their top target, has come to a deal in principal with the Washington Redskins.

With the Cardinals having drafted wide receiver Michael Floyd to go along with Larry Fitzgerald, Roberts had his role significantly reduced last season, starting only two games, yet he still caught 43 passes for 471 yards and two touchdowns.

Between 2011 and 2012, Roberts started 31 games for a then-quarterback-starved Cardinals team, catching 115 passes for around 1350 yards and seven touchdowns, five of them coming in 2012.

Sanders, of course, inherited a starting wide receiver position with the Steelers after Mike Wallace cashed in big in free agency with a $60 million contract with the Miami Dolphins last offseason, and correspondingly put up some of his best numbers.

His 67 receptions, 740 receiving yards, and six touchdown receptions are all the best in those respective categories in his career, a year after the New England Patriots were willing to give up a third-round draft pick to sign him to a one-year, $2.5 million contract, to speak of the interest he should have this offseason.

Behind Josh Gordon, a first-team All-Pro selection this past season, and Greg Little, the Browns are relatively thin at the wide receiver position. Travis Benjamin had five receptions last season for 105 yards, while Josh Cooper recorded nine receptions for 60 yards.

Given that the Browns are quite likely to be targeting yet another quarterback in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft, it would behoove them to help surround that quarterback with some more weapons.

Adding Sanders, likely in the slot, where many believe he is better suited after spending a year playing on the outside, would be a nice upgrade for an incoming Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater, or Blake Bortles.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

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

  • JohnB

    They can have all the talent in the world, but as history has shown us, if they don’t have a QB, they’ll be basement dwellers.

  • SteelerFanInMD

    Sanders is going to get his payday.

  • steeltown

    It will be interesting to see what he gets in the way of yrs and amount

  • srdan

    Yeah, cooper threw the rest of the WRs a curve ball.

  • Jason

    Matt Schaub to Cleveland rumors are circulating too. Sanders would be a nice addition to the Browns. I agree that the slot is where he is the best fit.

  • steelster

    the browns could have some weapons on offense. draft Sammy Watkins and sign sanders and Darren sproles. Watkins, Josh Gordon, sanders, sproles and that good te, forget his name. They would have the best receiving core in the nfl and even with a average qb would be hard to stop. Steelers better improve the secondary if this happens.

  • Jason

    Jordan Cameron is the TE and you’re right that would be a potentially explosive offense.

  • Paddy

    The Browns will never win anything, and they will sign anyone with shoulder pads.
    They deserve their mediocrity and crave it.

    Oh I hear they want Revis too, they’re sick

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    I hope so. Then we get a better comp pick.

  • steelster

    paddy, you don’t know your nfl history the steelers sucked for years before 1970 much like the browns now and the browns were good back then with Jim Brown. Be careful of what you say history has a way of repeating itself and for the steelers sake I hope this never happens.

  • T R

    i hope he doesnt go to browns. they way they get rid of people so fast. we will not get no compensatory pick from them.. he will be cut before the season start. Crazy Browns.

  • CW

    It matters more what they pay for him than whether he makes the team finally. If they pay big bucks for a guy they cut, the Steelers should still get a decent compensatory pick. And if they pay big money, chances are they will not cut him even if there are adjustment problems.

  • StrengthOfVictory

    I know it’s a business, but at least leave the division, Sanders. Even if you plan to stay in the conference. Plus, going to Cleveland is clearly a step in the wrong direction.

  • treeher

    Matt, would the Steelers have any interest in retaining him at any price? What’s the max they’d pay him? Just curious what would happen if his FA offers are lower than expected.

  • WilliamSekinger

    The Browns are two years away 🙂
    My friend is a big Browns fan and he has been saying that exact thing every year for the last 15 years!

  • Matthew Marczi

    I think it would depend largely on the market. If the market makes him affordable, he could be brought back, but I also believe that the Steelers want to give Markus Wheaton a bigger role (while leaving Cotchery in the slot), and Sanders would obviously be a hindrance to that.

  • Chris S

    Comp picks are based on more than money. Playing time/stats play into it also. So if he didnt make the team…it would effect what comp pick they get…though I’m sure if this crazy scenario of him not making a team comes true then another would snatch him up/etc.

  • StrengthOfVictory

    Adding to Matt’s observation, I wonder if the Steelers feel Sanders has peaked. I think he’s a very solid player, but between up-and-down performances and injuries, they’re likely looking for a player with the potential to really step up the way Brown did. Maybe that’s Wheaton, and maybe that’s a (tall) draft pick. But after four seasons, you’d hope to feel much more confident in Sanders than it appears they do.

  • StrengthOfVictory

    If we’re looking for a FA tight end (outside of possibly Finley), it looks as though Owen Daniels will soon become available…?

  • James Kling

    They’ve had LOTS of QBs! LOL!

  • sean mcmartin

    see ya sanders,,It will be a good thing. He will drop a couple at the right time. the young money crew gets their wish..,

  • Nolrog

    I hope they give him a monster contract!!!!!

  • Michael Pearce

    Its not going in the wrong direction for Saunders. He is just looking for the best money contract he can get. That has been his reasoning ever since Mike Wallace struck it rich.

  • StrengthOfVictory

    I just mean he could join a better franchise than the Browns. That’s where football careers go to die.

  • Ron Kurimsky

    The Steelers need to keep Sanders – he’s a very high quality receiver. It would be a huge error to let him go.

  • Ahmad

    If Sanders goes to the Browns then he really must not care at all about winning games and winning Super Bowls.

  • CW

    Yes, I understand that. It’s salary, honors (Pro Bowl etc.), playing time, total contribution to the new team. However I was responding to another poster who was worried if the Browns dumped Sanders before the season started that the Steelers would not get a compensatory pick. That is not the case.

    It would downgrade the compensatory pick, but not eliminate it.

  • JohnB

    HAHA. you know what I meant!!

  • Jazz

    The problem with Sanders is he think he’s a #1 WR, and he is not. Imagine if he took a deal and stayed with the Steelers. He could play the slot, Brown and Wheaton on the outside. Sanders could then return Kickoffs and Punts as well. Unfortunately, like I said, he is living in a fantasy world.