As the New England Patriots try to upgrade their wide receiving corps, multiple sources are reporting this morning that they have signed restricted free agent wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders to an offer sheet. Both Jason LaCanfora and ESPN’s Adam Schefter are among those reporting this news.
This move now gives the already cash strapped Pittsburgh Steelers five days to match the offer or Sanders will join the Patriots. Schefter is reporting that the offer for Sanders was just a one-year deal. The Patriots would be forced to surrender their third-round pick to the Steelers in exchange for Sanders.
The Patriots love to stockpile draft picks but this move would leave New England very thin in this year’s lottery with just a first, second and two seventh-round selections this year. The Patriots are already without picks in the fourth, fifth and sixth-round this year and surrendering those selections in exchange for Aqib Talib, Albert Haynesworth and Chad Ochocinco respectively.
The move would further hinder the Steelers offense which has already lost Mike Wallace. Losing Brown would mean that the Steelers would have just Antonio Brown, Jerricho Cotchery and Plaxico Burress on the roster as receivers that have any real NFL experience.
Sanders was fourth in receiving yards on the Steelers last season with 44 receptions for 626 yards and just one score.
It’s very possible that the Steelers can’t or won’t decide to match the Patriots offer. This draft is considered to be exceptionally deep and the Steelers might use the third-round selection to re-tool and aging defense.