Denver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders is entering the final season of a three-year, $15 million free-agent deal he signed with the team back in 2014.
The former Pittsburgh Steelers mid-round pick has been an absolute bargain for the Broncos since signing the deal, averaging 89 receptions for 1,270 yards and eight touchdowns in his two seasons with the team.
Sanders, 29, is set to earn just $5.6 million this upcoming season and is in line for a significant raise.
As the Broncos prepare to defend their championship, they have already engaged in contract extension negotiations with the receiver. And it appears to be going a bit more swimmingly than what’s currently unfolding with All-Pro linebacker Von Miller.
Though, nothing seems imminent at this point. Sanders has received an offer from Denver, only to see his agent send back a counter-proposal. Nothing out of the ordinary there, right?
“I don’t want to go anywhere,” Sanders said on Thursday, via 9NEWS in Denver.” I’ve expressed that to (general manager John) Elway. It’s all about just getting the right number. I pray that they do come to the right number. I think I’ve given my heart to this city. I’ve never left anything on the field.’’
While Sanders sure does seem to want to stay in Denver, there’s a couple issues here.
First off, the Broncos are not in the greatest of salary cap situations. That was magnified when they let Brock Osweiler, Malik Jackson and Danny Trevathan depart in free agency this spring.
Secondly, something has to get done between Miller and the Broncos in order for the team to keep Sanders off the free-agent market next March.
If that doesn’t happen, and assuming there’s no extension in place for the wide receiver, Denver would then be forced to again place the franchise tag on Miller.
With Demaryius Thomas struggling this past season and nothing of real substance behind the two starters, it’s highly important the Broncos get something done here.
And while Sanders’ heart might be in Denver, cash does its own talking when it comes to free agency around the football world.