It was teased to us last month so it can’t come as a complete shock now that the New England Patriots have signed Emmanuel Sanders to a one year offer sheet today. Per the terms of the CBA the Steelers now have 5 days to match the offer the Patriots set, otherwise they will receive the Patriots 3rd round draft pick as compensation. The Steelers are still tight on cap space and have already lost Mike Wallace to free agency. The Patriots, on the other hand, have much more cap space but are low on draft picks thanks to bust deals to Albert Haynesworth and Chad Ochocinco in the past. The Pats have lost WR’s Wes Welker and Brandon Lloyd so there’s no shocker that they’re looking to improve their wide receiving corps with Sanders. What’s the best move for the Steelers to make here? Should they use up whatever cap space they may have left to match the offer and keep Sanders or cut their losses and stock pile some draft picks?
If you’re following this story in the national media right now you’d think Sanders was the second coming of Jerry Rice because the Patriots are involved in this deal. Sanders has had three seasons with the Steelers and has struggled through some injury issues. This past season was his first season playing all 16 games and his numbers aren’t quite as impressive as you’d think considering all the attention this offer is garnering. Sanders had just 44 receptions for 626 yards and 1 touchdown. He also had 3 fumbles with one lost fumble. I’m not saying that Sanders is overrated, I’m just saying he’s not been the receiver he could be so far in his career. Whether or not he will reach his ultimate potential in the black and gold remains to be seen.
It’s a shame that the “Young Money Crew” is all but gone considering that now Antonio Brown is the lone remaining member of the self-titled group. I hate to see Sanders go because, like all of Steeler Nation, I’ve been continually frustrated with this offseason of Salary Cap Hell. It’s just not that comforting to know that the wide receiving corps that used to consist of such talent will now consist of Brown, Burress, Cotchery and a rookie to be named later. On the other hand, in this day and age a fast wide receiver can be one of the easiest positions to replace in the league. I’m not saying that wide receivers are a dime a dozen, there are some definite playmakers out there, but it seems to me that I’d rather be looking for a new wide receiver than say a new linebacker, cornerback, safety, or defensive lineman. What? Oh yeah, that’s right. Crap.