As an underrated free agent wide receiver in the NFL, Emmanel Sanders may be the best in his class getting the deal (and the team) he wants. After reportedly making verbal agreements with two other teams and then using a third visit with a Super Bowl contender as a bluff, Sanders’ agent Steve Weinberg masterfully created leverage for his client in negotiating a deal with the Denver Broncos, with whom Sanders will reportedly sign. Put simply, this is a fantastic signing by the defending AFC Champs, even if they were somewhat hustled in the process.
Sanders’ first two semi-official deals were with the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers before he blew off a scheduled visit with the San Francisco 49ers after Weinberg slyly convinced the NFC powerhouse that Sanders was worth a look. Now that he’s part of the Broncos’ record-setting passing attack, his fantasy value will skyrocket as he’ll replace Eric Decker as Peyton Manning’s third receiving option.
Now the Broncos already have that underneath, Wes Welker-like pass-catcher because they have, well, Welker himself. Thus, they were in need of a receiver who can do it all and that’s what they got in Sanders. During his time with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sanders got progressively better as a player and then really took advantage of the extra playing time when Mike Wallace left via free agency. In 2013, Sanders recorded career-highs in targets, receptions, yards and touchdowns while learning to play the short, intermediate and deep passing games.
Denver likes to use Demaryius Thomas for screen passes since he’s an excellent runner once the ball is in his hands, so Sanders will play virtually the exact same role in the offense that Decker did before he departed to sign with the New York Jets as a free agent. Sanders will undoubtedly be used as a deep threat more often because of his speed, which should open up the Broncos’ passing attack even more in 2014, even though it was more open than any other in history last season.