As I detailed yesterday, the Pittsburgh Steelers roster will likely see an extreme overhaul before next season begins, but one guy that likely won’t be going anywhere is wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders.
Sanders is a restricted free agent and will be tendered a $1.3 million contract. Once he accepts that, the Steelers are likely to begin negotiating a long-term deal with the SMU product.
Current the Steelers have only three wide receivers under contract in Antonio Brown, Jerricho Cotchery and David Gilreath. It looks more and more by the day that Mike Wallace may have played his final snap in a Steelers uniform, so it makes a lot of sense that the Steelers would look to lock up Sanders long-term.
However Sanders doesn’t have to sign a long-term extension.
The Steelers won’t offer huge money to a guy like Sanders, so there is the chance that he can play for the guaranteed $1.3 million next season and bank on having a big season to drive his value up as an unrestricted free agent in 2014. He will be more than likely seeing a lot more snaps in 2013 so the opportunity will be there for him to put up some big numbers.
Sanders caught 44 passes last season for 626 yards and a touchdown, which was the first time that he was healthy for an entire season. The Steelers will need a lot more from him in 2013 and if he wants to cash in on a big contract, he needs to drastically increase his production.