BREAKING: Pittsburgh matches the Patriots offer sheet for WR Emmanuel Sanders. He remains a Steeler. (via @adamschefter)
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) April 14, 2013
No one knows where the money came from, but the Steelers matched the Patriots’ offer for Emmanuel Sanders. After much lobbying by Ben Roethlisberger, who did not want to lose 2 of his top 3 receivers, the Steelers have finally decided to keep the young receiver talent. This is bad news for the Patriots, as their receiving corps is not in good shape.
This decision shows how much Pittsburg valued Emmanuel Sanders, as they were willing to give up a third round draft pick from New England to keep him. This deal most likely delivers the final blow on the Steelers’ cap space, and they won’t have any more money to spend on other free agents. The Steelers had around $2 million in cap space before they matched the Patriots’ offer, and Sanders’ contract is a $2.5 million hit. The Steelers will likely have to make room by restructuring contracts and move money around to sign their drafted players.
The Patriots, who got their hopes up on the deal, will now have to work with an offense with several mediocre receivers. Most, if not all, of their receivers are prone to injury, and although they have some talent at the position, that talent is not likely to last through the whole season. Tom Brady will likely find himself out of targets to throw to midway through the season if the Patriots do not act fast on their offensive needs. They missed out on Emmanuel Sanders, and if they don’t go after another receiver whether on the market or in the draft, we could see a serious decline in their offensive production.