Emmanuel Sanders “Once a Mustang, Now a Bronco”

Emmanuel Sanders

Emmanuel Sanders Signs With Denver

Emmanuel Sanders is officially off of the NFL Free Agent market. After spending his first four years in the Steel City, the former SMU Mustang is now a Denver Bronco. Denver was able to lock Sanders up after offering him $15 million for three years.

Prior to Free Agency, it was almost certain Elway & Co. would not be resigning Eric Decker, leaving a hole to fill in the record shattering offense. Given that Denver went on a massive shopping spree, it became hard to tell if that hole would be filled with yet another FA or a draft pick.

Multiple teams are upset with Emmanuel Sanders and his agent, Steve Weinberg, claiming that while courting the wide receiver they were led on. The Kansas City Chiefs believed he would be helping them take over the AFC West after supposedly signing a contact just a day before. Turns out, the Chiefs will now need to prepare to defeat him twice this year.

This is an acquisition that seems to favor both parties involved. The media may claim that Denver has gone overboard with spending, and while that may be true, credit is due for recognizing the window for Peyton Manning’s career is nearly shut. While it’s not far-fetched to assume Denver will falter once Manning walks away, they seem to be making all possible moves to be in the hunt for a Lombardi trophy.

Emmanuel Sanders Stats

Year Team G Rec Tgt Yds Y/G TD
2010 PIT 13 28 50 376 28.9 2
2011 PIT 11 22 43 288 26.2 2
2012 PIT 16 44 74 626 39.1 1
2013 PIT 16 67 112 740 46.3 6
Totals 56 161 279 2030 36.3 11

Yes, Emmanuel Sanders will help or at least replace Decker. However, Denver may serve to be a superior benefit to the career of Sanders. As a rookie in Pittsburgh, Sanders was brought in as a slot receiver behind Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown. With Wallace taking his talents to South Beach and Brown growing into a number one receiver, Sanders’ role as a Steeler began to grow. High hopes were placed in Emmanuel Sanders, yet his stats were not as desired. Insert Peyton Manning and his stat line could set him up nicely for say an “Eric Decker contract” three years from now.

Last season, Peyton Manning was able to mercy almost every secondary using almost all receivers to his advantage. The three-headed monster of Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas, and Wes Welker has proven to be a handful. Sanders will almost always be lined up across from the weakest defensive back on every down.

Sanders lacks ideal height and strength sought after, but makes up for it with outstanding speed and agility. He’s a fearless receiver who will play full speed in any given situation. As long as the front five ahead of Manning can keep him protected, there is no reason to believe the offense will be negatively affected with Decker out and Sanders in.

Fantasy Factor

A wide receiver’s fantasy value automatically increases once he is catching passes from Peyton Manning. Denver’s production will be near impossible to duplicate. However, if the numbers are even relatively close, fantasy owners will have no complaints. With numerous weapons spread out across the field, Sanders should have no problem breaking free.

Last season in Pittsburgh (his first year as a true number two) Sanders hauled in 6 touchdown receptions. He was also able to amass 740 total yards receiving. In four years as a pro his receiving yards continue to increase. Considering that he is now being placed in a more high-power offense with a more established QB, it would be a safe assumption that he should have no problem setting career highs in 2014.

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