Emmanuel Sanders and the New Orleans Saints struck a two-year deal worth $16 million. This is the latest notable deal that took place on Friday, after Tom Brady, Todd Gurley, and Melvin Gordon made their moves.
According to Adam Schefter, Sanders’ salary could go up to $19 million. The player confirmed the deal, saying that he needs to pass the physical first before officially signing anything.
Reportedly, Sanders had two more offers, from the Dallas Cowboys and the Green Bay Packers, but he decided to go down south and try his luck with the Saints. His experience and knowledge are desirable in almost any team which has high ambitions, and that is why New Orleans reached out for the 33-year old veteran.
Emmanuel Sanders had appealing NFC options. Sanders spoke with the Dallas Cowboys and the Green Bay Packers, but preferred to wind up with the New Orleans Saints, where he land d a two-year, $16 million deal worth up to $19 million.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 21, 2020
The Saints are in desperate need of diversifying their passing options. Michael Thomas is without a companion who can take off some pressure, and throughout the season, he’s been the top target of Drew Brees. The next one behind him was Ted Ginn Jr, who is almost 35 years old.
Meanwhile, with Sanders, they get a player who is able to make a massive impact on the game, and who is still lethal. What many hope is that his arrival would disrupt the opponents’ defenses in combination with Thomas.
In 2019, Sanders averaged 13.94 yards per carry and having in mind that he perfectly finds windows in zone coverage, that would come quite handy with Brees behind him. Even though he is a veteran, he could play a significant role in Saints’ offense.
Sanders played 17 games last season, had 869 receiving yards and five touchdowns. In his 10 appearances with the 49ers after being traded from Denver, he posted 36 receptions for 502 yards and 3 touchdowns. He would post 157 yards against the Saints in a 48-46 win, and produced a 75-yard TD. It might have been the moment once Sean Payton and the rest of the staff noticed the veteran and put his name into the notebook.
Sanders was the 82nd pick overall at the 2010 NFL draft and ended up in Pittsburgh. He stayed there for four years before moving to Denver after getting a three-year $15 million deal and a signing bonus of $3 million. Sanders won the Super Bowl with the Broncos in 2016, defeating the Carolina Panthers in the finals, 24-10, and was elected for Pro-Bowl for the second time in his career. On October 22nd, 2019, the Broncos traded him to 49ers along with the fifth-round pick and got third and fourth-rounders in return.
After this deal, the Saints’ salary cap will become problematic, and the franchise will have to make tough adjustments to make another signing. Since the season started, NO signed new deals with Drew Brees, David Onyemata, Malcolm Jenkins, Zach Wood, and Andrus Peat.
Some of the players mentioned above were already with the Saints, and while signing new deals, they were doing a favor to the team, adapting their contracts to the current situation and the salary cap math.
The team from Louisiana doesn’t have too much time ahead of them. Drew Brees’ career is slowly nearing to its end, and the Saints have to make big pushes in the next year or two in order to win the title. Over the past couple of seasons, poor and controversial officiating prevented them from making better results in the playoffs, although they had one of the best teams in the league.
With Sanders, they will be even better, no doubt about it.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.