AFC Notes: Sanders, Bengals, Gipson, Steelers

After joining the Broncos on a three-year, $15MM contract during the offseason, receiver Emmanuel Sanders is enjoying the best season of his career. In fact, his production will allow him to collect on several incentives that were included in his deal. Per Jason La Canfora of, Sanders can earn $250K for catching 90 passes, another $250K for scoring 14 touchdowns, and $500K for accruing 1,200 receiving yards. Currently, Sanders is posting a 67-954-7 line, so those goals remain in reach (though the TD mark will be tough to attain). At the link, La Canfora lists each increment of Sanders’ incentives in chart form. Here’s more from the AFC…

  • After missing the previous two games while dealing with an ankle ailment, Bengals right tackle Andre Smith was forced from today’s game with a triceps injury, and the team believes it could be a significant concern, according to Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports (Twitter link). If Smith tore his triceps, he would likely miss the remainder of the season, meaning Cincinnati would turn to reserve lineman Marshall Newhouse (who was also sidelined today).
  • Browns safety Tashaun Gipson, who leads the NFL with six interceptions, had to be carted off the field during today’s game after suffering a knee injury, writes Jeremy Fowler of Losing Gipson would be a major blow to Cleveland defense that boasts the league’s seventh-best DVOA against the pass.
  • The Steelers expect safety Troy Polamalu and linebacker Ryan Shazier, both of whom have been dealing with health concerns, to return for next week’s game against the Saints, reports La Canfora. However, LB Jarvis Jones (who was placed on IR-DTR) and CB Ike Taylor might need a bit more recovery time before they return to action.
  • The Bills will host the Jets tomorrow night in Detroit due to extreme weather conditions in Buffalo, but Bills president Russ Brandon tells La Canfora that Ralph Wilson Stadium will be ready for next week’s contest against the Browns.
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