The Broncos and contract-year wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders had been negotiating a new accord since at least early June – with the two sides exchanging figures on a deal under three weeks ago – but talks are now on hold, reports Mike Klis of 9News.
As of last month, Sanders expressed a desire to retire a Bronco. The 29-year-old has so far only spent two seasons in Denver, where he has hauled in 177 receptions, 2,500-plus yards and 15 touchdowns in 31 games. In addition to his regular-season prowess, Sanders piled up 16 catches for 230 yards in three games during the Broncos’ run to the Super Bowl last winter.
Sanders originally joined the Broncos on a three-year, $15MM deal after four seasons with the Steelers. It’s fair to say his next contract will be much more valuable. Three of Sanders’ fellow wideouts – the Seahawks’ Doug Baldwin, the Chargers’ Keenan Allen and the Jaguars’ Allen Hurns – signed four-year extensions worth upward of $40MM, including $20MM-plus in guarantees, last month. While Sanders is at least two years older than each of them, he has outproduced the trio and topped them in approximate value since 2014.
General manager John Elway said a month ago that extending Sanders by mid-July would be “ideal,” but it now appears the Broncos could fall short of that goal. Of course, Elway has a higher priority – linebacker Von Miller – whom he must sign by July 15. The team’s franchise player will otherwise be unable to ink an extension until the offseason (and could sit out the season), so there should be more urgency to get a deal done with Miller than Sanders.
For now, Sanders remains on track to play out this season on a $5.6MM salary and hit free agency. However, given the seventh-year man’s stated desire to remain in Denver and the organization’s goal to retain him, odds are the two will work something out. It just might not happen as quickly as planned.
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