On the night before their Super Bowl title defense commences, the Broncos reached an agreement to keep Emmanuel Sanders in Denver through 2019. John Elway tweets the team agreed to a three-year extension with its No. 2 wide receiver, making Sanders the latest such recipient of a deal during a summer that’s seen a clear market emerge for players of this caliber.
It’s a $33MM deal for Sanders, according to Mike Klis of 9News (on Twitter) and he will receive $27MM in guaranteed money, says Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Sanders will take up $5.6MM of the Broncos’ cap in the final year of his existing deal before the extension begins in 2017.
Sanders’ deal continues an extensive fortification of the Broncos’ Super Bowl nucleus. Denver followed up its extension for Von Miller by keeping its top two impending free agents off the 2017 market by agreeing to terms with Sanders and Brandon Marshall. The Broncos also retained C.J. Anderson after matching his RFA offer.
The sides had a clear road map to an agreement after the respective extensions the Jaguars, Chargers, Seahawks and Rams doled out for Allen Hurns, Keenan Allen, Doug Baldwin and Tavon Austin. The 29-year-old Sanders won’t receive a four-year commitment like his younger peers, who signed for between $10-$11.5MM AAV, but this move keeps the Broncos’ high-end receiving tandem intact for the remainder of the decade.
The agreement will also make the Broncos’ potential 2017 free agent exodus lighter than what’s transpired the past two offseasons, ones that featured the likes of Malik Jackson, Brock Osweiler, Danny Trevathan, Orlando Franklin and former No. 2 target Eric Decker depart for better offers. With the exception of Jackson and Osweiler, the Broncos did not put up big battles to retain the many players who left. They took a different route with Sanders and Marshall.
Sanders has notched the first two 1,000-yard seasons of his six-year career during his time in Denver, which began in 2014 with a three-year, $15MM commitment. He cleared 1,400 yards in 2014, catching 101 passes and scoring nine touchdowns. Last season, he became Peyton Manning‘s top target in the playoffs, hauling in 16 passes for 230 yards in the Broncos’ three postseason games.
This marks the second straight summer the Broncos agreed to an extension with a wideout, with Demaryius Thomas now on the books via five-year, $70MM extension. Coupled with the money Sanders will receive going forward, the Broncos now have one of the highest receiver payrolls in football, joining the Packers, Jets and Redskins. Denver is now the only team set to pay two wideouts $10MM+ AAV, surpassing Green Bay, which has Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson on the books for $10MM and $9.7MM per year, respectively.
A lack of a franchise-quarterback salary aided the team’s ability to retain free agents this year, and this likely gives No. 1 pick Paxton Lynch a better chance to potentially earn a big deal himself down the line thanks to the Broncos retaining Manning’s weaponry now.
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