Emmanuel Sanders Won’t Consider Pay Cut

Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders is set to enter the last year of his three-year, $33MM pact with the Broncos, and he is due a $10.25MM salary in 2019. He will be 32 next month, and he tore his Achilles in December, but he has no intentions of reworking his deal, which carries a nearly $13MM cap hit next season.

104.3 The Fan asked its Twitter followers today if the Broncos should approach Sanders about a restructure, and Sanders tweeted, “it ain’t happening..no way Jose.” Troy Renck of Denver 7 ABC sides with Sanders, saying that there is no need for him to rework his deal, and that it would be foolish for the Broncos to trade for Joe Flacco and then let a veteran receiver of Sanders’ caliber go (Twitter link).

Of course, there is a difference between a restructure and a pay cut. Sanders clearly interpreted the hypothetical question as “should the Broncos approach Sanders about a pay cut,” and if that’s the case, then his stance (and Renck’s) is certainly understandable. But perhaps the two sides could come together on an extension that would buy Denver a little cap relief and would result in a little more guaranteed money in Sanders’ pocket (though the fact that he is rehabbing from his Achilles tear could mean, as Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk observes, that the Broncos will not be addressing Sanders’ future for at least the next few months).

The Broncos could cut Sanders and save his full $10.25MM salary against the cap while eating his bonus proration of $2,687,500. But they are not really pressed for cap space even after they absorb Flacco’s contract, especially since they are likely to cut or trade Case Keenum and save $11MM as a result. It seems more likely that they will simply wait to see how Sanders’ recovery progresses and either approach him about an extension this summer or else let him play out the final year of his deal and see what happens in 2020.

In any event, we should have another update in the next couple of weeks. Mike Klis of 9News points out that, of Sanders’ $10.25MM salary, $1.5MM becomes fully-guaranteed if the Broncos exercise his 2019 option, which they must do by March 12 (Twitter link). Klis presently expects the Broncos to pick up the option, though he concedes it is difficult to predict what GM John Elway will do.

In his 12 games last season, Sanders hauled in 71 catches for 868 yards and four TDs. He also rushed for a touchdown and threw a touchdown pass.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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18 comments on “Emmanuel Sanders Won’t Consider Pay Cut

    • Dkaner

      There are plenty of WR rookie options that will cost less and have the same production. There are also HEALTHY FA’s out there that are younger and cheaper as well. I would cut him in a heart beat if he does not restructure the deal.

      • cka2nd

        Really, “PLENTY of WR rookie options that will cost less and have the SAME production [emphasis added].”

        71 receptions, 868 yards, 12.2 ypc and four TD’s will be that easy for a rookie to match that “plenty” of them could do so. I only counted five rookie wide receivers who one could say equaled or surpassed Sanders’ 2018 numbers: Michael Thomas across the board, JuJu Smith-Schuster in yards, ypc and TD’s, Calvin Ridley in TD’s and, just barely, ypc, Cooper Kupp in ypc and, just barely, TD’s, and Sterling Shepard well behind across the board but with twice as many TD’s. That’s less than two rookie wide receivers a year. Good luck hitting on one of them this year, as opposed to a Coleman, Doctson or Treadwell.

        Now, if you want to make an argument that couldn’t so easily be dismissed, you might say that there will be plenty of rookies who will match or surpass Sanders production within two or three years, but no, you had to rush for the cheap and stupid one.

        • saluelthpops

          Is the last paragraph necessary? It was all a good logical argument—and well worth the read—until you went there.

  1. TheBlueMeanie

    The Broncos already have a talented trio of young WR’s in Courtland Sutton, Daesean Hamilton and Tim Patrick. I think Sanders is expendable.

  2. Max Jackson

    Even if Sanders is expendable, he shouldn’t budge on his contract. Elway can make Sanders worthy of the $13 mil by putting a better offense together and turning those dollars into stats collectively.

    The one who should take a cut and some bench is Keenum, but they’re probably going to shop him out of town and get next to nothing for him (bad deal!!).

    I understand cutting DT, he was waining with age, but Sandy is still tops if/when that ankle heals.

    • deal1122

      They didn’t cut DT, they traded him to Houston, but yes, I agree he is aging

    • TheBlueMeanie

      Elway “could” but if his past is any indication, he won’t. I personally think the Broncos should try to get a younger QB of the future and upgrade the OL. In addition, to the WR’s I mentioned, they also have a young, promising RB in Royce Freeman. Elway should help them develop together, and switching QB’s every year isn’t the way to do it. Whether Sanders budges or not, they should move on from him in my opinion.

      • Max Jackson

        To further stir the pot, whether they do or not I sure hope they get a solid TE for a change. The Broncos haven’t had a real good time there in a while. Their offense is starting to look rotational as college

  3. crosseyedlemon

    Personally I don’t like the idea of a player being financially penalized because the guy in the front office is inept at doing his job of managing the salary payroll. Normally a restructuring compromise solves the problem but that can be a bit sticky with a player of 32 coming off an injury.

    • Max Jackson

      I’m prone to agree. It doesn’t seem to harsh when a team is contending, but when their getting their ass kicked, it sucks to end the season a loser and then your boss is like ‘hey, can we have some money back’.

      Just seems kind of, uh, lame.

  4. byronious

    I’d cut him. Achilles injuries take 9-12 months recovery. Why pay a 32 year old WR that money when he’s going to be out or limited?

  5. jjabrony

    This happens a lot with WR’s and you’ll hear Greg Jennings on TV give them the same advice every time – take the pay cut. He knows cuz he didn’t take it and found himself playing in Miami for even less money. He told Dez the this but Dez didn’t listen and look at him now. Aging WR’s on the market just aren’t worth much to teams and they’re never worth as much as the receiver thinks he’s worth.

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