By releasing Emmanuel Sanders, the Broncos could create more than $10MM in cap space. However, they would create a major need at wide receiver by doing so. It does not appear they plan to go in this direction.
Vic Fangio said Wednesday (via Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post) Sanders is expected to have a major role next season. The new Denver HC also said the Broncos are expected to have Sanders back in the lineup by Week 1. This would be significant, considering the Pro Bowl wideout tore an Achilles’ tendon in early December.
John Elway confirmed Wednesday afternoon the team will pick up the options of both Sanders and Derek Wolfe, who has a $1MM option.
Sanders, who will turn 32 next month, recently balked at a potential pay cut. The Broncos, however, have not asked for this. They have Sanders under contract for one more season — at $10.15MM — and have a $1.5MM option to pick up soon. This looks set to happen, and Sanders will continue his rehab with an apparent goal of returning some point during training camp.
Demaryius Thomas‘ longtime running mate is the final skill-position player remaining from the Broncos’ Super Bowl champion team. The Broncos traded Thomas at last year’s deadline, with his contract more expensive than Sanders’ and the latter having surpassed him as the team’s No. 1 option — at least during the 2018 season. Sanders was on pace for more than 1,100 receiving yards before going down in early December. Denver lost Sanders and Chris Harris within a span of four days, and its three-game midseason win streak gave way to a four-game, season-ending skid.
Denver drafted Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton last year, and UDFA Tim Patrick showed promise. But the Broncos are, barring something unexpected, planning to have Sanders around for the start of Joe Flacco‘s tenure.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.