Found April 10, 2013 on XLJournal:
Today the New England Patriots followed through with a free agent move that has been speculated on for weeks now. The team signed current Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders to a one-year offer sheet. The Steelers now have five days to match the offer from New England, or they can let him walk and receive the Patriots’ third round draft pick as compensation. Earlier in free agency Pittsburgh designated Sanders with a third round tender due to his status as a restricted free agent. What New England has essentially done here is hand-cuff the Steelers because of their extreme inflexibility with salary cap space. Pittsburgh is right up against the cap going into the draft and they may not be able to afford matching the Patriots’ offer while also getting their upcoming draft picks under contract. This was a crafty move by New England’s front office as they are in need of as many play-makers at the receiver position after losing two of their starters from last season. Wes Welker left in free agency to the Broncos and Brandon Lloyd was cut for cap reasons. Emmanuel Sanders had a career high 44 catches last season for Pittsburgh, and if he finds himself playing with Tom Brady in 2013 that number could rise significantly. Of course, the Pats already signed Danny Amendola to help replace Welker’s production in addition to signing former Bills receiver Donald Jones, but getting Sanders would seemingly ensure that at least one of these new additions–or possibly a combination of all three of them–will step up and produce Welker-like numbers. The team still has slot specialist Julian Edelman under contract after they recently extended his contract, and he could also see a rise in his stats when the 2013 season gets underway. Of course, the real brilliance behind this move by the Pats is the fact they would severely cripple the Steelers’ passing game, which saw lead receiver Mike Wallace bolt for the Dolphins and South Beach on the first day of free agency. The plan for Pittsburgh was for Antonio Brown and Sanders to be the starting two receivers, with veterans like Jerricho Cotchery and Plaxico Burress available for depth and experience. Now however, the Steelers face a rather perplexing dilemma. Do they let one of their planned starters walk to a hated AFC rival for merely a third round draft pick? Or should they match the offer by New England, provided they have the cap room to do so, and further handicap their ability to get their draft picks under contract? This dilemma is precisely why so much influence on whether a team is competitive or not rests solely with its general manager. If I am playing GM for Pittsburgh, I would have to let Sanders walk and hope that I could fill his role with one of the team’s draft picks in the upcoming draft. That might not be so hard a task this season as there seems to be a plethora of potential steals at the position in the first three or four rounds this year.   Follow me on Twitter: @BrigantiJoeXLJ

Steelers GM Kevin Colbert Made His Thoughts Clear On Emmanuel Sanders Situation In March

Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert was asked about the possibility of losing restricted free agent Emmanuel Sanders a few weeks at the owners meetings and was pretty straight forward with his response. “We’ll wait to see what fits. If a player makes sense, if we think he’s a better player and we can make it fit financially, then we’ll investigate,” said...

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Should the Pittsburgh Steelers wind up matching the one-year, $2.5 million offer sheet that restricted free agent wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders with the New England Patriots, all the discussion will then shift to the possibility of working out a long-term extension with him before the 2013 season. Personally, I don't see an extension in his future. First off, Sanders,...

Options Steelers Have To Create Cap Room Should They Want To Keep Emmanuel Sanders

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Don’t Expect Steelers To Match Patriots Offer Sheet To Emmanuel Sanders

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Antonio Brown On Emmanuel Sanders – “Steelers Don’t Like Guys That Don’t Do Things Their Way”

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown was a guest Friday afternoon on SiriusXM NFL Radio and was asked to give his thoughts on whether or not he believes restricted free agent wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders will be back next season after signing a one year, $2.5 million offer sheet with the New England Patriots. Brown basically said that he doesn't think that Sanders...

Patriots rumors: Will NE acquire Steelers’ Emmanuel Sanders?

Pittsburgh Steelers restricted free agent Emmanuel Sanders signed an offer sheet with the New England Patriots worth $2.5 million for one year yesterday, according to Albert Breer of Now, the Steelers will have five days to either match that offer or allow Sanders to walk and accept the Patriots’ third-round draft pick. It isn’t clear what direction the Steelers...

Patriots sign Steelers RFA Emmanuel Sanders

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One Steeler says Emmanuel Sanders is better than Mike Wallace

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Emmanuel Sanders’ Deal Is Win-Win for Patriots, Whether He Comes to New England or Not

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Report: Steelers 50/50 As To Whether Or Not To Match Offer Sheet Given To Emmanuel Sanders By The Patriots

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Patriots submit Offer Sheet to WR Emmanuel Sanders

Actual big news coming from the New England Patriots today! The Patriots just submitted an offer sheet on Steelers WR Emmanuel Sanders. some actual restricted free agent movement. Wow — Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) April 10, 2013 The deadline was the 19th of April, but the Patriots have made their move earlier than expected. The Steelers have one week to make an offer...

Patriots make a move on Emmanuel Sanders

Per Jason LaCanfora the Pats just signed Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders to an offer sheet....
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