BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots let Wes Welker walk away in free agency and released Brandon Lloyd already this offseason, but they made a move Wednesday morning to rebuild the wide receiving corps.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported (via Twitter) that the Patriots signed restricted free agent Emmanuel Sanders to an offer sheet. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported (via Twitter) the offer is a one-year deal.
The Steelers now have five days to decide whether they want to match the Patriots’ offer in order to keep the wide receiver, or let him walk and accept compensation from the Patriots. That compensation would be New England’s third-round pick in this year’s draft (No. 91 overall).
With the Patriots possessing just five picks in the draft, it’s clear they’re willing to give up quite a bit in order to sign Sanders.
Sanders, 26, caught 44 passes for 626 yards and one touchdown last year. In his three seasons with the Steelers, he has 94 receptions for 1,290 yards and five touchdowns. He also returned nine punts last season for a total of 93 yards.
Pro Football Focus noted on Twitter that 67 percent of Sanders’ snaps and 68 percent of his receptions last year came when he was lined up in the slot.
The Patriots signed Danny Amendola earlier this offseason, as well.
Felger & Mazz discuss the move and wonder if the Patriots are in it for the player of just to mess with the Steelers.