Update: Turns out the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette got a little too eager in its reporting last night. The Observer-Reporter wrote Saturday that while Sanders did visit the Patriots, he left them without an offer. So, nothing has really happened yet. That doesn't mean the Pats won't extend an offer Sanders' way in the future. There is definitely smoke here.
The Patriots are close to adding another weapon to their rebuilt receiving corps. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported early Saturday morning that Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders has signed an offer sheet presented by the Patriots. Because Sanders is a restricted free agent, the Steelers have five days to either match the offer sheet and retain Sanders' services or let him go. If Sanders joins the Patriots, the Steelers would get their 2013 third-round pick in return, because Sanders was tendered at the third-round level, the round in which he was drafted.
Sanders, who turns 26 on Sunday, had his best season to date in 2012, catching 44 passes for 626 yards.
My tune on Brady's demise might be changing quickly. If Danny Amendola is the younger Wes Welker, Sanders can be the younger version of Brandon Lloyd . He has blazing speed and began to blossom as a receiver last season. If the Steelers can't match the Patriots' offer, Lloyd's days in New England would be all but over, and Sanders get a huge boost in fantasy value. While I'm not saying the Patriots will completely forget about Welker, they have done a very nice job of making up for letting him go. Of course, that is assuming Sanders actually becoming a Patriot. We will find out soon.
The Steelers, meanwhile, would be hurting for WR help if Sanders departs. Past Antonio Brown, what would they have? Jerricho Cotchery? Plaxico Burress? Yuck. Ben Roethlisberger has to be wondering what's happening to his offense. But these kinds of things happen when you are up against the salary cap.