Emmanuel Sanders Nearly Signed With Patriots Before Choosing Broncos

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Denver BroncosDenver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders had a career night against the San Diego Chargers on Thursday, amassing 120 yards on nine receptions with three touchdowns.

Tom Brady could’ve had that weapon in his arsenal.

According to CSNNE’s Tom Curran, Sanders nearly signed with the New England Patriots this past offseason.

“If Emmanuel hadn’t switched agents, he may have ended up (in New England without much shopping),” Steve Weinberg, Sanders’ current agent, told Curran. “Emmanuel loved it there. He said, ‘Give me Danny Amendola’s deal and I’m there.’ ”

Interestingly enough, Amendola’s deal is about where this story begins.

Amendola signed a five-year, $28.5 million contract with $10 million guaranteed with the Patriots in March 2013, just hours after Wes Welker left for none other than the Broncos. Then, in April, the Patriots signed wide receiver Julien Edelman to a veteran minimum contract and actually signed Sanders to an offer sheet.

However, Sanders was a restricted free agent at the time, and the Pittsburgh Steelers matched the Patriots’ $2.5 million offer.

Then, this past offseason, Sanders, Edelman and Brandon LaFell were all on the market. Ironically, it looked as though Denver would sign LaFell and New England would sign Sanders, but the Broncos swooped in and gave Sanders a three-year, $18 million deal with $6 million guaranteed. The Patriots reacted by signing LaFell and Edelman to multiyear deals.

So where did it all go awry? Weinberg told Curran it was simply because the process was moving slowly.

“New England was competitive throughout the process,” Weinberg said. “Had they been aggressive from the beginning, it would have gotten done, but, in this market, nobody knew what to do with the wide receivers.

“New England expressed interest during the (pre-free agency) negotiation period. But the slow market made us want to go slow, too. Normally a team comes in and blows everyone away. Denver’s offer would have done that if they came with that offer right away.”

Photo via Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports Images

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