In recent years, the restricted free agency market hasn’t been a market. Last year, for example, more than 40 RFAs were available, but not a single one signed an offer sheet.
This year, the Patriots have dusted off the restricted free agency market by bringing in Steelers wideout Emmanuel Sanders for a visit.
With Pittsburgh choosing to extend an offer of only $1.323 million to Sanders, securing a third-round pick as compensation, the Pats could easily make Sanders an offer the Steelers can’t muster the cap space to match.
With the market for receivers (and everyone else) now depressed, it should be cheaper to get Sanders, who would gladly trade the one-year deal for something that pays out $5 million or $6 million per year. Maybe even less.
As former Chiefs G.M. Scott Pioli, now a contributor to NBC Sports Network and NFL Network, told PFT, “The Emmanuel Sanders signing would be a steal.” Pioli also called Sanders “one of the best bargains on the market.”
He may not be a bargain for long, if other teams wake up. Then again, if they don’t wake up soon, Sanders may have his Hancock on an offer sheet — with the clock ticking on the Steelers to find the dollars and cap room to match.