It may be a little early to start wondering what number Emmanuel Sanders will wear in New England.
ESPN’s Ed Werder reported Wednesday that he expects the Steelers to match the Patriots’ offer sheet to Sanders, keeping the wide receiver in the fold.
Werder, it should also be noted, said that the Steelers’ lack of cap space, plus the prospect of getting the Patriots’ third-round pick, are factors that also should be considered in Pittsburgh’s decision to match or not.
Were the Steelers to decline to match the offer to Sanders, they would receive the No. 91 pick. While this would be a cost-efficient move, it would also leave the Steelers rather thin at wide receiver behind top target Antonio Brown. The Steelers lost Mike Wallace to Miami earlier in free agency, and Sanders is expected to move into the starting lineup after three seasons as a reserve.
Sanders hauled in 44 passes for 626 yards and one TD in 16 games (seven starts) for Pittsburgh in 2012. No matter where he plays in 2013, Sanders looks like a good bet to get more opportunities in the passing game than he ever has.
Werder’s tweet suggests that the fourth-year wideout from SMU isn’t going anywhere, which figures to make Ben Roethlisberger happy.