The Steelers ponied up the cash to match the Patriots’ offer for wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders this offseason, assuring that the team would not wind up losing two of their top three receivers to other AFC clubs.
Keeping Sanders beyond this year is still up in the air, however. Sanders is set to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2013 season and said during an interview with 93.7 The Fan last week that contract talks are going on with the team right now. Sanders’ agent doesn’t expect those conversations to amount to a deal, however.
Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Jordan Woy said that he believes unrestricted free agency is likely for Sanders and that it would take a “very good deal” from the Steelers for his client to pass up the opportunity to talk to other teams.
Sanders has said that he wants to remain in Pittsburgh, but the Steelers aren’t likely to pay Sanders for what he might do in an expanded role in the offense now that Mike Wallace is in Miami. Based on what Woy said, Sanders seems equally unlikely to agree to a deal that pays him based on his production to this point in his career, which could set up a situation where a breakout year for Sanders windes up making him less likely to return to Pittsburgh in 2014.