Updates from Tuesday, Mar. 18
ESPN's Adam Schefter first reported a deal was close:
Alex Marvez of Fox Sports 1 later confirmed:
Schefter is reporting that it's a three-year deal for Sanders:
Sanders spoke about his move to Denver with Lindsay Jones of USA Today:
After the reported deal was announced, NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reported that some are not happy with how Sanders' destination came to be:
Emmanuel Sanders is expected to sign with the Broncos tomorrow, but the process that led him there left the other teams involved fuming and crying foul. One team official claimed Sanders' agent broke "every rule in negotiations."
Agent Steve Weinberg, on behalf of the receiver, accepted a deal with the Chiefs in principle, according to one team source. Weinberg then engaged in negotiations with the Tampa Bay Bucs, according to another source involved in the process.
While shopping the Chiefs offer to the Bucs, Weinberg never explained that he had already accepted the terms of Kansas City's offer. Later in the night, Sanders' agent had agreed to terms with the Broncos, which is where he is currently headed. Sanders and Weinberg also rankled the 49ers by agreeing to visit, then blowing it off.
The Broncos have already been major players in the 2014 free-agency period, signing DeMarcus Ware, T.J. Ward and Aqib Talib. Now, they've turned their focus to the offensive side of the ball.
After losing Eric Decker to the New York Jets, Denver needed to fill the void opposite Demaryius Thomas. Sanders will come in to bolster the wide receiver corps in Decker's absence. It's never a bad idea to surround Peyton Manning with additional weapons.
Sanders was productive last season in Pittsburgh, recording 67 receptions for 740 yards and six touchdowns in Todd Haley's offense. He put up those numbers while playing through a foot injury, according to a tweet from Cecil Lammey of ESPN Denver:
Sanders had this message for Steelers faithful:
The speedy receiver will get a chance to greatly enhance those numbers in Denver's high-octane aerial attack.
This Denver team enters the 2014 season with Sanders, Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, Andre Caldwell and Julius Thomas all at Manning's disposal.
After losing the Super Bowl to the Seattle Seahawks, Denver assuredly had a sour taste in its mouth. That has been apparent in free agency, as this team is building its roster to win immediately.
However, in an interview with Judy Battista of NFL.com, general manager and executive vice president John Elway said the Broncos are also building for the future:
I think everyone says we're all in now. We're really in this for the future, too. I know the contracts look like they're big, but the fact is, we're not mortgaging our future. We're planning on being a good football team for a long time.
With a revamped defense and the addition of Sanders on the offensive side of the ball, it is safe to say the Broncos have improved over last year's squad. That's a scary thought.