Controversy or Not, Emmanuel Sanders Is a Huge Signing for the Denver Broncos

Joe Rapolla Jr.Featured ColumnistMarch 16, 2014

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (88) dives for the end zone and a touchdown past Cleveland Browns cornerback Leon McFadden (29) after catching a pass in the first quarter of an NFL football game on Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
Associated Press

According to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, the Denver Broncos and ex-Pittsburgh Steelers' wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders have agreed to terms on a contract, the details of which have not yet been released.  

While John Elway and co. in Denver are likely clinking glasses on another great offseason addition, others in the league are apparently not extending their congratulations. 

According to's Ian Rapoport, Sander's agent "broke every rule in negotiations" and other teams' executives are "crying foul."

While diplomatic relations among teams are important, at the end of the day, the only thing that really matters is who is on the 53-man roster come September. Pending any unforeseen developments, it appears Sanders will be a Denver Bronco. 

Following the first week of free agency where Denver focused on making defensive improvements with the signings of defensive end DeMarcus Ware, safety T.J. Ward and cornerback Aqib Talib, Sanders inking a deal is bigger news than it will get attention for.

Wide receiver Eric Decker, who was a vital part of the Denver offense last season and a favorite red zone target of quarterback Peyton Manning, signed with the New York Jets. This was not a surprise; Decker was a free agent and wanted a big contract. He and everyone else involved knew that Denver did not have the cap space to provide him with this, given their commitment to improve a defense that failed to live up to their offense last season. 

Sanders, while not a similar receiver to Decker, will become a vital part of the Denver offense should everything with his contract signing go through. The former Southern Methodist Mustang is coming off his best season as a professional, where he caught 67 balls for 740 yards and six touchdowns. 

A third-round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, Sanders has slowly established his significance in the NFL, going from a backup, slightly undersized receiver to a valuable and reliable possession flier. While he doesn't have the ideal height (5'11") for running outside patterns, he does possess the strength and speed necessary to play in both the slot and outside possessions.

Sanders' production should only increase working with Manning. Not to discount Steelers' quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, but neither him nor the Steelers' offense compare to Manning or the Broncos' offense, respectively. 

Perhaps they may have made a few enemies in the process, yet the Denver Broncos are still reveling in their new signing. Sanders makes what has been a very active and successful offseason even more fruitful, and it seems as though Denver is poised, yet again, for another Super Bowl run next season.