Emmanuel Sanders Says He Ignored Free-Agency Suitors After Saints Phone Call

Megan ArmstrongSenior Analyst IIApril 7, 2020

MIAMI, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 2: Emmanuel Sanders #17 of the San Francisco 49ers stands on the sideline before the game against the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium on February 2, 2020 in Miami, Florida. The Chiefs defeated the 49ers 31-20. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
Michael Zagaris/Getty Images

Emmanuel Sanders didn't need to hear from any other teams after speaking with New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton.

The veteran wide receiver told NFL.com's James Palmer that he "literally stopped answering his phone when other suitors called" after hanging up with Payton.

"I'm excited to be there in a pass-happy offense," Sanders added. "That means everything. These are the types of offenses where you really can showcase your talent. I've waited almost four years, ever since 2014 with Peyton (Manning), to be back in a pass-happy offense."

The 33-year-old signed a two-year contract worth $16 million with the Saints last month.

Sanders' NFL career began when the Pittsburgh Steelers used a third-round draft pick on him in 2010. He signed with the Denver Broncos in March 2014 and won Super Bowl 50 to finish the 2015 campaign. To Sanders' point about being in a pass-happy offense, the only time he's been in a top-five passing offense was during the 2014 season, and he had a career-high 1,404 receiving yards that year. 

Sanders was traded from the Broncos to the San Francisco 49ers in October, and he finished with 502 yards and three touchdowns on 36 catches across 10 regular-season games with the Niners before they lost to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV.

The Buffalo Bills were briefly in the running for Sanders before the Saints emerged as favorites, Sanders said on The Rich Eisen Show on March 30 (h/t SB Nation's Buffalo Rumblings): "I spoke with the Bills for a little bit and I told them let me think about the idea and give me a night and, like, 30 minutes later the Stefon Diggs deal went through and I was like, 'OK.'"

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Sanders will slide into a Saints offense that ranked seventh in passing last season behind a league-most 1,725 receiving yards by All-Pro Michael Thomas with future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees under center.

Brees and Sanders have never met, but Sanders told Palmer he doesn't anticipate that hindering their on-field production:

"Truthfully, I think people put way too much emphasis on chemistry. I think the ultimate thing that me and Drew have in common is that we both love the game of football. If you take guys that love the grind of football and who are passionate about football, it should click regardless if they have the proper talent. I know Drew loves football and I know I love football. I just feel like that chemistry is going to be there from the jump because we are both down to work our butts off because we both know what we're trying to accomplish and that's [winning a] Super Bowl ring."

The Saints are seeking their second Super Bowl title in franchise history after winning Super Bowl XLIV over Manning's Indianapolis Colts to conclude the 2009 season.

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