Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

John Elway: Emmanuel Sanders had issues, and we had issues

Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders is headed to San Francisco after Denver traded the 32-year-old and a 2020 fifth-round pick in exchange for 2020 third and fourth-round picks.

Only 11 days ago Broncos General Manager John Elway insisted the team had no players on the trading block. On Tuesday, Denver traded receiver Emmanuel Sanders and a 2020 fifth-round draft choice to the 49ers in exchange for 2020 third- and fourth-round selections.

So what changed?

“I think eventually with what happened after the Tennessee game [a 16-0 victory] and where we were and with the value we were getting for him, we decided it was the best thing for our team to trade Emmanuel,” Elway said in a news conference Tuesday.

He would not elaborate.

Sanders had three targets, one catch and no yards in the win over the Titans. Ruled out for the second half with a knee injury, Sanders played only 25 of 60 snaps.

Then, the Broncos were blown out by the Chiefs in a Thursday night game.

Elway confirmed Sanders requested a trade. Five teams showed serious interest in Sanders, according to Nicki Jhabvala of

“When we looked at it, Emmanuel had issues and we had issues,” Elway said. “That is why it was a good time for us to go different directions -- for Emmanuel to go in a different direction and for us to go in a different direction. With that being said, we were able to get the value that we thought was fair. That is why we decided to make the deal.”

Sanders leaves Denver seventh in career catches (404), 10th in receiving yards (4,994) and fourth in total 100-yard receiving games (19). But he had only 10 targets, seven catches, 69 yards and no touchdowns the past three games.

“He did a nice job for us,” Elway said. “Emmanuel had a lot of catches and played hard. He was a competitive guy. He did a good job while he was here. We thought it was the best move again for us as well as for Emmanuel. Emmanuel was very good for the 5 1/2 years that he was here.”