The Redskins need a wide receiver. The Broncos may have one on the market. Could the two teams work a deal for Emmanuel Sanders?
There has been plenty of speculation that the Broncos want to trade Sanders, who will be 31 by the time the season starts. During a four-year stretch from 2013 with the Steelers and 2014-2016 in Denver, he averaged 81 receptions, over 1,000 yards and six touchdowns per season while missing just one game.
But last year was a different story as he missed four games with an ankle injury and he caught just 47 passes for 555 yards and two touchdowns. Was it an off year for Sanders or the beginning of a career-ending downhill slide? If he is indeed a trade candidate, it would seem that John Elway is thinking it’s the latter. The fact that Sanders’ salary cap number for 2018 is nearly $11 million certainly is a factor in Elway’s thought process.
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The Redskins have a hole at one wide receiver spot. Josh Doctson is set on one side and Jamison Crowder will play in the slot. Last year they tried Terrelle Pryor on the outside, but he was unproductive and ended the season on injured reserve with an ankle injury. Pryor was on a one-year contract and he probably will not be back.
Of the players currently signed for 2018, the candidates to start on the outside are 2017 sixth-round pick Robert Davis, who did not play a snap on offense last year, and Maurice Harris, who has shown the ability to make the spectacular catch but he has suffered from injuries and inconsistency. The Redskins also could re-sign Ryan Grant and use him on the outside. In other words, they have a bunch of fourth and fifth receivers.
Is Sanders the answer in Washington? As a player, maybe. Even if the Redskins get a receiver fairly early in the draft, they will need a veteran to hold things down during the learning process. Even if Sanders is not the 1,000-yard per year player he was a while ago, he could be a helpful addition.
But his contract would seem to make a trade a non-starter. The Redskins would owe him salaries of $8.15 million and $10.15 million over the next two seasons. If they wanted to pay a receiver advancing through his early thirties that much money, they would have kept Pierre Garçon.
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The contract makes a trade unlikely. But that doesn’t mean that he won’t end up playing in Washington.
It is doubtful that any other NFL team would want Sanders with an $8.15 million price tag. That will leave Elway with the choice of keeping Sanders at that price, trying to get him to renegotiate his contract, or cutting him. If he makes the latter move, the Redskins could show some interest in bringing him in.
So it’s sit and wait for the Redskins. If the phone rings, they will answer and chat with Elway, but it is very unlikely that anything will get done. But if Sanders become a free agent, Sanders’ agent could get a call from the 703 area code.