Hopefully the Jets and Pats get into a bidding war. Maybe he gets a big enough deal to bring a 4th round comp pick in exchange.
The Jets may have to fend off their division rivals for Sanders, whose career highs in receptions (67), yards (740) and touchdowns (six) in his first year as a full-time starter with the Steelers last season helped land him on Gang Green’s wish list too.
The Patriots signed Sanders to a 1-year, $2.5 million offer sheet when he was a restricted free agent last offseason, but Pittsburgh matched it rather than let him go and take New England's third-round pick.
At 5-11, 180 pounds, Sanders also isn’t a big-bodied receiver that the Jets need (Hill doesn’t count), but his 4.4 speed and quickness would be a solid fit in Mornhinweg’s scheme.
The Steelers tried to maximize Sanders’ run-after-the-catch ability in his fourth season. A quarter of his receptions in 2013 came on passes caught behind the line of scrimmage. Fifty-one percent came within nine yards of the line of scrimmage. Sanders also has experience as a punt and kick returner, which is an area of need for Ryan’s team.
“He’s an explosive player and he’s fast,” Bill Belichick said in the run-up to the Patriots-Steelers game in Week 9. “He’s dangerous on catch-and-run plays like tear screens, reverses and kick returns. He’s also a good route runner with quickness and obviously speed and big-play ability.”
The Steelers may be inclined to let Sanders, who will turn 27 next month, walk, to pave the way for second-year wideout Markus Wheaton. The Patriots could make another run at Sanders, especially if unrestricted free agent Julian Edelman leaves town.
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