Now through the end of August, we will continue our 90-in-90 player series. If you missed the previous player breakdowns, you can check them out here.
Name: Emmanuel Sanders
Height: 5'11" Weight: 180
Age: 30 Experience: 7
College: Southern Methodist
Emmanuel Sanders has undoubtedly been one of John Elway’s best and most underrated free agent acquisitions in his time as general manager of the Denver Broncos.
His production has been outstanding, but perhaps the biggest silver lining in the entire Sanders saga was the fact that Elway was able to pry him away from arch-nemesis and division rival Kansas City during free agency. Isn't it wonderful that the Broncos have Sanders on their team going into battle each Sunday as opposed to having to go up against him?
Sanders is in the final year of his three-year, $15 million dollar contract he signed in 2014. After signing outside linebacker Von Miller to the highest defensive contract of all-time, Elway was vocal about his interest in re-signing Sanders long-term, but as of now, there has been no agreement on a deal that would make Sanders a Bronco for the remainder of his career.
If the Broncos want to keep Sanders, they will have to pony up the dough and pay him a salary that will average at least $11 million dollars annually. The Broncos already have invested a serious amount of coin in top-tier receiver Demaryius Thomas, so it is uncertain whether or not the team will end up deciding to allocate so much money in two players at the position.
However, it is an investment the team can certainly afford to make and moreover, it would be a tremendous if quarterback of the future Paxton Lynch had two top receivers to throw the ball to. Surrounding your franchise quarterback with the best weapons possible is never a bad thing, right?
The Good: Phenomenal athlete with speed to burn. Effective playing on the outside and has been a blessing for the Broncos as a formidable weapon in the slot. Exceptional body control and has a knack for making outstanding catches when the chance arises. Smooth route runner who has great separation ability and can snag a short grab and turn it into a big gain. Can even pitch in and serve as a returner on special teams. Player who demonstrates a team first mentality and is a leader on and off the field.
The Bad: Can be out muscled and jammed up by larger and more physical cornerbacks. Isn't much of a red zone threat due to lack of size and bulk. Not a top-tier run blocker, but certainly shows grit and willingness in that regard.
Quotable: "A huge difference. I still go into meetings and still pay attention, but now I know exactly what's going on. Being in this offense last year, everything was new. I know what [Head Coach Gary] Kubiak expects out of me so I feel a lot more comfortable." — Sanders on his second year in Kubiak’s offense compared to last year
Status: Sanders is certainly a safe bet to make the Broncos' final roster and will be the team's second receiver for the third consecutive season. What isn't certain is his future with the team beyond 2016, but I have faith in Elway's ability to get a deal done with the versatile receiver that will make him a Bronco for the rest of his career.