The Patriots seem primed for a move after restructuring the contract of Stephon Gilmore last week. But, as always, Bill Belichick is in no rush.
The New England fanbase was screaming for a wide receiver addition all of last offseason and into early last season and the Patriots finally obliged by signing Josh Gordon in free agency in September. Expect the Pats to again let the market play out. If they are to bring in a big name, it will likely be around the NFL trade deadline in October, not now.
One name that could eventually come available to New England and other teams in need of a wide receiver upgrade is Denver’s Emmanuel Sanders.
Sanders is entering the final year of his contract and has said he has no desire in restructuring his current deal to appease the Broncos’ front office. The Patriots love these one-year, make good deals (see Darrelle Revis a few years back) and have been heavily interested in Sanders in the past.
Sanders signed a restricted free agent offer sheet with the Pats back in 2013 but Pittsburgh wound up matching the offer. The former SMU great is exactly the type of receiver that thrives in the Patriots offense as he’s more or less Deion Branch on steroids.
Of course, the only way John Elway would get rid of Sanders is if Denver gets off to a slow start. The Broncos got off to a slow start last season and Elway wound up trading away Demaryius Thomas, who was in the final year of his deal, at the deadline.
The Patriots are turning over every rock in the NFL when it comes to the wide receiver position, apparently, as NFL Network’s Mike Giardi reported this week that Belichick kicked the tires on both an Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham trade.
The Redskins, Ravens, Titans and Steelers are four other teams that could also pursue Sanders if he is placed on the block during the season.