Emmanuel Sanders offered a free-spending Denver Broncos team the chance to make two positive strides in one move. In signing Sanders to a three year deal for less money than they would have had to offer departing receiver Eric Decker, the Broncos managed to lower their cap number while potentially improving their offense.
It’s hard to say which is the better receiver right now between Sanders and Decker, but as far as the Bronco offense is concerned, this could be a move upward for the speedster who left the Pittsburgh Steelers this summer to play a smaller role on the defending AFC champions.
As noted by Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com, Sanders will take over Decker’s spot on the field in a pass-heavy Denver offense led by Peyton Manning. While undisputed top receiver Demaryius Thomas will continue to draw the best cornerback from the opposition, it will be on Sanders to use the raw down field speed that Decker lacked to get open beyond 20 yards from the line of scrimmage. Sanders explained further in the piece:
I’m not saying that me and (Steelers wide receiver) Antonio Brown didn’t complement each other, but I feel like we’re too much of the same,’’ Sanders said. “D.T. (Demaryius Thomas) is a big receiver. He’s a big, physical receiver and I’m a more a smaller, quick, faster receiver that can stretch the field.
It’s always tough to gauge how a receiver will adapt to a new offense, but Peyton Manning often makes such adjustments easier for a new pass catcher. If skill guys like D.T. and Julius Thomas can continue to spread the field, expect Sanders to have the big year he was always capable of having in Pittsburgh, but never quite had.