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I really want the Patriots to steal WR Emmanuel Sanders away from the Broncos

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Would you want the Broncos receiver if he were a free agent?

Denver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders is one of the more underrated receivers in the NFL. He’s overshadowed by his teammate Demaryius Thomas, even though Sanders is the one that comes through in the clutch time after time after time.

There’s also a chance that Sanders could be hitting the free agency market after this season and I think the Patriots should try and bring him into the fold.

Mile High Report notes that Sanders is in the final year of his contract and wants a new deal prior to the start of the season.

"Everybody wants to get paid (what) they feel like they put in, and what they put out," stated Sanders. "Hopefully we work out something in the next 30 days. If I get a contract, I get a contract, but if I don’t, you know it’s sad, but you know I’ll have to part ways."

The Broncos signed Sanders to a 3-year, $15 million deal two years ago. Sanders has collected 2,539 receiving yards over the past two seasons, good for the 6th most over the past two seasons (and he has the 4th most receiving yards if you include the playoffs). He’s greatly outplayed his deal and is looking for a contract in the realm of $12 million per season.

The Patriots had been interested in signing Sanders prior to the 2013 season as a restricted free agent with the Steelers, but Pittsburgh matched their offer (and some believe this loss led the Patriots to double their efforts to land Chris Hogan this offseason).

Sanders would be a perfect fit in the New England offense thanks to his versatility across the formation and his ability to generate yards in the open field.

There are so many reasons for the Patriots not to sign Sanders. For starters, he’ll be 30-years-old next season, which isn’t an ideal time to hand a fat, new contract to a player that has never played in your system.

And then the $12 million per year he’ll make would rank 7th most for wide receivers. There’s no way the Patriots will bite on that offer because it will destroy the cap management of a team trying to retain the majority of their defensive starters.

I’m 95% sure my desire to have Sanders in a Patriots uniform is crazy and based off the fact that he was thisclose to being a Patriot in 2013. It’s like when you wanted that really expensive Razor scooter back in the day, but when you finally got one a few years later you hit the curb, fell down, and scraped your knee, and now you’re stuck with a Razor scooter that you don’t want anymore (off topic, but @PP_Rich_Hill if anyone is interested in a Razor scooter).

It probably doesn’t help that Sanders has averaged 6.4 receptions and 99 yards in five games against the Patriots over the past five years.

Sanders is likely to start his decline in two or three years, which would only leave his new franchise a couple of seasons of top tier play. There have only been eight receivers in the past decade with multiple 1,000+ yard receiving seasons after they turned 32, which would be 2018 for Sanders.

Additionally, 32+ year old receivers have eclipsed 1,200 receiving yards just 8 times in the past decade, which is a pretty fair, if not low, bar for a receiver earning top 7 money- and all of those receivers are destined for the Hall of Fame or close to it: Reggie Wayne x2, Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, Marvin Harrison, Andre Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, and0 Steve Smith Sr.

Would Sanders ever live up to his contract in a new environment? Probably not. And that’s why it won’t happen. But there’s still some part of me that thinks Sanders would absolutely dominate the league with the Patriots.

Here’s hoping that Malcolm Mitchell can be the next Emmanuel Sanders.