The Denver Broncos are mostly wrapped up with contract negotiations and ready for training camp now that Von Miller got paid like Rod Tidwell. A tumultuous offseason that saw Denver lose Peyton Manning to retirement, Brock Osweiler to free agency, bring back linebacker Brandon Marshall and C.J. Anderson and add offensive tackle Russell Okung and quarterback Mark Sanchez is drawing to a close.
With training camp 10 days away, there only seems to be one major question mark still lingering: What are the Broncos going to do with Emmanuel Sanders?
The star wideout is entering the last season of his three-year contract. He’s set to make $5 million this season. Sanders and the Broncos have both made it known that they’d like to hammer out an extension to keep him in Denver long-term.
But how much will it take?
It’s no stretch to say that Sanders has been a top-10 wide receiver in football since arriving in Denver in 2014. Over the last two regular seasons, Sanders started 31 games, caught 177 balls for 2,539 yards and reeled in 15 touchdowns. He also had 16 receptions for 230 yards in the Broncos’ postseason run last winter.
Sanders is reportedly seeking a four-year deal worth $24 million in guaranteed money. Those figures fall pretty squarely in line with the ones Jacksonville’s Allen Hurns (four years, $20 million guaranteed) and Seattle’s Doug Baldwin ($24.25 million guaranteed) got this summer.
From a team perspective, contracts are about what a player is worth in the future — not what he’s done in the past.
Sanders has been a better player than either Baldwin or Hurns these last two seasons, but he’s also older. Baldwin is 27 and Hurns is 24; Sanders is 29. So that could play a factor in these negotiations, too.
It’s possible, despite the blustering about wanting to get a multi-year deal done, that the Broncos let Sanders play out the final year of his contract and revisit this next summer. Broncos general manager John Elway finally backed the Brinks truck up for Miller. It remains to be seen if he’ll do the same thing for Sanders.
“Big money,” Sanders told TMZ when asked about Miller’s new deal over the weekend. “Hopefully I’m next.”