NFL: Steelers opt to match Patriots' offer for WR Sanders
PITTSBURGH — Emmanuel Sanders is sticking with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The team announced Sunday it matched the $2.5 million offer the New England Patriots made to the restricted free agent wide receiver last week. Pittsburgh would have received a third-round pick from the Patriots if it let Sanders go to New England.
Instead, Sanders will likely be second on the depth chart behind Antonio Brown when training camp opens in July. Sanders, 26, caught 44 passes for 626 yards and a touchdown in 2012, and he was the only wide receiver to appear in all 16 games for Pittsburgh in 2012.
“Glad the business side is out of the way,” Sanders posted on his Twitter account Sunday evening. “Now it’s back to playing football and bringing (Super Bowl) number 7 back to Pittsburgh.”
The Steelers will have to give Sanders a $1 million raise, bringing them within about $1 million of the salary cap. They would have received some cap relief if they let Sanders leave, but would also have been woefully thin at wide receiver entering the draft: Mike Wallace signed as a free agent with Miami last month, and tight end Heath Miller is recovering from a severe knee injury.