WR Sanders agrees to contract extension ahead of regular season
Mark Belcher, Troy E. Renck
Posted at 3:47 PM, Sep 07, 2016
and last updated2016-09-07 18:35:03-04
DENVER -- The Broncos believe in Emmanuel Sanders. They view him as a No. 1-caliber receiver. Wednesday, they paid him like one.
Ahead of their first regular season-opener against the Carolina Panthers, the Broncos and Sanders agreed to a three-year, $33-million deal with roughly $20 million guaranteed upon signing and $27 million guaranteed. Sanders will play this season under his $5.6 million contract with the extension running 2017-2019.
John Elway, Broncos executive vice president and general manager, announced the deal just after 3 p.m. Wednesday.
"Emmanuel has proven himself as a great player and one of the most productive receivers in this league,” Elway said. “He plays with intensity, and we love the way he competes. We’re thrilled Emmanuel is going to be a Bronco for many more years to come.”
The Broncos signaled last week they were approaching a deal, but the waters muddied when the Los Angeles Rams agreed to terms with Tavon Austin. Austin signed a $42-million deal with $25 million in guarantees.
Austin, who is statistically an inferior receiver compared to Sanders, bumped the price. Sanders told Denver7 he couldn't take less than Austin based on his production. Sanders, 29, was the Broncos most reliable offensive player last season. It's a credit to Elway and Sanders for working aggressively after talks stalled. At $11 million average annual value, Sanders would become the 10th highest paid receiver in 2017. Teammate Demaryius Thomas ranks third behind Cincinnati's A.J. Green and Atlanta's Julio Jones.
Over the last two seasons, Sanders has been in the same market as receivers who have all received $10 million annually and at least $20 million guaranteed. The Broncos agreed, giving them two premier targets as they attempt to groom inexperienced quarterbacks Trevor Siemian and rookie Paxton Lynch going forward.
Salary numbers according to Spotrac.com:
Sanders (old deal): 177 catches, 2,539 yards, 15 TDs, 31 games, final season of 3-year, $15 million deal, $6M guaranteed.