Deal or no deal, the Denver Broncos have showed considerably more love to Emmanuel Sanders than they did three years ago to Eric Decker.
Not that this would console Sanders if he doesn’t receive a new contract. Still, the fact the Broncos are even negotiating with their big-play receiver about a contract extension represents a change in organizational philosophy.
Like Sanders, Decker was the Broncos’ No. 2 receiver to Demaryius Thomas. Like Sanders, Decker’s reception and yardage totals ranked roughly among the league’s top 15 for two consecutive seasons.
Unlike Sanders, the Broncos did not attempt to re-sign Decker. Decker wound up signing a deal worth $7.25 million a year with the New York Jets in 2014.
With the 2016 season opener approaching, contract negotiations between the Broncos and Sanders are coming into sharper focus.
According to multiple sources, the two sides are not far apart in terms of average salary, but there is disagreement on how the contract, specifically the full guaranteed dollars, is structured.
Broncos’ general manager John Elway said Saturday the two sides were “looking at” the contract extension the Los Angeles Rams gave receiver Tavon Austin last week. That deal averaged out to $10.5 million per year.
Sanders’ production during his first two seasons with the Broncos, however, compares favorably to the six-receiver grouping of Doug Baldwin ($11.5 million a year), Keenan Allen ($11.25 million), Vincent Jackson ($11.1 million), Jeremy Maclin ($11 million), Larry Fitzgerald ($11 million) and Austin ($10.5 million).
One possible complication in Sanders’ negotiations is he will be 30 years old in March, and this will be his third contract. Baldwin, Maclin, Allen, Maclin and Austin got their big money on their second contracts, between the ages of 24 and 27.
Absent an extension, Sanders would play this season on a $5.6 million salary, the final year of the three-year deal he signed with Denver in March, 2014.
Copyright 2016 KUSA