On Monday, we discussed how San Francisco 49ers veteran wideout Emmanuel Sanders changed his social media information from a picture of Sanders in his Niners jersey to a picture of just an “E,” then posted a picture of him and his family saying, “priority numero uno.” That led to many 49ers fans jumping to the conclusion that Sanders had played his last snap as a Niner. It’s all a guessing game, but it makes sense to me. The timing of the move just seems off. We are just over a week away from free agency.
Veteran players that have been released are already signing deals. The legal tampering period doesn’t start until March 16 at 1:00 p.m. PT. Sanders made it clear that he has not had any talks and that there have been no contracts offered. That was in response to my tweet saying I had a “source#” to the contrary.
Dude you’re making up stuff out of your ass. no offer has been sent and no talks have been made. Bad reporting at its finest smh https://t.co/WFoPMYD2jm— Emmanuel Sanders (@ESanders_10) March 9, 2020
I have no interest in “breaking news.” I also have no reason to make that up. This was a casual discussion from someone I trust about what Sanders was being offered and what Sanders wants. Maybe this happened during the season; maybe it happened yesterday; maybe it’s all way off base. If the information is wrong, I’ll wear it and welcome him back with all the jokes you can possibly imagine. If it’s right, I’m not going to take a victory lap. All I’m doing is sharing information. I understand Sanders’ response and the mafia that comes with it.
Speaking of the mafia, the responses to my original tweet is exactly why his alleged contract requests and the 49ers alleged offer make so much sense. Everyone knows Sanders can play. Turn on a game right when he was traded to the 49ers, watch a few plays, and Sanders is the guy with the ball in his hands, gaining a lot of yards. One of the responses called Sanders clueless for wanting to maximize the amount of money he can make. Who wouldn’t do that? The other side of the argument was against Sander’s age and his injury history. The veteran receiver turns 33-years old next week and is a year removed from an Achilles. Nobody will argue against his talent. Sanders had a phenomenal 2019. He had to play banged up for a good chunk of that second half of the season. All these factors, as well as the strength of the 2020 wide receiver free agency/draft class, are factored in when making these offers.
As far as the contract details, Sanders allegedly wanted a deal worth two years for $30 million. Unfortunately, there is no information on the amount of guaranteed money or money in Year 1 in either offer. If that’s true, that would be north of what Spotrac has Sanders valued at. They’re valuing Sanders at $10 million annually. The 49ers allegedly offered one contract worth three years, $30 million, and the second was two years, $24 million. Even if these hypotheticals are a million off here or there, those few million make a difference. In his mailbag last week, The Athletic’s Matt Barrows said, “The 49ers may allow Sanders to hit free agency and let the market shape his eventual offer.” That makes sense. This feels very 49ers-ish, and that’s why I’m comfortable sharing it.
Paraag Marathe could frame the contract or alter the guaranteed amount that will be enough to bring Sanders back. I stand by what I said yesterday as well. Sanders will outperform whatever rookie wide receiver the 49ers would have in his place. We saw first hand how he raised the game of the other receivers on the roster. We’ll know soon enough what Sanders market will look like, and if he will be back in San Francisco in 2020.
The next question to ask—if Sanders does walk—is if the 49ers are going to use that $10-12 million that would have gone to Sanders on another player, in or outside the building? We’ll find out soon enough.