After an impressive but short stint with the 49ers in 2019, Emmanuel Sanders joined the Saints, but he was unable to find his footing in New Orleans. That's not all that uncommon for WRs coming over to the Saints during the Drew Brees era and dealing with a timing-based passing system. Josh Allen and the Bills should be a much better fit for Sanders' skill set in 2021 -- specifically on improvised plays off schedule and in the deep passing game. He won't cost much in drafts due to the competition around him and that makes Sanders a priority flier in what should be one of the NFL's best passing attacks.
Sanders agreed to terms on a one-year contract with the Bills on Tuesday, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reports. Sanders will travel to Buffalo on Thursday to make this deal official. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the deal is worth $6 million. The 34-year-old wideout proved he still has something left in the tank last year, recording a 61-726-5 line across 14 games with the Saints. Sanders is slated to serve as the No. 2 outside wide receiver behind Stefon Diggs -- who led the league with 1,535 receiving yards last year -- in Buffalo. Cole Beasley (leg) should handle the slot reps while Gabriel Davis rotates in on the outside.
The Saints will release Sanders on Wednesday, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports. Sanders signed a two-year, $16 million contract last offseason, but for practical purposes, he was being paid $10 million for a single season. He'll now become an unrestricted free agent again, after putting up 61 receptions for 726 yards and five touchdowns on 82 targets across 14 games. The soon-to-be 34-year-old hasn't reached 1,000 yards since 2016, but he still appears capable of starting in the NFL. Sanders could be a popular fallback option for wideout-needy teams that miss out on Kenny Golladay and Will Fuller.
Sanders hauled in six of nine targets for 48 yards in the Saints' 30-20 loss to the Buccaneers on Sunday. The veteran led the team in targets and receptions, but his short-yardage gains led to little production in the loss. After a mildly-productive first season in New Orleans, Sanders is set to return for at least one more year, when he should be a primary weapon in the passing game, no matter who is throwing him passes.
Sanders caught two of three targets for three yards in the Saints' 21-9 win over the Bears on Sunday. The veteran wideout entered the game riding a streak of four games with at least 60 receiving yards or a touchdown, but he fell completely flat in this one, ceding work to two recently-activated receivers, Deonte Harris and Michael Thomas. Sanders' production will likely be hit-or-miss with those two players back in the fold, but a friendly matchup with Tampa Bay in the NFC divisional round presents a bounce-back opportunity for Sanders.
Sanders caught nine of 13 targets for 63 yards and a touchdown during Sunday's 33-7 win over the Saints. Sanders led the team in all major receiving categories and, despite averaging just 7.0 yards per catch, made a nice fantasy impact thanks to an eight-yard touchdown grab in the second quarter. The veteran has stepped up in a big way over the last three games, averaging 5.7 receptions and 74 yards per contest. Sanders finishes the regular season with respectable totals of 61 receptions, 726 yards and five touchdowns. Assuming Michael Thomas (ankle) returns for the wild-card round matchup with the Bears, Sanders will step back into a secondary role.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|3||09/26||Washington Football Team||5||19.35|
|5||10/10||@Kansas City Chiefs||2||18.47|
|10||11/14||@New York Jets||18||23.13|
|12||11/25||@New Orleans Saints||16||22.00|
|13||12/06||New England Patriots||10||20.63|
|14||12/12||@Tampa Bay Buccaneers||19||23.50|
|16||12/26||@New England Patriots||10||20.63|
|18||01/09||New York Jets||18||23.13|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||93||66||821||5||37||12.44||120|