Emmanuel Sanders trade rumors: Super Bowl contenders in the lead prior to NFL trade deadline

Emmanuel Sanders' days with the Denver Broncos appear to be coming to its end with the NFL trade deadline drawing near. Denver is reportedly open to taking calls on the veteran receiver, who is also said to be looking for a change of scenery. Sanders is in the final year of his deal and with the Broncos falling out of playoff contention, it makes sense for the franchise to try and recoup some assets for him in what could be a pending rebuild. 

ESPN's Adam Schefter reportedly previously that the Broncos are looking for a second-day draft choice in return for Sanders, which is a steep price, but he could be worth it. The 32-year old is bouncing back tremendously after suffering a torn Achilles last season and through seven games, he's totaled 30 receptions for 367 yards and two touchdowns. Given that production and the current need by various contenders for receivers, Sanders is looking like an extremely desirable asset for any club looking to add a little extra offensive firepower for the stretch run. 

Let's break down the most likely landing spot for the veteran receiver prior to the deadline: 

San Francisco 49ers 

This appears to be Sanders' most likely destination. CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora has continued to report that San Francisco is hungry to add some pass-catching talent and they are highly motivated to get a deal done. in the aftermath of the Patriots landing Mohamed Sanu in a deal with the Falcons, La Canfora even noted that he expects Sanders to end up a 49er in the next week. 

San Fran is currently 6-0 on the season and firmly in Super Bowl contention in the NFC. While their defense has been a staple for them this season, the offense could use a boost. Only tight end George Kittle has over 20 receptions on the year and no wide receiver has over 200 yards total to this point. Meanwhile, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is completing 68.3% of his passes, so it appears like the Niners are simply looking for playmakers and could have one targeted in Sanders if they can come to terms on a deal. 

Carolina Panthers 

The Panthers are an interesting club to monitor as they are currently 4-2 on the season and in playoff contention. Their defense is No. 3 in the entire NFL in terms of DVOA, but, in a similar situation to San Francisco, the offense could use a kick. 

They are in the bottom half of the league in total offensive yards and have been almost too reliant on superstar running back Christian McCaffrey as both a runner and pass catcher out of the backfield. D.J. Moore has been solid with 33 receptions for 425 yards and Curtis Samuel has been serviceable, but they could use a talent like Sanders for whoever is under center. 

Green Bay Packers

Pairing Sanders with Aaron Rodgers would certainly be one of the more exciting additions if it actually goes down. The Packers have been banged up a receiver all season as Davante Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Geronimo Allison have all been dealing with injuries. If they wanted to add some extra insurance for the stretch run, Sanders is a great option, who would likely build up a quick rapport with Rodgers. 

The price tag may be a bit expensive for Green Bay considering the talent they already have on the roster, but the fact that they re 6-1 on the season and have a Lombardi Trophy within their sights, they might give themselves the best possible chance to climb the mountaintop this year.  

Buffalo Bills

Who saw the Buffalo Bills as a 5-1 team this year? Well, they are and are looking to make a playoff push with a strong defense leading the way. What could be their Achilles heel, however, is quarterback Josh Allen, who has looked erratic at times this season. With that said, Allen hasn't exactly had a star-studded group around him. Outside of John Brown and Cole Beasley, there are really no noticeable names in the pass game. An addition like Sanders could go a long way in not only making this offense more productive while also helping the maturation of Allen going forward. 

New England Patriots

The Patriots already made a move dealing for Mohamed Sanu, but it's conceivable that there is another shoe to drop in Foxborough. New England could certainly use as much help as they can get at the skill positions, so we can't rule them out entirely from the Sanders sweepstakes. After all, the Pats do have a history with Sanders as they signed him to an offer sheet back when he was a restricted free agent in 2013 when he was a member of the Steelers

The price may take them out of the running for Sanders in the end, but they could still be dealing even with Sanu in the fold. 

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