Sanders had appealing NFC options. Sanders spoke with the Dallas Cowboys and the Green Bay Packers but preferred to wind up with the Saints, where he landed a $16 million deal worth up to $19 million, sources tell ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
“Still got to take a physical but it’s a done deal,” Sanders told Anderson.
A No. 2 receiver has been the Saints’ most glaring need for the past two years, with the team kicking the tires on the likes of Antonio Brown, Dez Bryant, Brandon Marshall and Cameron Meredith during that span.
Sanders seems to be an ideal fit for the Saints, since he lines up frequently in the slot and since Drew Brees thrives on accuracy with a heavy dose of short and midrange passes. Sanders is known as a terrific route runner, and he could help fill the type of role that former Saints receivers like Lance Moore and Willie Snead filled.
WR Emmanuel Sanders – Averaged 13.94 YPC with SF in ’19.
Veteran route runner. Slot ability. Sets-up man defenders to separate/create leverage. Can find open windows vs. zone coverage.
— Matt Bowen (@MattBowen41) March 20, 2020
Sanders made quite a personal impression on the Saints last December, when he caught seven passes for 157 yards against them in the Superdome, including a 75-yard touchdown. Sanders also completed a 35-yard TD pass in that thrilling 48-46 win for the San Francisco 49ers, which helped decide the pecking order in the NFC playoffs.
The Saints are extremely low on cap space now and could possibly require some additional roster moves to free up more space from this point forward.
Acquired before the trade deadline by the 49ers last season, Sanders walked into the team’s receiver room and was instantly the most accomplished player there. For a team in need of a reliable veteran, Sanders proved the ideal midseason addition.
He played in 10 games for the Niners in the regular season, posting 36 catches for 502 yards and three touchdowns, and started all their postseason contests. Beyond his on-field production, Sanders, who turns 33 on March 17, became a mentor and leader to the team’s young wideouts.
In 144 career regular-season games, he has 601 catches for 7,893 yards and 42 touchdowns.
ESPN’s Mike Triplett and Nick Wagoner contributed to this report.