Updated: March 15, 2014, 9:41 PM ET
ESPN.com news services
The Denver Broncos are expected to sign wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders this weekend, league sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
Sanders established career-highs in just about every major category in 2013, but inconsistency clouded his future with the Pittsburgh Steelers and ultimately led to his departure from the team that took him in the third round of the 2010 NFL draft.
Sanders is believed to be seeking a contract in the range of the five-year, $31.5 million deal ($13.25 million guaranteed) that former Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate snagged from the Lions earlier this week.
The Steelers were content to let the market determine Sanders’ value a year after they matched the one-year, $2.5 million contract the Patriots signed him to as a restricted free agent. Sanders, who turns 27 on March 17, has enough youth and talent to receive the kind of offer that the Steelers were unwilling to match.
He caught 67 passes for 740 yards and six touchdowns in 2013 and also showed a penchant for making a big play, as both a receiver and a part-time kickoff returner. But Sanders also had his share of untimely drops, including one on a 2-point conversion attempt that would have allowed the Steelers to take the Ravens into overtime in what turned out to be a close loss to their chief rivals.
Sanders’ health had been an issue at times in Pittsburgh, but the 5-foot-11, 180-pounder played in every game last season. He returned a week after spraining his knee to play in the Steelers’ regular-season finale.
A source previously told ESPN.com that teams might be leery of offering a long-term deal to Sanders due to medical concerns. He has a screw in each foot, stemming from injuries he sustained in the Super Bowl following the 2010 season.
Information from ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter and ESPN.com Steelers reporter Scott Brown contributed to this report.