Sanders wants extension with Steelers before season starts

Jared Wickerham

The Steelers matched an offer sheet from the Patriots because they expect Sanders to be their top receiver this season; but before it has even begun, he is already expecting a little something more.

Just a few months ago, Emmanuel Sanders was prepared to give up the Pittsburgh Steelers for the New England Patriots over approximately $1.2 million. The Steelers matched his offer sheet due to their expectations for him in their offense for the 2013 season. Now, with training camp barely one day old, he is already talking about wanting an extension.

However Sanders made it clear to Trib Total Media's Mark Kaboly, he isn't going to worry about it. Unfortunately for Sanders, neither will the Steelers, most likely.

The Steelers already own a salary cap figure of $127.7 million for 2014 with an additional $4.3 million in dead money from the 2013 release of Willie Colon who is now with the New York Jets. The team does have a surplus of $4.4 million this season, but training camp has only just begun. It is still far too early to begin committing any of that money to someone already on the roster.

Perhaps this is why the team allegedly laid out the '70 catch, 1,000 yard' expectation for Sanders. The team may want to see how he handles the load as the top guy without Mike Wallace on the field to soak up targets. If he can meet those milestones, the team may be more susceptible to believing he is an integral part of the future. If he cannot, the team will only wonder why they didn't allow him to go to New England the year before.

Fortunately for both parties, Sanders won't be holding out like Wallace did last year. Sanders seems ready to play this year for $2.5 million secured by his matched offer sheet. The Steelers definitely seem ready to see if he was worth the $1.2 million pay raise and the third round compensatory draft pick they could have received from the Patriots.

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