Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, a restricted free agent, has signed an offer sheet with the New England Patriots, reports CBS's Jason La Canfora on Twitter.
The Patriots just submitted an offer sheet on Steelers WR Emmanuel Sanders. some actual restricted free agent movement. Wow
— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) April 10, 2013
NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reports the two sides agreed to a one-year deal.
Sanders visited New England earlier in the offseason but didn't sign then. The Steelers have five days to match New England's offer if they want to keep Sanders. If they choose not to bring back the wide receiver, the Steelers would receive a third-round draft pick as compensation.
ESPN's Adam Schefter is reporting that the "money won't be determining factor. Money will be modest." But the Steelers are only about $2 million under the salary cap and may need to be creative to bring back Sanders. The team could restructure the contracts of some veteran players to free more cap space now, but doing so would lead to further problems in the future. Sanders started seven games last season, his third in the NFL. He caught 44 passes for 626 yards.