Patriots May Have Sparked Mohamed Sanu's Free-Agent Market in 2016
Throughout the process of me writing a feature on Mohamed Sanu, which is now available on PatriotMaven.com with the headline Mohamed Sanu is Ready to Make an Impact in Year 2 With Patriots, I conducted a couple interviews with people that are close to the veteran receiver and gave me some good insight on topics regarding his time with the New England Patriots. They also gave me some tidbits that didn't make it into the feature, but are also still worth noting.
Let's go over those little nuggets of information:
Lieberman Has Never Seen Someone so Dedicated to Their Craft
When I asked trainer/WRs coach Drew Lieberman - who is living and working with Mohamed Sanu this offseason - about Sanu's ankle and how he is recovering post-surgery, he told me how the veteran wideout's combination of work ethic and great genes is something he has never come across before.
"It was something crazy, but, he just like, when I tell you this guy wakes up and from 7am to 10pm, all he does is work on his body and work on his game," Lieberman told PatriotMaven. "Like I don’t know anyone else, I haven’t been around many other guys that are this dedicated to just being a professional and being the best he can be. I think he has unbelievable genes and, his body has an unbelievable way to recover, just how he is naturally."
Patriots Sparked Sanu's Free-Agent Market in 2016?
When Mohamed Sanu entered free agency back in 2016, he ended his stint with the Bengals and wound up in Atlanta catching passes from Matt Ryan. But would Sanu have come away with a deal from the Falcons had it not been for the Patriots reportedly showing interest in the veteran pass-catcher? Seth Minter - a footwork specialist known as "The Foot Doctor" who has been working with Sanu for over five years - told me the six-time Super Bowl champions sparked Sanu's free-agent market that year.
"I remember when Mo was a free agent (in 2016) the Bengals offered him something like $8 million for four or five years and that was a weak deal, it was a slap in the face almost," Minter told PatriotMaven. "And then ironically a report came out that the Patriots were interested in Mo, and this was before he even went to the Falcons. So when that report came out that they were interested in Mo, next thing you know the phone was ringing off the hook for him because the Patriots want him so other teams figured that he was some type of secret x-factor."
In the end, Sanu signed a five-year, $32.5 million deal with the Falcons that offseason, which was strides beyond the four-year, $2.7 million rookie deal he was coming off of in Cincinnati.
Falcons Wanted Sanu For His Feet, Not His Hands
After signing his first big NFL contract, Mohamed Sanu - according to Minter - had a very odd sit-down with Atlanta brass after he inked his contract with them. The sit-down spoke volumes as to why the Falcons wanted Sanu. And it's not for the reason you may think.
"When he signed with the Falcons and I FaceTimed him, he had this very perplexed look on his face, not really sad or excited" Minter said. "I said to him 'Are you good' and he said yeah. He said 'After (the Falcons) signed me they took me in the back and showed me 10 plays.' So I was like, okay, that's going on in the 10 plays, were they crazy catches, one-hand catches? He was like 'No bro, all 10 plays they showed me I didn't have the ball or the ball wasn't coming to me. They are basically signing me for the way I move.'"
This speaks to the work that Minter and Sanu - who was one of Minter's first big clients for his business and helped his business boom - have been putting in since they began working together in 2014. It also may hint at why New England - specifically Bill Belichick and Tom Brady - wanted Sanu and the why Patriots ultimately traded for him last October. Sanu was always considered reliable during his time in Atlanta, but it may be his consistent ability to get open and not his ability to catch passes that got him shipped to New England in exchange for a second-round pick last year.