Good morning, NFC West. The weekend passed quietly for the division, but the wide receiver market moved in a way that caught my attention.
Around the NFC West: April 15, 2013
When the Pittsburgh Steelers rebuffed the New England Patriots' attempts to land restricted free agent receiver Emmanuel Sanders, I wondered if this were the latest indication teams aren't all that excited about the receivers available atop the 2013 NFL draft (depth at the position could be strong, however).
Pittsburgh's decision to match New England's one-year, $2.5 million offer came as a bit of a surprise. The Steelers would have collected a third-round choice from the Patriots had they decided against matching the offer. Instead, they secured Sanders for the 2013 season, giving them at least a chance to work out a longer-term deal at some point in the future.
Sanders, 26, caught 44 passes for 626 yards and a touchdown last season.
New England's play for Sanders and the Steelers' decision to match the offer sheet marked the latest example of teams trying to protect themselves at the position before the draft. The Steelers, in effect, were saying they preferred Sanders to any receiver they might add in the third round.
The Miami Dolphins made a big play for receiver Mike Wallace in free agency. The Kansas City Chiefs stepped up to keep receiver Dwayne Bowe. The San Francisco 49ers moved to acquire receiver Anquan Boldin from the Baltimore Ravens. The Seattle Seahawks parted with a 2013 first-round pick as part of a trade to acquire receiver Percy Harvin.
Those moves also could say something about how teams view their draft options at receiver.