Steelers match offer sheet for Emmanuel Sanders

Justin K. Aller

The Steelers matched New England's RFA offer sheet for Emmanuel Sanders. He will stay in Pittsburgh.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have matched the New England Patriots' offer sheet for restricted free agent Emmanuel Sanders, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

The Patriots attempted to sign Sanders away from Pittsburgh, giving him an offer worth $2.5 million for one year. If the Steelers let Sanders go, they would have received the 91st pick in the NFL Draft as compensation from New England. This move ensures that Sanders will stay in Pittsburgh for at least one more season. They had until 11:59 p.m. ET Sunday night to match the Patriots' offer, and ended up beating the deadline by several hours.

Sanders caught 44 passes for 626 yards and one touchdown in 2012. A third-round pick out of SMU in 2010, the 26-year-old has mostly played in the slot position in his three-year career. He is expected to assume the No. 2 role behind Antonio Brown with Mike Wallace leaving for Miami.

If the Steelers let Sanders go to New England, they would've been down to Jerricho Cotchery, Plaxico Burress and a possible rookie -- not an ideal scenario for Big Ben and company. Ben himself lobbied the Steelers to keep Sanders, and has gotten his wish.

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