The New England Patriots signed free-agent wide receiver Michael Jenkins on Thursday and now several are curious to know what this may mean for Pittsburgh Steelers restricted free agent wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, who visited the Patriots nearly two weeks ago.
Dale Lolley of the Washington Observer Reporter posted on Twitter that the Patriots signing of Jenkins means that they won\’t be signing Sanders to an offer sheet. I disagree with Lolley, and believe that the signing of Jenkins has absolutely nothing at all to do with the Sanders situation. It\’s entirely separate.
First, Jenkins will turn 31 in June, and it is hard to believe that the Patriots would give him much more than the minimum, regardless of the length of the deal, which has yet to be reported. That means after displacement in the Patriots Rule of 51, that their salary cap needle likely didn\’t even budge.
Second, Lolley seems to forget how many wide receivers that the Patriots signed last offseason. Remember the signings of Brandon Lloyd, Donte\’ Stallworth, Jabar Gaffney, Anthony Gonzalez, Matthew Slater and Tiquan Underwood? The signing of Jenkins this offseason matches that same pattern and type. Have any of you seen the Patriots depth chart in the last few weeks? It was pretty much just Danny Amendola and Donald Jones prior to the addition of Jenkins.
As I mentioned a few days ago, my gut tells me that the Patriots will not wind up signing Sanders to an offer sheet by the April 19 deadline, but the signing of Jenkins on Thursday is no reason to run out and celebrate and let your guard down. The Patriots still have a ton of time and a ton of cap space to work with and the signing of Jenkins on Thursday changes none of that.