As most of you know, the Pittsburgh Steelers don’t discuss contracts during the season. With that in mind, Emmanuel Sanders will become a free agent at the end of this season since there was not extension granted to him. This doesn’t mean he won’t be a Steeler next year, but the likelihood is very slim.
Unfortunately for Sanders, the opener was not the kind of debut he was looking for in terms of marketing himself for other teams.
Sanders was targeted a game-high 12 times by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger but Sanders had just 7 receptions. The Steelers very first offensive play was a well-executed play-action pass designed to go to Sanders deep. Roethlisberger threw a great ball but it sailed through Sanders’ hands.
A tough catch? Yes it was, but it also was a catch good receivers make.
The number of targets didn’t surprise me at all. I mentioned during the preseason that I felt Sanders would be in line for a big year because of the attention paid to Antonio Brown on the other side. That’s exactly how things played out on Sunday.
I guarantee Sanders is not happy with his performance. He realizes that his success can run parallel to the success of the team. If he believes he deserves a big payday in free agency then he’ll have to show more consistency.
On the positive side, Sanders proved he could get open which is nothing to disregard. Now he needs to complete the package and become a more consistent receiver.
Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns www.steelcityblitz.com. Follow him on Twitter @steeldad and follow the website at @SCBlitz. He can be heard Mondays on Trib-Live Radio at 4pm ET talking Steelers.