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How much would it cost to re-sign Emmanuel Sanders?

Projecting a new contract for Emmanuel Sanders

Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

Last year, the Buffalo Bills signed free-agent wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders to a one-year, $6 million deal with the cap hit spread out over two seasons. Sanders is now set to become a free agent and turn 35 years old over the next month.

If the Bills are looking to re-sign Sanders, there is a specific amount of money he would cost.

Comparable contracts

Emmanuel Sanders
Buffalo Bills 2021
One year, $6 million

Sanders’s own deal with the Bills from a year ago is one of the best comps. Nearly all of his money—$5.9 million—was fully guaranteed.

A.J. Green
Arizona Cardinals 2021
One year, $6 million

Signed at age 32, Green’s entire one-year contract was fully guaranteed.

Marvin Jones
Jacksonville Jaguars 2021
Two years, $12.5 million

A slightly higher average value, Jones was 31 when he signed.

Contract projection

If Sanders wants to keep playing, the $6 million range is where I expect him to land. Buffalo may be able to sign him up for a smaller contract with incentives built in to make one more run at a championship, but there aren’t really models for that and if I’m Sanders looking at Gabe Davis, I don’t want to sign up for those incentives anyway.

In 2021, the Bills gave him a $2.75 million signing bonus and added a void year, so half of that signing bonus is hitting the cap in 2022. That will impact the Bills either way, but general manager Brandon Beane does not like pushing cap hits like that. I doubt he would do it again.

One year, $6.1 million
$6 million guaranteed

If the Bills were to re-sign him, I’d expect a similar deal to the one he signed before. Beane likes to be able to add in per-game active roster bonuses, which could be a way to keep the cap number low, as Sanders missed several games in 2021.

Ultimately, I don’t think the marriage makes financial sense in 2022. Sanders will want guaranteed money and the Bills should be looking at Davis to be a cost-controlled option instead. Unless he takes a well-below-market deal, it looks like a one-year relationship.

One year, $3 million
$3 million in playing time and receptions incentives

Odell Beckham Jr. had $3 million worth on incentives built into his contract with the Los Angeles Rams so it’s doable, but I feel like Sanders has proven himself more than OBJ. Beckham received $500,000 for the Rams winning the Super Bowl.

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