If Emmanuel Sanders wants to return home, he’ll need to put his money where his mouth is. And then eat it.
Updating a previous report which claimed the Dallas Cowboys and the free-agent wide receiver share mutual interest, ESPN’s Todd Archer would now be “stunned” if the marriage materialized, “unless he would take substantially less than what we all think he will get paid. Substantially less.”
He cautioned, after purportedly speaking with Cowboys officials: “Don’t get hopes up.”
NFL Network’s Jane Slater reported Wednesday that Dallas has expressed intrigue in signing the former Pro Bowl pass-catcher, a Texas native and SMU alumnus who regularly trains in the Lone Star State — and who’s “equally interested” in the Cowboys.
Sanders recently completed a stint with the San Francisco 49ers, catching 36 passes for 502 yards and three touchdowns across 10 games (nine starts) for the reigning NFC champs. He logged 38 receiving yards in San Francisco’s Super Bowl loss to the Chiefs.
Although contented to bring him back, the 49ers ultimately failed to re-sign Sanders and allowed him to hit the open market, where he was greeted by a noticeable dearth of suitors.
Prior to his time in San Fran, Sanders spent six seasons with the Denver Broncos, for whom he delivered 5,361 yards and 28 scores on 404 receptions. He also earned two Pro Bowl trips (2014, 2016) and captured a championship (Super Bowl 50). Last October, Denver dealt Sanders and a fifth-round pick to the Niners for third- and fourth-round choices. He earned $5.97 million in 2019.
Entering his age-33 campaign, and less than two calendar years removed from a brutal Achilles injury, Sanders is more depth than he is a viable starting option. Fortunately for the Cowboys, that’s exactly what they’re seeking following the free-agent defection of slot weapon Randall Cobb, who inked a three-year, $27 million contract with the Houston Texans.
As it stands, Dallas is trotting out $100 million man Amari Cooper and 2019 breakout star Michael Gallup, and … that’s pretty much it. Tavon Austin is a free agent, and the team ideally won’t rely on the likes of Devin Smith, Cedrick Wilson, Ventell Bryant, and Tevin Jones. Getting franchise-tagged quarterback Dak Prescott additional weaponry is paramount, especially after losing tight end Jason Witten to the Raiders.
Sanders should end up settling for a prove-it deal if his market doesn’t begin percolating.
The Cowboys currently have $25.725 million in remaining salary cap space, according to Spotrac.com.
Follow the Heavy on Cowboys Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
Cowboys Steal Starting Safety in Free Agency
The deal, which brings together again Clinton-Dix and head coach Mike McCarthy, was confirmed by the team. According to Clarence Hill of the Dallas Morning News, it’s a one-year, $4 million agreement, with $2.5 million guaranteed.
Chosen by the Green Bay with the No. 21 overall pick of the 2014 NFL draft, Clinton-Dix is a rangy defender capable of crowding the box and roving centerfield. He made 351 combined tackles (275 solo), 25 pass breakups, 14 interceptions, and eight quarterback hits across 71 games (65 starts) in Green Bay.
The former Redskin and Bear likely steps in as an immediate starter opposite Xavier Woods for new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and assistant secondary coach Al Harris, a former Packers cornerback. Clinton-Dix replaces Jeff Heath, who defected to the Las Vegas Raiders.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL