Bills Likely Moving on From Veteran Receiver in 2022: Insider

Emmanuel Sanders

Getty Emmanuel Sanders celebrates during a game against the Miami Dolphins.

The Buffalo Bills could have some tough decisions to make with the receiving corps this offseason, including one that might be out of their hands.

The Bills have a trio of wide receivers headed to free agency, and general manager Brandon Beane has already made it clear that the team will be limited in its moves due to tightening cap space as Josh Allen’s contract extension begins. One veteran receiver could be making the decision for them, an insider hints.

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Veteran Considering Retirement

The Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia surveyed the team’s offseason decisions at wide receiver, including some impending choices like whether to keep Isaiah McKenzie or Jake Kumerow, who are both headed to free agency. When it came to veteran Emmanuel Sanders, Buscaglia wrote that the situation is more complicated.

Sanders was a key contributor during the early part of the season, he noted, but saw his role decline as second-year wide receiver Gabriel Davis came on late in the season and during the playoffs. That leaves the impending free agent with an uncertain future with the team and with his own career, he wrote.

“In the two playoff games, with their top five receivers available, Sanders had the second-fewest snaps,” Buscaglia wrote. “And he didn’t shut down the idea of retiring after the season. If Sanders would do a low-cost, one-year deal, the Bills could bring him back, but there’s no guarantee that he’d be inclined to do that even if he wants to play another season.”

Sanders ended the season with 42 catches for 626 yards and four touchdowns, making another three catches for 52 yards in the playoffs, including his first career playoff touchdown in the team’s 47-17 win over the New England Patriots.

Buscaglia predicted that Sanders would not be back with the Bills next season, with the team instead looking to snag another receiver within the first three rounds of the NFL draft and giving practice-squad wideout Isaiah Hodgins a chance.

Sanders Could Retire

As Buscaglia hinted, Sanders may decide not to come back to the NFL at all next season. Throughout the year he spoke about retirement, including back in September when Sanders said he wanted to win one more Super Bowl and then ride off into the sunset.

“I don’t care about stats. I’ve done it all, dude. What have I not done in this league? … I just wanna win,” Sanders said. “Get in the playoffs, win. Get to the Super Bowl, win. And then, I’m just gonna chuck my two fingers up. Man, I’m gone. I’m gonna be on the beach somewhere while y’all are sitting out in the cold weather next year.”

The idea of retirement has stuck with Sanders, even though Buffalo’s season ended in heartbreaking fashion three wins short of a Super Bowl title. Speaking to Colin Cowherd, Sanders said he needs to think seriously about his future in the NFL and decide whether he wants to give it one more go in 2022.

“I’ve got my son, he’s getting older. I’ve got a daughter getting older. And for the past three years, [I’ve] been traveling and moving from team to team, trying to win a Super Bowl,” he said, via “But I’ve got some reflecting I want to do and possibly retire. I don’t know yet. I’m just feeling it out.”

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