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Monday, March 25, 2013
April 19 the deadline on Sanders

By Field Yates

Since a visit with the Patriots shortly after the opening of free agency, we haven't heard much as it relates to Steelers restricted free agent wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders.

One of the questions that has come up regarding Sanders and the Patriots' potential interest is the deadline for the team to sign him to an offer sheet.

The answer is April 19, at which point the Steelers would have five days to match the Patriots' offer and retain Sanders or decline it and receive the Patriots' 2013 third-round draft choice.

Many have asked if the Patriots remain interested in Sanders given that no offer has been formally agreed to, but there could be an element of timing in this situation. The Steelers are in the midst of a tight financial situation, which could be one of the reasons that Sanders received an original-round tender rather than a first or second-round tender, which would have made an offer sheet less likely.

Pittsburgh has holes to fill this offseason, and the Patriots (if they are still interested in Sanders) could be waiting for the Steelers to make other roster moves, which would further limit their cap space and ability to match an offer.

So while we don't specifically know where the team stands on Sanders, we do have a timeline of when the Patriots would have to act by in order to acquire him.