The Patriots have submitted a one-year offer sheet to restricted free agent Emmanuel Sanders, who was tendered at the third-round level ($1.33 million) earlier this offseason by the Steelers, ESPN's NFL Insider Adam Schefter reported.
The Steelers, who are currently short on salary cap space, have five days to match the offer. If they opt not to match the offer, the Patriots will send their third round pick in this year's draft to the Steelers as compensation.
Sanders, 26, finished with career highs in both catches (44) and yards (626) last season, his third in the NFL.
Originally a 2010 third-round pick out of SMU, Sanders would add depth to a Patriots receiving core that has turned over this offseason. Former Patriots personnel man Scott Pioli told ESPNBoston.com that he believes Sanders is a better receiver than any player that would be available for the Patriots in the third round in this year's draft and that he has the skills to play both as a slot and perimeter receiver.