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Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Steelers' Sanders signs offer sheet

By Adam Schefter
ESPN

The New England Patriots on Wednesday signed Pittsburgh Steelers restricted free-agent wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders to an offer sheet, a league source said.

The source said the offer sheet is a one-year, $2.5 million deal. The Steelers have five days -- until the end of Sunday -- to decide whether to match the offer or let Sanders go to the Patriots and receive a third-round draft choice from New England in return. 

The Steelers are not expected to make a decision until Sunday.

The Patriots also Wednesday reached agreement on a one-year deal to re-sign wide receiver Julian Edelman, a league source confirmed to ESPNBoston.com.

The money in Sanders' offer sheet won't scare Pittsburgh, sources said. But Sanders can leave in a year as an unrestricted free agent. Instead of risking losing him with no compensation after the 2012 season, the Steelers could opt to take New England's third-round pick now.

Sanders, 26, is a quick, athletic receiver who caught a career-high 44 passes in 2012, doubling his production from the previous season.

He received an original-round tender from the Steelers only because of the team's salary-cap restraints this offseason.

Sanders was expected to replace Mike Wallace, who signed with the Miami Dolphins this offseason, in the starting lineup opposite Antonio Brown.

The only Steelers wide receivers with any experience right now are Brown, Jerricho Cotchery, Plaxico Burress and David Gilreath.

The Patriots have a need at receiver after losing Wes Welker in free agency to the Denver Broncos and releasing Brandon Lloyd.

Besides re-signing Edelman, the Patriots have added receivers Danny AmendolaMichael Jenkins and Donald Jones so far in free agency.

Edelman, 26, played in nine games during the 2012 season, finishing with 21 catches for 235 yards and three touchdowns.

He finished the year on injured reserve after suffering a broken foot in a Week 13 matchup against the Dolphins.

The former college quarterback has been a valuable contributor for the Patriots in four seasons with the team, playing receiver, defensive back and serving as a core special teams player and punt returner. 

Information from ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss and Field Yates, AFC North blogger Jamison Hensley and AFC East blogger James Walker was used in this report.