NEW ORLEANS — The Saints waited to make their biggest splash of free agency on day three of the new league year, when they signed one of the most sought after free agent wide receivers of the spring, Emmanuel Sanders, to a two-year, $16 million deal.
"I just want to say how excited about joining the New Orleans Saints. I’ve been a fan of Sean Payton and Drew Brees for a very long time. I’ve seen them do it at a high level for a very long time and I’m excited to join (the team)", Sanders said. "Obviously, being a receiver in this offense is something special. It reminds me of 2014 when I linked up with Peyton (Manning) and we were passing the ball, slinging the ball and it was a pass happy offense. I’m excited to get back into a system like this. Hopefully do what I did in 2014 when I had one of my best years.”
During that 2014 season, Sanders' hauled in 101 receptions for 1,404 receiving yards and nine touchdowns, all delivered by the right arm of Peyton Manning. And for the two years that Sanders played with Manning, he was an extremely effective No. 2 punch to Manning's No. 1 wide receiver, Demaryius Thomas. Which is a perfect fit, because the role he needs to play is a great compliment to the Saints' current No. 1 wide receiver, Michael Thomas.
"My objective is to be the best I can possibly be, be the best player that I can possibly be and just try to win games in any way possibly, whether it’s blocking, receiving, whatever they ask me to do I’m here to do it", Sanders said. "I think ultimately the goal is to try to bring a Super Bowl to New Orleans and that’s the reason I signed that deal, because I have a great chance at winning another Super Bowl with the New Orleans Saints.”
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According to reports, Sanders deal allows him the opportunity to reach up to $19 million based on incentives, but this deal was not only about the money.
In 2015 with the Denver Broncos, and with Manning as his quarterback, Sanders was a part of a Super Bowl winning team. Then just last year, after a mid-season trade that sent him from the Broncos to the San Francisco 49ers, Sanders came one win away from winning another title.
But at 33-years-old, he wants a shot at one more, and he believes that he can earn it next year in New Orleans.
"The thing is they have a Super Bowl-winning coach, they have a Super Bowl-winning quarterback. Winning a Super Bowl is hard to do from the jump", Sanders said. "I think that what’s special about it is to attain it, it requires a special group of guys with the right DNA to do be able to do it. I think the Saints have it.
To play with Drew Brees, one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time. How could I pass up that opportunity and to play in a Sean Payton system? It’s crazy, every time I’ve played in New Orleans’ stadium, it’s always big-time, it’s always a good vibe and I just love the indoor environment, the black, the entire environment. I would be looking around and (thinking) ‘this is cool’. I’m excited about putting up a lot of points.”