Steelers WR Sanders could be headed to New England


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The Steelers' once-promising situation at wide receiver could be falling apart faster than they imagined.

Three days after top receiver Mike Wallace signed a $60 million contract with the Miami Dolphins, No. 3 receiver Emmanuel Sanders has signed an offer sheet with the New England Patriots that will force the Steelers to match the offer or let him go, too.

Meantime, the three free agents who met with the Steelers Friday -- running back Beanie Wells (Arizona), linebacker Victor Butler (Dallas) and tight end Kellen Davis (Chicago) -- left the South Side facility without any contract discussion.

But the Steelers will bring in one of their former players, tight end Matt Spaeth, on Monday with the intention of signing him to a contract. Spaeth, 29, was their third-round draft choice in 2007 and has spent the past two seasons with the Chicago Bears.

Sanders is a restricted free agent who received a $1,323,000 tender from the Steelers. That means if they decline to match the offer he received from the Patriots, the Steelers would receive a third-round choice in this year's draft in return from the Patriots.

If Sanders leaves, the Steelers would have only three wide receivers on their roster -- Antonio Brown, Jerricho Cotchery and Plaxico Burress.

That would almost force them to sign a wide receiver in free agency and increase the chance they would take a receiver in one of the first two rounds of the draft.

One of the receivers they might be interested in is former New York Giant Domenik Hixon, who has 13 starts in a six-year career with the Giants and Denver Broncos.

Former Steelers guard Willie Colon, who was released Wednesday, didn't take long to find employment. He signed a one-year deal with the New York Jets for a reported $1.2 million.

Steelers - mobilehome

Gerry Dulac: gdulac@post-gazette.com and Twitter @gerrydulac. First Published March 16, 2013 4:00 AM


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