Buffalo Bills: Ranking the 5 best free agent signings of 2021

Matt Milano, Buffalo Bills (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
Matt Milano, Buffalo Bills (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) /
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Buffalo Bills
DETROIT, MI – OCTOBER 04: Emmanuel Sanders #17 of the New Orleans Saints makes a catch and runs the ball in the fourth quarter of the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on October 4, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /

Emmanual Sanders

During the 2020 season, the Buffalo Bills had one of the league’s most elusive receiving cores. With Stefon Diggs, John Brown, Cole Beasley and Gabriel Davis all having their own unique abilities to get open and create space, there was not much more the team could have wanted to get out of a core that was once headlined by Kelvin Benjamin.

Now, the team looks to see what life is like after John Brown as he was not one of the pieces Beane had in mind to re-sign. Instead, he opted to sign former Saints’ receiver, Emmanual Sanders to a one-year, $6M contract. Sanders and Brown both share the same archetype when it comes to the wide receiver position. This ensures that Buffalo did not downgrade from Brown, but it will be proven when the team hits the field if they upgraded. Where Brown’s edge over Sanders is speed, Sander’s possesses elite-level route-running that will cause nightmares for defenses when on the field alongside Diggs.

Last season with the Saints, Sanders worked in a larger capacity due to the absence of Michael Thomas. In recording 726 yards on 61 receptions for five touchdowns, Sanders showed that he still has a lot left to offer as his numbers were not too shy from his 2016 Pro Bowl season with the Denver Broncos where he recorded 79 receptions for 1,032 yards and five touchdowns.

One area that Brown has a clear-cut edge over Sanders in is age. At 34, Sanders has shown that he can still play at a high level, but at 31, John Brown would have been a relatively more youthful signing. All things considered,  It is unlikely that Sanders will have another season as a workhorse receiver while Stefon Diggs on the field, though his addition to the core certainly brings a new dynamic to the offense.