NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday morning the Patriots submitted an offer sheet for Sanders, according to a source informed of the move. It's a one-year contract. The Patriots would have to send a third-round pick to Pittsburgh in exchange for Sanders if the Steelers were unable to match the offer.
» The Steelers do not have much salary-cap room. The Patriots can make it very difficult -- or nearly impossible -- for the Steelers to match the offer unless the Steelers want to release other players to fit Sanders under the cap. Another option, according to Rapoport: Restructuring Troy Polamalu's contract, which would push dead money into the future.
» The fact it would be a one-year contract is surprising, but perhaps the Patriots believe that will make it more difficult for their AFC rivals to match. The Patriots still can work out a long-term contract for Sanders after the 2013 season. It's hard to fathom the Patriots giving up a third-round pick unless they believe Sanders is a long-term solution.
NFL free agency is under way. Follow all of the latest rumors and signings in our free-agent tracker. More...