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Report: Emmanuel Sanders released by Saints

The New Orleans Saints are moving on from WR Emmanuel Sanders as they look to clear cap space.

Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders #17 of the New Orleans Saints is tackled by linebacker Shaq Thompson #54 of the Carolina Panthers during the second quarter of their game at Bank of America Stadium on January 03, 2021 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints face a mountain of contract money they need to clear to get under the salary cap, and on March 10 they made an expected move. The team released wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders to clear $6 million in cap space. They remain $31 million over the cap, per Over The Cap, but they’re quickly working their way down.

Sanders joined the Saints in 2020 when he signed a two-year $16 million deal. He had spent the previous year with the San Francisco 49ers after a midseason trade from the Denver Broncos. In 14 games with the Saints last season, he caught 61 passes for 726 yards and five touchdowns. The numbers were somewhat notable because he missed some time due to COVID-19. While he is not a No. 1 receiver, he remains a solid producer someone will sign for 2021.

Fantasy fallout

Sanders ranked 44th in fantasy points per game. He was the Saints top receiver in terms of total numbers due to Michael Thomas dealing with injuries much of the season. Running back Alvin Kamara was the top pass catcher on the team, followed by Sanders, tight end Jared Cook, and wide receiver Tre’Quan Smith.

The Saints’ QB situation remains unclear with Drew Brees not yet retired. Whether or not he retires, the team will likely invest more in the receiver position. Thomas will remain the top option, but look for an investment in a clear No. 2.