Hindsight is at all times 20/20. Hindsight additionally suggests the New England Patriots might have been higher off with the *different* veteran broad receiver.
The Patriots acquired Mohamed Sanu from the Atlanta Falcons on Oct. 22 in trade for a 2020-second spherical decide. Hours later, San Francisco 49ers — who reportedly had curiosity in Sanu — “settled” for Emmanuel Sanders, sending a 2020 third-rounder and a 2020 fourth-rounder to the Denver Broncos for the 32-year-old receiver and a 2020 fifth-rounder.
Quick ahead to Dec. 10, when each receivers and their respective offenses are moving into reverse instructions. Listed here are Sanu’s stats with New England in comparison with Sanders’ stats with San Francisco, together with each groups’ information because the trades:
Sanu (3-Three with Patriots): 18 receptions, 135 yards, one TD in 5 video games performed
Sanders (5-2 with 49ers): 28 receptions, 407 yards, three TDs in seven video games performed
These stats include a caveat: Sanu suffered a excessive ankle sprain in his third sport with the Patriots that sidelined him for one sport and has restricted his effectiveness within the final two. Sanders, in the meantime, has stayed wholesome after recovering from a torn Achilles within the offseason.
However as The Athletic’s Mike Sando factors out, there’s proof to counsel Sanders would have match higher in New England even when each gamers had been wholesome.
Per Sando, Sanders has caught 67 passes of 15 yards or extra within the final 4 seasons, in comparison with Sanu’s 44. These sorts of huge performs have been comparatively uncommon in New England, the place the Patriots are tied for 13th within the NFL in passing performs of 25 yards or extra.
That is not too shocking contemplating the Patriots lack of weapons in comparison with San Francisco, which has an All-Professional tight finish in George Kittle and a speedy slot man in Deebo Samuel.
“Sanders would be the intermediate to deeper threat that they don’t have in New England right now,” an NFL evaluator informed Sando.
Patriots rookie N’Keal Harry ultimately could possibly be that deeper menace however has but to appreciate his potential. And save for a 10-catch, 81-yard effort towards the Baltimore Ravens, Sanu hasn’t been capable of get open constantly for quarterback Tom Brady.
That begs the inevitable query of whether or not Sanders — who averaged 5.9 receptions per sport final season in comparison with Sanu’s 4.1 — would have given New England’s offense an even bigger spark.
Sanu nonetheless has time to carve out an elevated position for the 10-Three Patriots down the stretch and into the playoffs. But when Sanders continues to thrive with ex-Patriots QB Jimmy Garoppolo, it will likely be price questioning “what if.”
Click here to obtain the brand new MyTeams App by NBC Sports activities! Obtain complete protection of your groups and stream the Celtics simply in your machine.