According to NFL.com, several teams believe agent Steve Weinberg pulled a few shady moves along the recruiting trail before going to Denver and they are not happy about it. One team official said Sanders' agent broke "every rule in negotiations."
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First, the Kansas City Chiefs believed Sanders was signing with them, giving the team a verbal agreement on a deal. Then, Weinberg was accused of offering his client up to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, using the Chiefs' deal as leverage.
Later in the night, Weinberg agreed in principle with the Broncos. He also blew off a meeting with the San Francisco 49ers in the process.
Several reports suggested that the Broncos had no idea Weinberg had verbally agreed to another deal previously, but Denver still intended to sign Sanders to a three-year deal pending passing a physical. The signing became official Sunday.
Another NFL official told NFL.com, "This was one of the worst situations in modern football negotiations. Totally wrong. This needs to be stopped."
It almost was previously. Weinberg was recently reinstated by the NFL Players Association, which had barred and decertified him back in 2003 because Weinberg reportedly had diverted assets to an offshore account illegally during a dispute with a former partner of his. Weinberg in turn sued the NFLPA, claiming it illegally stripped him of certification for eight years, also seeking lost income.
Weinberg went from more than 40 clients when he was decertified to three who are currently in the NFL. He was recently reinstated, and Shutdown Corner texted four agents Sunday morning — all of whom said they were surprised that Weinberg was recertified after losing his credentials previously.
Sanders, a restriced free agent a year ago, re-signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers after the New England Patriots had signed him to an offer sheet in 2013. Sanders caught 67 passes for 760 yards and six touchdowns last season, his best in the NFL. Over his first four seasons, all with the Steelers, he caught 161 passes for 2,030 yards and 11 touchdowns.
The Broncos lost Eric Decker to the New York Jets in free agency and had been looking for a third receiver. Sanders, who is smaller and quicker than Decker, can fill that role for Peyton Manning in a different fashion than Decker did.
Technically what Weinberg did in negotiating a contract for Sanders was not illegal by NFL rules, as they had not signed a deal yet. But he broke several unwritten rules, and team officials are crying major foul.
"When a man gives you his words and pulls out," one executive told NFL.com, "then gives another team your word and pulls out, then gives another team his word ... Not proper."
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