WATCH: Emmanuel Sanders has the greatest reaction to bonus-clinching catch

John Sigler
·1 min read

Emmanuel Sanders may have made the most valuable catch of his life late in Week 17’s game with the Carolina Panthers. His 9-yard conversion on third down was enough to keep the drive alive (and it eventually ended in a touchdown pass to Austin Carr minute slater), but for him the bigger incentive was a $500,000 escalator written into his contract with the New Orleans Saints.

That bonus was triggered by Sanders’ catch, which was his 60th of the season. And he took a second to celebrate the achievement and the big check he’ll be cashing later, laughing along with his teammates.

While it’s great to see him reach this milestone despite a chaotic season — which included a two-week stay on the COVID-19 reserve list after Sanders caught the coronavirus — it also speaks to the strength of the Saints’ team culture that the coaching staff made an effort to get him there.

Everyone knew how important it was for him, and they could have taken a foot off the gas with the game so well in control. But instead, Sean Payton kept his starters in the game long enough for Sanders to earn some extra money. That’s the sort of thing players value, remember, and tell each other (and their friends looking for a new team in free agency).