Multiple sources told FOXSports.com that there is virtually no chance Sanu will re-sign with the Bengals. Sanu will instead pursue opportunities elsewhere when the free-agent signing period begins March 9...
Cleveland, Atlanta and the New York Giants are among the teams expected to express interest in signing Sanu, who has spent all four of his NFL seasons with the Bengals after being a 2012 third-round pick out of Rutgers. Sanu posted modest receiving totals last season with 33 catches for 394 yards as his role in the offense diminished with the return of wide receiver Marvin Jones and tight end Tyler Eifert from injuries that sidelined them in 2014.
It's not exactly the most encouraging thing for Bengals fans who love what Sanu brings to the table, but it is also true that many free agents like Sanu don't delve into serious contract talks until the free agency period has started.
Sanu has a bit more leverage with the Bengals than most No. 3 receivers have with their teams. As Marvez and Savage note in the interview, he is a "60, 70, maybe even 80 catch guy on another team", despite his lack of opportunities with the Bengals due to their depth at receiver and strong run game.
A lack of touches could keep Sanu from re-signing with the Bengals if he wants a bigger opportunity elsewhere. As he notes in the interview, "When you've got so much talent on one team, it's hard to get the ball to... so many talented guys. So, yeah, [going elsewhere] definitely crossed my mind."
With so many weapons on the offense, it is true that guys like Sanu get their number of touches reduced in favor of other talented and productive players like A.J. Green, Tyler Eifert, Marvin Jones, Jeremy Hill, and Giovani Bernard. As much as the Bengals and their fans would love to have someone as talented as Sanu playing the No. 3 receiver role, there's no getting around the fact that he's capable of more.
There's plenty of other teams out there that have salary cap room and could use a serious upgrade at one of the top receiver positions. For example, the Browns, Raiders, Jaguars, Giants, and 49ers are all teams with top ten salary cap space and more disposable money than the Bengals that would be able to offer. They all can also offer a significantly increased role than what the Bengals can offer. Yesterday, it was reported the Giants are interested in Sanu.
"We just gotta see how everything unfolds," Sanu said about his future with the Bengals.
Sanu is probably going to be looking at a deal netting between $2.5 million and $6 million per year in free agency. This estimate could even be on the conservative side, given what Andrew Hawkins received with the Browns. Will the Bengals be willing to pay him that kind of money to continue being the third option at wide receiver? It seems unlikely, but crazier things have happened.