ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Emmanuel Sanders arrived in what he called “wide receiver heaven” in 2014 and with Peyton Manning throwing him passes, he certainly found bliss in Denver, where he became a champion and a bona fide NFL star.

On Tuesday, he escaped what had become wide receiver purgatory when the Broncos (2-5) traded him to the unbeaten San Francisco 49ers (6-0), where he’ll catch passes from rising star Jimmy Garoppolo and play at Levi’s Stadium, site of the Broncos’ Super Bowl triumph over the Carolina Panthers.

“It’s hard. Anytime you break or you leave a place, it’s tough,” Sanders said as he left Broncos headquarters while his ex-teammates practiced behind him. “We definitely had a great run out here in Denver. I had a lot of great times. Obviously, all good things come to an end. Looking forward to getting out to San Fran and showcasing my talent, meeting the guys, hopefully add my explosiveness, my capabilities to their system and trying to win.”

The 32-year-old veteran may have found another utopia in the Bay Area.

“Yeah, we kind of run a similar offense. Just talking to Rich (Scangarello), he was pretty much telling me it’s the same offense — different concepts, but I’ll be able to pick it up easy. Waiting on them to call me right now, see when I’m going to get out there and get my physical and get acclimated with the system,” Sanders said.

Along with Sanders, the Broncos sent a fifth-round pick in next year’s draft to the 49ers in exchange for third- and fourth-round picks in 2020, a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because the teams hadn’t announced the trade.

Sanders caught 30 passes for 367 yards and two touchdowns this season as he made a successful return from surgery on both ankles. He quickly found a rapport with new quarterback Joe Flacco, who followed Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch, Brock Osweiler and Case Keenum in the years after Manning retired.

PATRIOTS: According to reports, New England has signed two-time All-Pro selection Justin Bethel.

Bethel, a cornerback and special teams standout, visited the Patriots on Tuesday, one day after he was released by the Ravens. The team said the reason for Bethel’s release was to ensure it received a fourth-round compensatory draft choice next spring.

Ravens Coach John Harbaugh said he believes Bethel is the best special teams player in the league. He’s been named to two All-Pro teams and three Pro Bowls.

SEAHAWKS: Seattle has acquired Quandre Diggs from Detroit to address its depth concerns in the defensive backfield, according to reports, for a fifth-round pick in 2020.

JAGUARS: Jacksonville signed former Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith to help fill holes at linebacker. Smith played 12 games for San Francisco last season. He’s best known for his MVP performance in the 2014 Super Bowl, when he had 10 tackles and returned an interception 69 yards for a touchdown in Seattle’s 43-8 win over Denver.

The Jaguars (3-4) also re-signed linebacker Donald Payne on Tuesday. To make room for Smith and Payne, Jacksonville placed tight end Geoff Swaim (concussion/ankle) and linebacker D.J. Alexander (foot) on injured reserve. The Jags also could be without linebackers Najee Goode (turf toe) and Leon Jacobs (hamstring) on Sunday against the New York Jets (1-5). Rookie linebacker Quincy Williams also is dealing with a hamstring injury.

GIANTS: New York Giants signed veteran linebacker Deone Bucannon, waived linebacker Tuzar Skipper, signed linebacker Devante Downs from the practice squad and waived tight end Garrett Dickerson.

JETS: The New York Jets are disappointed and angry quarterback Sam Darnold’s comment about him “seeing ghosts” made it on air during “Monday Night Football.”

Darnold was wearing a microphone for ESPN’s broadcast of New York’s 33-0 loss to New England. After the third of his five turnovers in the game, the Jets’ frustrated quarterback was sitting on the sideline in the second quarter when he made his comment that quickly went viral on social media after it aired.

“That was one of those things that was really disappointing to hear about after the game,” Coach Adam Gase said Tuesday. “I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that where somebody that was mic’d up, that a comment like that was allowed to be aired. It bothers me. It bothers the organization.”

Gase added that the Jets will be “looking hard into our cooperation” with the networks going forward. Select players are mic’d up during prime-time games and NFL Films has a representative listening on site. The representative then will approve the comments to air.

“You’re never anticipating something like that happening,” Gase said. “The fact that it did just gives us pause to really cooperate anymore because I don’t know how we would allow our franchise quarterback to be put out there like that.”

WILLIE BROWN: Hall of Fame cornerback Willie Brown, who provided the iconic play of the Oakland Raiders’ first Super Bowl title, died on Tuesday. He was 78.

The Raiders and Pro Football Hall of Fame announced Brown’s death but did not reveal a cause. He had been dealing with cancer.

Al Davis acquired Brown for the Raiders in a trade from Denver in 1967 in one of the best moves he made during his Hall of Fame career running the Raiders. Brown went on to have a brilliant career over 12 years with Oakland, highlighted by his 75-yard interception return for a touchdown against Minnesota that helped the Raiders win their first Super Bowl following the 1976 season.

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