There was widespread speculation that Sanders' retirement was a calculated move on his behalf to orchestrate a trade to a more legitimate contender.
The Green Bay Packers
and Miami Dolphins
were both considered among the front runners in the negotiations. Sanders and Dolphin quarterback Dan Marino
both expressed a private interest in finishing their careers together (Marino never had the benefit of a premier running back behind him) and try to win a Super Bowl. However, Detroit was either unable to find an attractive enough offer, or unwilling to negotiate altogether with other teams. It had been a long standing practice for the Detroit Lions to not accommodate players' requests for trades.