About six hours before the deadline to match the New England Patriots' offer to Emmanuel Sanders, the Pittsburgh Steelers have done just that.

The team on Sunday matched the one-year, $2.5 million offer sheet for the restricted free-agent wide receiver, Sanders' agent, Jordan Woy, told USA TODAY Sports in an email.

The Steelers, who later confirmed the move, retained Sanders rather than take the Patriots' third-round pick as compensation.

Pittsburgh tendered Sanders at his "original round" level (i.e. the round in which he was drafted). The tender came with a salary of $1.323 million, so the Patriots' interest helped Sanders nearly double his salary for the 2013 season.

The Steelers lost wide receiver Mike Wallace to the Miami Dolphins in free agency. That made Sanders even more valuable to the team.