The Colts finally released hard-hitting safety, Bob Sanders, after he played in just nine regular season games in the past three seasons. Sanders had signed a five-year $37.5 million deal in 2007. According to the New York Times:
Team owner Jim Irsay released the 2007 NFL defensive player of the year on Friday, announcing the decision less than 24 hours after he told reporters he would make a decision about Sanders’ future before March 3.
“We thank Bob for all his incredible contributions, from his Super Bowl interception to his defensive player of the year honor,” Irsay said in a statement.
With safety Antoine Bethea signing a four-year, $27 million contract last summer; Melvin Bullitt, Sanders’ backup, emerging as a competent starter; and the Colts still trying to sign four-time league MVP Peyton Manning to a new long-term deal, there wasn’t enough room to keep Sanders.
It’s an obvious move for the Colts who can’t afford to pay a guy who can’t stay on the field almost $8 million, especially since it’s looking like quarterback Peyton Manning may cost the team as much as $50 million over the next two seasons. Manning has been given the franchise tag for 2011, worth about $23 million. If a long term deal isn’t done, he could expect another $27 million or so in 2012.
Sanders, 30, will probably end up with another team, but perhaps not as a starter. There’s just way too much potential for injury there. He’d make a great backfield general in a nickel package. But, you never know. A team starved for veteran safety help might take the chance on Sanders becoming a starter again…for about 5 and-a-half quarters before he blows out his spleen.
[PhotoSource: University of Denver]