When Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay tweeted earlier today that Bob Sanders had been released from the team, it took me about five seconds to send the message to my followers that I want the former Iowa star in orange and blue.
Sanders was released from the Indianapolis Colts because over the next two years, he would have been due upwards of 13 million dollars in his base salary and offseason workout incentives, so it's no question the Colts got out of that deal before it cost them even more money.
The 2007 Defensive Player of the Year has only played in nine games over the last three seasons, and obviously is one of the more injury prone stars in the NFL today. In fact, you would hardly know the guy was even in the league anymore based on the last three years.
But that doesn't mean that when he's right he's no longer one of the best safeties in the game, and I think the Denver Broncos would be wise to add a guy like Sanders to the defensive backfield as they transition into their impending youth movement.First and foremost, the Broncos lack overall talent at the safety position. Sanders is not going to demand a top tier contract like he did a couple of years ago, and the Broncos could very easily be looking to cut bait with guys like Renaldo Hill and Brian Dawkins and start fresh at the position. Yes, having Sanders and Darcel McBath as the primary safeties going into the 2011 season wouldn't exactly inspire confidence, but that's what the draft is for.
I think a fair offer for Sanders would be to simply guarantee him a job in 2011 and have a contract based on playing time and incentives, a three year deal that would max out at $15 million. Sanders was due $5.5 million in 2011 with the Colts, so I think it would be fair for his next team to guarantee him close to that for year one at least, and then make the rest incentive based.
To me, the reward far outweighs the risk. This is where many will agree with me. You might think spending precious free agent dollars would not be well spent on the soon to be 30 year old Sanders, and you may be right. However, think about the Broncos' situation right now.
Sanders' style of play is what gets him hurt, there's no denying it. Physically, he's about as fit as any player you will find in the NFL, but his reckless style of play oftentimes results in him getting hurt. This is a team that is going to be relying a lot on the front four to apply pressure on opposing quarterbacks, and in John Fox's style of defense, an attacking, hard-hitting safety is just what the doctor ordered.
Perhaps Sanders can rejuvinate his career for the Broncos.
I am not suggesting the Broncos break the bank for Sanders, but it would be a great first move for this organization to let the fans know what syle of football we can expect. Even if Sanders only plays half a season next year, it would be well worth it. This is a guy who is one of the best players in the league, not just safeties, when he's healthy.
The problem is, lately, he's rarely anywhere but the training room.
Maybe it would be the change in colors, change in altitude, change of scenery, or what have you. Whatever it might take, I hope the Broncos at least try and make a move on Sanders, who is free to sign with any team even if there is no CBA. If a CBA is not going to be agreed upon anytime soon, the Broncos might need to look to guys like Sanders to fill some of their needs so they can use draft picks on other positions.
To me, this is a move the Broncos should make. Not to mention, I think they should also look to former St. Louis Rams safety O.J. Atogwe as another option in the defensive backfield. Both guys are entering the prime of their career. A safety group featuring Dawkins, Sanders, Atogwe, McBath, and Bruton would help me rest a little easier at night. That is a group with a ton of talent, and some serious leadership.
Good things come at a cost. Why not start by taking a chance on Bob Sanders?