Indications point toward the Patriots trying to get younger at the safety position in time for next season. However, that word was passed along before Friday, when the Colts surprisingly cut ties with Bob Sanders.
Sanders, the 2007 Defensive Player of the Year, is a playmaking strong safety who has earned mixed reviews on his skill set. Some believe he's a dynamite player, but others think he's wildly overrated.
What's not debatable is Sanders' injury history. He's played in just 48 games while missing 64 during his seven-year career, which means he has missed 57.1 percent of the Colts' games since 2004. Sanders has played more than six games in a season just twice, and his list of injuries includes knee, foot, elbow and biceps issues.
When healthy, Sanders, who turns 30 next week, has been a valuable player, but his body has been made out of paper mache, particularly during the last three seasons, when he has missed 39 of the team's 48 games. In that regard, it's hardly worth the headache, even if he's available for a low-money, incentive-laden deal.
The Patriots have also re-signed Bret Lockett (24 years old), and they've got Sergio Brown (turns 23 in May) and Josh Barrett (26) on the back end of the depth chart, which includes Patrick Chung (turns 24 in August), Brandon Meriweather (27) and James Sanders (27).
It's possible the Patriots could part ways with James Sanders, whose salary is worth $2.8 million in 2011, or even Meriweather, whose last year under contract is worth a very reasonable $650,000.
At any rate, the Patriots are pretty young at safety, but it's apparent they're interested in developing Brown, Lockett and Barrett as players who could be more than just special teams contributors.
Bob Sanders would add a big name to the Patriots' secondary, and he could be had on the cheap, especially considering the high ceiling on his potential. But there's no reason to think Sanders is suddenly going to get healthier on the wrong side of 30, and that question mark probably wouldn't make much sense for a New England team that has been driven by the idea of staying young at safety.
Should the Patriots try to sign Bob Sanders? Leave your thoughts below.
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