Okay, so we have all seen the great comedy What About Bob (1991) starring Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss. But in the last few seasons, the Indianapolis Colts have their own Bob who has been absent more than present.
The seemingly unthinkable question that many Colts fans and analysts have been asking as we enter the 2009 season has started to spur my own thought process as well:
Is Sanders' contribution to the Colts worth the hype and his salary?
In his five years with the Colts, Sanders has only played in more than six regular season games twice (2005 and 2007), and even in their Super Bowl year, he only played four games during the regular season.
Drafted in 2004, the former Iowa Hawkeyes standout safety drew comparisons to the great Ronnie Lott. But after a lengthy holdout and what would be the first of many injury-riddled seasons, he would only play in six games, starting only four of those six.
His best season by far came in 2007, when he started and played in 15 games, making 96 tackles, three-and-a-half sacks, and two interceptions. The 2005 season was a similar year in which he took the field in 14 games, netting 91 tackles and one interception.
In January of 2008, Sanders inked a five-year $37.5 million contract with $20 million in guarantees, making him the highest paid safety in the NFL. In fact, he makes over $1 million more than Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu and Ravens safety Ed Reed.
There's no doubt that when on the field, Sanders' leadership, charisma, and destructive power strikes fear in the hearts of all who enter his realm.
The key word here is WHEN he is on the field.
Even the 2009 season has begun inauspiciously for Sanders and the Colts, as Bob is not likely to even cast a shadow on the field until week two or three.
So the question is: What About Bob? Is he worth the money the Colts dish out to him every season to play six games? Does his presence in those games make up for all of the games he sits on the sideline, injured?
I will tell you this, when he is in the game I am a huge Bob Sanders fan. But as much as he is injured it begs the question: is it a workout issue? Is he just injury prone?
The Colts need to make a decision, and one that I'm not even sure where I stand on. $37.5 million will—and should—buy you a lot more than six games a year in this league. Perhaps it's time for Indy to move on.
Or, perhaps, after week two or three, Sanders will prove me wrong. I certainly hope so.
What do you think?