Should The Philadelphia Eagles Pursue Bob Sanders?

Jason KarlAnalyst IIIFebruary 18, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS - NOVEMBER 01:  Bob Sanders #21 of the Indianapolis Colts moves on the field during the NFL game against the San Francisco 49ers at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 1, 2009 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Bob Sanders, the star strong safety, was released today by the Indianapolis Colts, a move that has not surprised anyone.

When healthy, Sanders is arguably a top 3 safety in the league. While only being 5'8, Sanders overcomes his small physique, with his incredible passion and skills for the game.

Sanders is intimidating in the run game and can come in from 10 yards deep and record a tackle behind the line of scrimmage.

In the passing game, Sanders is known to have incredible range, being able to cover the entire field.

In the 2007 season with the Colts, he won Defensive Player of the Year, and was as important to that defense as Troy Polamalu is to the Steelers.

The Eagles currently have two first year pro's at safety under contract: free safety Nate Allen and strong safety Kurt Coleman.

Last year's strong safety Quintin Mikell is a free agent, and if the Eagles just offer him a one year contract, which they are expected to do, Mikell may feel disrespected, like Brian Dawkins a couple of years ago, and sign with another team. Mikell is 30 years old and the Eagles usually do not feel comfortable giving out contracts to players in decline.

While Kurt Coleman is a solid player, he will never "wow" you over with his talent. He would fit as a third safety and special team's ace for the Eagles.

The Eagles front office is not scared to give out contracts to injury prone players, especially last year with Marlin Jackson, and the previous year with Stacy Andrews.

Sanders had 373 tackles, 3½ sacks, two forced fumbles, three recoveries and six interceptions in seven NFL seasons.

My take:

Sanders, if healthy, would give the Eagles a great safety tandem with Nate Allen. Both complement each others skill sets well, and the Eagles could possibly get an elite defensive player.

The downside of course is that Sanders has played in only nine games the past three seasons. I do not think the Eagles will go into next season anticipating that Sanders stays healthy for the 16 game season. In his career, Sanders has averaged 7 games per season.

Though Sanders is more talented than Quintin Mikell, most would rather take consistency and healthiness over the immense talent.

If the Eagles re-sign Mikell, will Sanders want to come here? Probably not, especially since teams will offer him a starting job.

Look for the Eagles to take a pass on Sanders unless he wants to sign cheap on a one year deal, and prepare to earn the starting job, not be handed it.