The Colts' decision to release former NFL Defensive MVP Bob Sanders on Feb. 18 came as little surprise to our sources in Indy. Since signing his extension in 2007, Sanders banked $25 million while appearing in a total of nine games. His 2011 salary of $5.5 million, which increased to $7 million in 2012, was far too difficult of a pill to swallow for the club given Sanders' propensity for injury. Team president Bill Polian would not completely rule out the possibility of bringing Sanders back saying, "I don't know if I would characterize it as a chance. But we would certainly be more than willing to talk to him. And it would be nice to have him back."
Whether or not Sanders is in the mix next season, an even greater emphasis now exists to re-sign potential free agent S Melvin Bullitt.
Bullitt, who started 21 games in place of Sanders in 2008 and '09 before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury in Week Four this past season, is not the physical presence that Sanders is. But he is fast and instinctive, and paired with FS Antoine Bethea, gives the Colts a talented and fully capable safety tandem.
In addition to re-signing Bullitt, the Colts will need to add depth to the position. Aaron Francisco, another potential free agent, played very well in a pinch last season and should be an affordable option. Indianapolis is also likely to retain S Jamie Silva — a special-teams standout who spent the entire '10 season on injured reserve with a torn ACL.
And while there is a greater need to fortify both lines, the Colts could look to the draft to add a safety. But that move likely would not come until at least the second day, as we're hearing this year's safety crop lacks top talent.