A weird drum beat has emerged among Colts fans. Many people have begun to question whether or not Bob Sanders is worth the money. It was started by Kravitz last year and was recently echoed by BBS before being repeated today in Mike Chappell's "Ask the Experts" mailbag.
Let's stop the discussion right now.
Regardless of what you think about Bob Sanders, the entire debate is ignorant for reasons that have nothing to do with whether or not Sanders steps on the field.
According to Coltscap.net (I'm adjusting the numbers because the Colts reworked his deal which isn't reflected in the Coltscap page), Bob Sanders is slated to make $2.27 million in salary next year. In addition, his total cap hit is $4.1 million. Sanders still has at least $5.5 million in outstanding bonuses, by my count. Again, the numbers are rough because the page hasn't been updated since the renegotiation.
There are multiple problems with cutting Sanders:
1. Let's assume the old school rules were in effect, which they aren't. Under the old rules, the team could cut Sanders, save his salary and split his outstanding bonuses over two seasons. So, they could cut him, and take a $2.75 million cap hit. Cutting Bob Sanders would only save about $1.4 million under that scenario. The chance to have Sanders even for a handful of games is worth $1.4 million. There's no way the Colts would cut him just to save $1.4 million. Who would want that?
2. Let's assume the 2009 rules somehow applied to the 2010 season, which they don't. In that case, the Colts would have to absorb the full hit of Sanders' contract immediately. They'd save $2.27 million (his salary), but have to eat a $5.5 million cap hit. Keeping him will only cost $4.1 million. Here's the kicker: it would cost more to cut him than keep him. Cutting Bob Sanders wouldn't save the Colts cap space, it would cost them cap space.
3. None of it matters anyway, because 2010 is an uncapped year. There's no reason to save cap space. THERE IS NO CAP IN 2010. Everyone's worried about resigning Bethea, but under the rules, he won't actually be an unrestricted free agent until 2012. Guys have to wait 6 years instead of 4 to get unrestricted free agency. Bethea and Marlin Jackson will be restricted rights FAs, and the Colts won't have to worry about losing him without compensation. Beyond that, teams get both a transition AND a franchise tag (or two transition tags). Beyond that, assuming the Colts have a good year this year, they likely won't be eligible to sign free agents anyway, so no one can argue that cutting Sanders would allow the Colts to sign someone else.
Now, I believe that for football reasons alone, cutting Bob Sanders would be a mistake. That point isn't worth arguing because financially, there is no way the Colts will cut Sanders. Even if there were to miraculously be a cap in 2010, there's no way of predicting what the rules for it would be, and most likely they wouldn't result in significant savings to the team for cutting Sanders.
So, the next time someone floats the idea of cutting Bob Sanders, tell them to stop it. He doesn't make that much money comparitively. Next season he won't be among 5 highest paid Colts.
He's not going anywhere.