The Chargers’ signing of oft-injured safety Bob Sanders to a one-year deal could be viewed as the ultimate risk-reward move.
If healthy, the former NFL Defensive Player of the Year has the potential to be an impact addition to San Diego’s secondary. It appears the Chargers hope to pair Sanders at strong safety alongside Eric Weddle, who received a first-round tender from the team Wednesday. But it’s no secret that Sanders, 30, has had trouble staying on the field, missing 39 games with injuries the last three seasons.
NFL Network’s Brian Baldinger doesn’t believe the combination of Sanders and Weddle would be a liability in pass coverage. He checked in with his take on the move:
“I don’t see how anybody could make a mistake with this signing. Sanders is a smart player and obviously knows how to play the game. He’s good against both the run and the pass. If the injuries haven’t completely broken him down to the point where he can’t run anymore, which I don’t think is the case, I don’t know why you wouldn’t take a shot at him.
“If the Chargers ask him to play as an in-the-box safety, make tackles like a linebacker, plus play the deep half of the field and be able to get over the top against speed receivers, Sanders can do that. He has an uncanny instinct to where the ball is going. Sanders plays with his feet in the ground, but recognizes plays very quickly and gets to the ball. Even at his size, he hits like a ton of bricks. Guys like him don’t last long in this league, but I don’t think his aggressive style will change at all. If you get eight or 10 games out of Sanders, I don’t see how this hurts the Chargers.”
While it’s not a blockbuster deal, it is an aggressive move by the Chargers — who finished 9-7 and out of the playoffs last season — in an effort to reclaim their status as a playoff team in the AFC. And with five picks in the first three rounds of the draft, the Chargers have one less hole to fill.