Safety First: Should Buffalo Bills Sign Bob Sanders, O.J. Atogwe in Free Agency?

Bobby DaleContributor IIFebruary 22, 2011

JACKSONVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 22:  Defensive back Bob Sanders #21 of the Indianapolis Colts celebrates an interception against the Jacksonville Jaguars at the Jacksonville Municipal Stadium on October 22, 2007 in Jacksonville, Florida. The Colts defeated the Jags 29-7.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Due to the recent releases of star safeties Bob Sanders (formerly of the Indianapolis Colts) and O.J. Atogwe (formerly of the St. Louis Rams), and perhaps due to the Bills' void at the position (pending free agents Donte Whitner and George Wilson), there has been speculation that the Bills could make a play to bring one of them aboard.

In fact, it is a bit more than speculation, as the Bills are interested in Atogwe and also will be bringing Sanders in for a visit.

While both players could potentially help the Bills defense and possibly help dictate what the Bills decide to do in the draft, both come with question marks.

In the case of O.J. Atogwe, who has yet to make a Pro Bowl team but would command top safety money, is he really worth it? For a guy who just missed out on $8 million by being cut, he might want significantly more than the Bills could or even should pay. What he brings to the table is an average of one interception every four games (career avg.) and also the ability to make game-changing plays in run support.

Sanders, on the other hand, brings potential and slightly more experience. Some could argue that the potential is that he could potentially be healthy all season for the first time in years and that his experience is the experience of being on the IR for most of the past four seasons.

However, his potential also is reflected by his ability to take the league by storm (2007 Defensive Player of the Year) and the experience of winning a Super Bowl ring and making two Pro Bowl squads.

But the question of what the Bills should do is more important. Do they go for broke to stock their defense with a proven talent in his prime that will cost major money and sign Atogwe? Or do they bring in Sanders with an incentive-laden contract, pray for his health and well-being and hope that at 30 he has grown past his injury history?

Perhaps this is just a progressive attempt by the Bills at showing their willingness to do their due diligence and kick the tires in on any talent that hits the open market.

So should the Bills sign Sanders and re-sign Wilson to back him up? Sign Sanders and get a backup in the draft? Sign Atogwe and have less room to bring in other talent? Pass on both?

Here are some career stats for all the numbers folks.

(Stats from both and

PlayerGames Played/ StartedTacklesSacksInterceptionsFFFRTDS

Age for 2011-2012 Season

Years of Experience
Bob Sanders48/462193.56241308
Donte Whitner69/663211.55311266
O.J. Atogwe88/753395221682307
George Wilson63/261483.58242306