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While Cowboys Mull Safety Options, Redskins Sign Atogwe And Chargers Sign Sanders

Exactly two weeks ago, the Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay tweeted that the Colts released the oft-injured Bob Sanders. On the same day, O.J. Atogwe was released by the St. Louis Rams

According to the Ranch Report, both players were of some interest to the Cowboys and their names had been discussed inside Valley Ranch. Apparently that discussion did not lead to a lot of interest, because yesterday, both safeties signed new contracts with other teams.

Adam Shefter reports that Sanders is staying in the AFC and will sign a one-year deal with the San Diego Chargers. Reports that Bob Sanders broke his hand signing the contract and is out for season were immediately dispelled, but his injury history is the reason the deal is for only one year. Atogwe meanwhile signed a five-year deal worth $26 million with the Redskins, where he rejoins DC Jim Haslett, for whom he played from 06-08.

After the break we look at some of the better safeties remaining in the free agent pool this year.

In the meantime, the Cowboys are allowing Gerald Sensabaugh to test free agency waters, and appear to be biding their time before trying to plug the hole at safety either through the draft or free agency, once that resumes. There still are a number of interesting free agents out there, and Atogwe's $5.2 million per year sets a price that appears quite reasonable, given that he has notched the third most turnovers among NFL defensive backs over the last five years. But then again, Atogwe only has five interceptions in the last two years, just as much as Sensabaugh had last year.

The list of free agent safeties remains long:

  • Quintin Mikell (Eagles) Hasn't received an offer from the Eagles yet, and the 30-year old free agent strong safety is unsure whether he'll return to the Eagles next year.
  • Michael Huff (Raiders) has indicated that he'd like to re-sign with Oakland, but has not received an offer yet. The Texas native could follow the Atogwe model and reunite with his former defensive coordinator in Dallas.
  • Eric Weddle (Chargers) is considered one of the biggest Pro Bowl snubs of 2010. He isn't going to be affected by the Sanders signing, as Weddle is a free safety and Sanders will play SS. The Chargers would like him back, but Weddle wants to be paid well, and puts the chances of a re-signing at 50/50.
  • Danieal Manning (Bears) rejected a three-year extension offer from the Bears during the season. The deal would have been for $6 million, with $2 million guaranteed. Jerry would easily pay him more than that.
  • Dawan Landry (Ravens), the older brother of Redskins safety LaRon Landry, was assigned a restricted free agency tender by the Ravens, but once a CBA is signed, RFA tenders for fifth- and sixth-year players are likely going to be meaningless. Landry is such a fifth-year player.
  • Brodney Pool (Jets) didn't allow a single TD reception last year (vs. a league high seven for Alan Ball). The Jets don't want to spend big for a safety, so he's a guy who could be enticed to come to Dallas. He does have an injury history with concussions, but reuniting him with former DC Rob Ryan in his home state of Texas might be just the ticket for Pool.

These are just some of the free agent safeties available who graded out well according to Pro Football Focus. If you could choose any one of these free agent safeties, which one would it be, or would you pick someone else altogether?

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