Yesterday, the Indianapolis Colts signed pro bowl safety LaRon Landry to replace Tom Zbikowski's spot in the starting lineup. Turns out Zbikowski won't have a spot anywhere on the Colts. Today the club announced that they released Zbikowski, who started 11 games for the Colts last year, recording 38 tackles, 1 sack, 5 passes defensed, and 1 interception.
Zbikowski has been heavily criticized among fans and media alike for his play last year, which was admittedly very bad. At the same time, however, I am in the minority that thinks his poor play was over exaggerated and that he is a good option for a backup or spot starter at safety. That is the role I, and many others, assumed he would take this year, while helping out on special teams.
I guess not.
What made the move even more surprising was that just a few hours prior to the release, head coach Chuck Pagano had said in his press conference that he felt very good about the safety position, and even mentioned Zbikowski by name. The move does save the Colts roughly $1.2 million in cap room.
The starters at safety are locked in, with Antoine Bethea and LaRon Landry, both of whom are pro bowl players. Joe Lefeged also had a nice season last year for Indy and he looks to be the third best safety on the roster. At the same time, the Colts very well could add another backup safety, albeit for a much lower cap hit than Zbikowski's would have been.
The question now is: was this move purely because the Colts no longer needed Tom Zbikowski or was it also because they needed to clear up some cap room for another player they are targeting?