The second of our previews of the free agents in the defensive backfield highlights the safetyposition. This year’s safety class is a little underwhelming in my opinion. The interesting bit about that is that in years when an area of free agency isn’t particularly bright is usually when you get a diamond in the rough come out and surprise us by getting signed for a cheap deal and promptly outperforming his contract. I’ll mention one player who I believe will do this in my notes. Speaking of which…
1. Dashon Goldson – 49ers
Goldson was an integral part of the 49ers defense in 2011 as he not only hauled in a few interceptions but also showed off his abilities to cover his corners and be the backfield general. He and cornerback Carlos Rogers will be fighting for money this offseason and Goldson wins this battle hands down. The real question is whether or not a deal can be done before the 49ers are forced to put the franchise tag on him because if they decide to do that they may well leave him under it and work on his contract during the year as they continue to monitor his growth.
Possible landing spots: SF
2. LaRon Landry – Redskins
We haven’t heard alot of positives from the Redskins about Landry lately. He’s refused to have surgery that the team wants on injuries that kept him out of 2011. It is because of this that many believe Washington are putting the franchise tag on Fred Davis instead of Landry. However, Landry strongly desires to remain with the team and has been pleading his case of late saying that he is using an alternative to surgery that is far less invasive and will help him rehab faster and better. This may be too little too late as while Landry is possibly the most talented safety in the free agent class there isn’t much buzz about him in the market with teams reluctant to pay big money to an injured player who refuses team orders. In the end, the best offer Landry gets will probably be from Washington. It just won’t be a very good offer.
Possible landing spots: WAS, DAL, NE, NYJ, OAK, CHI
3. Tyvon Branch – Raiders
Branch is a tough nut who is always active in blitz packages. He’s not what you’d call a finesse player but tackles well and plays his role. Unfortunately he’s not a very good cover guy and makes bad decisions in the backfield at times. It’s understood the Raiders want him back badly and may put the franchise tag on him which would cost a pretty reasonable $6 million. It is unlikely he changes teams.
Possible landing spots: OAK
Watch out for – Thomas DeCoud, Jim Leonhard, Jordan Babineaux, James Ihedigbo, Michael Griffin