Kevin C. Cox
One of the better safeties will be off of the free agent market as the Atlanta Falcons have retained their Pro Bowl safety, William Moore. What does this mean for teams and players at that position when free agency opens next week?
Teams are starting to gear themselves up for the frenzy that will begin on Tuesday when free agency commences--the Atlanta Falcons are one of them. Per multiple reports, the team re-signed their Pro Bowl safety, William Moore to a five-year deal. According to D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Moore's salary is $6 million a year with $14 million guaranteed.
This is significant on two fronts. First, it signals that the free agent safety market is drying up a bit. With Jairus Byrd getting the franchise tag from the Bills, George Wilson signing with Tennessee Titans, and Moore's deal with the Falcons, it's leaves only a handful of good veteran options. There is Adrian Wilson, who was recently released by the Cardinals, but he is in his mid-30s. There are also a couple of younger, mid-tier guys like Louis Delmas and Glover Quin that could be available should a team want to pounce on them, and then there's the one big price-tagged Dashon Goldson.
And that segues nicely into the second significant front. Goldson will reportedly be asking (and now possibly getting) a salary of $8 million per year. Seeing as how Moore was labeled the second-best safety on the market behind Goldson, and how said second-best prospect received a $6 million per year salary, you can see how it might not be hard for Goldson to get close to what he's asking for. We'll see though.
Goldson isn't expected to re-sign with the 49ers by all indications, so he'll likely be heavily courted by Tuesday, if not sooner thanks to the new negotiation window. It's unclear whether the Bengals will pursue a player at the position via free agency, the draft or both, but some recent buzz has been made about Goldson potentially being interested in joining the Bengals this offseason--we'll see if that holds any weight by the time next week rolls around.