Buccaneers sign FS Dashon Goldson; 49ers now in the market for a replacement

Bucs swipe Goldson from 49ers

3/13/13 in NFL   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

Blog Photo - Buccaneers sign FS Dashon Goldson; 49ers now in the market for a replacementAlthough the San Francisco 49ers considered re-signing Dashon Goldson a priority this offseason, they took several steps that crippled their chances of retaining the All-Pro safety. They first opted not to apply the franchise tag to Goldson, despite the fact that it was an extremely affordable $6.916 million. A few weeks later, the 49ers traded for Anquan Boldin, whose $6 million salary ate up some of the money that could have been used to sign Goldson long-term.

As a result, Goldson hit the open market, and it didn't take him long to find a new home. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed Goldson to a five-year, $41.25 million deal on Wednesday. Previously expected to make about $8 million a year on average, Goldson did well for himself by signing for a hair more than that.

Since becoming a regular starter in 2009, Goldson has racked up 14 interceptions, 31 passes defended, five forced fumbles, and four fumble recoveries. He has been a Pro Bowl selection each of the past two seasons, and earned All-Pro honors for the first time in 2012.

This is a huge signing for the Bucs, who will pair Goldson with 2012 first-round pick Mark Barron to create one of the league's best safety tandems. Goldson is the NFL's best safety in pass coverage, and will provide an enormous boost to a Bucs' defense that ranked 32nd against the pass in 2012. With a dominant run defense and dynamic group of safeties, the Bucs may be a formidable pass rusher and shutdown corner away from fielding a fearsome defense. It's worth noting that they appear to be the frontrunners to land the league's premier cornerback, Darrell Revis.

If the Bucs are able to land Revis without giving up this year's first-round pick, look for them to aim for a pass rusher at 13th overall in the draft. Players like Jarvis Jones, Barkevious Mingo, and Bjoern Werner could be options.

As for the 49ers, they are now in search of a new free safety to fill the big shoes that Goldson left behind. The first player that comes to mind: Ed Reed. Several players have already left Baltimore as a result of the lack of cap space caused by Joe Flacco's new contract, and while it seems that the Ravens are not completely out of the running for Reed, they are strapped for cash and Reed may feel it's time for a change of scenery.

Reed is great in pass coverage as one of the best ballhawks of all-time, so it seems he would be the perfect replacement for Goldson. The 49ers, however, don't have as much money to spend as some other potential suitors, such as the Colts and Patriots.

With a good amount of free agent safeties already signed, the 49ers may have to dig deep to find a replacement for Goldson. Some options other than Reed include Charles Woodson, Louis Delmas, Michael Huff, Kenny Phillips, and Yeremiah Bell.
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