2013's free agent Defensive Backs and potential cap casualties
Dashon Goldson is another one of the league's top safeties, but is considered the 49ers' top priority in free agency. He's very unlikely to hit the open market.
There's been a ridiculous amount of speculation surrounding the future of Ed Reed. The Ravens definitely want him back, but once again, they may not be able to afford him. He'll be 35 years old in September, but still plays at a very high level and would draw a lot of interest.
The Falcons badly want William Moore back in 2013, and may use the franchise tag to do so, if it comes to that. He's a versatile and integral part of what the Falcons do on defense, and is still only 27 years old.
Laron Landry showed us how good he can be when he is able to stay healthy, playing in all 16 games for the Jets in 2012. It was the first time he's played in more than nine games since 2009. The Jets can't afford to bring him back, so he'll likely end up with a team that is convinced his injury woes are behind him.
The Packers recently released Charles Woodson, and he'll likely get a lot of looks as a package player to bring in on passing downs. ESPN's Ed Werder has suggested the Broncos and Patriots as potential landing spots.
Since being moved from cornerback to safety in 2011, Glover Quin has become a very good player. One of the top playmakers on the Texans' defense, the Texans will work hard to retain his services.
Ronde Barber, who transitioned from cornerback to safety in 2012, will be on the market as a rotational player if he decides against retirement... Though George Wilson was cut by the Bills and will turn 32 in March, he graded out as Pro Football Focus' eighth best safety in the NFL in 2012... The Lions want Louis Delmas back, but will not use the franchise tag on him, leaving the door open for him to test the market... The Giants are set at safety and will likely let Kenny Phillips walk, and he could get looks as a starter... Chris Clemons played very well against both the run and pass in 2012, and the Dolphins are working hard to re-sign him.
Here are some defensive backs that could be cut by the time free agency begins:
Champ Bailey (DEN) played well during the regular season last year, but was torched by Joe Flacco and the Ravens' speedy receivers in the postseason. Making $10 million in 2013, he may need to take a pay cut to stick around in Denver.
Eric Wright (TB) is set to make $7.7 million in 2013 based on his one good year as a pro, which came in 2011 with the Lions. Buccaneers management now realizes they overpaid him, and they may cut ties.
Dunta Robinson (ATL) hasn't quite lived up to his contract, and his $8 million 2013 salary is a bit steep. He's also set to make $10 million in 2014 and $11.5 million in 2015, his age 32 and 33 seasons. He's unlikely to get any better at this point in his career. With his age and salary both getting too high in the near future, he's a candidate for release.