2013 NFL Free Agents: Top Defensive Backs Who Will Likely Stay Put

Michael DulkaContributor IJanuary 22, 2013

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 09:  Cornerback Brent Grimes #20 of the Atlanta Falcons taunts guard Ryan Lilja #65 of the Kansas City Chiefs after the Falcons intercepted the ball during the game at Arrowhead Stadium on September 9, 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The NFL free-agency period starts in just under two months with the start of the new league year. While not as deep as the free-agent wide receivers, the free-agent defensive backs have plenty of talent to go around.  

In the next few months, negotiations will heat up between teams and their players set to become free agents. In fear of players hitting the open market, some teams will opt to use the franchise tag and keep their players home. 

While many free agents will change teams, these defensive backs will likely stay with either a new contract or the franchise tag. 


Brent Grimes, Atlanta Falcons

The strong play of Dunta Robinson and Asante Samuel would certainly make it easier for the Atlanta Falcons to let Brent Grimes walk, but they are a better defense with him on the team. Having three strong cornerbacks would give Atlanta a better defense to match their talented offense. In their two playoff games, the Falcons defense could have played better. 

Grimes is coming off an ACL injury, which could make his contract negotiations more challenging. His value is tough to assess, but the Falcons have the inside track as they've been able to track his recovery. 


Dashon Goldson, San Francisco 49ers 

Signing Dashon Goldson to a long-term contract probably isn't the biggest focus for the San Francisco 49ers in the next couple weeks. Following the Super Bowl, the 49ers need to do whatever they can to bring Goldson back next season. If they can't negotiate a long-term deal, Goldson is a great candidate to get the franchise tag.

Goldson is a big piece of the 49ers physical defense. His hard hitting not only punishes defenses, but helps to give the 49ers their intimidating edge. The 49ers defense can't afford to let Goldson hit the open market.


Jairus Byrd, Buffalo Bills 

Jairus Byrd had an incredible season this year with five interceptions and four forced fumbles. He was one of the bright spots on a Buffalo Bills defense that finished 10th in passing yards allowed. As a team, the Bills only came up with 12 interceptions. Take away Byrd and that secondary is extremely problematic. 

Byrd is another candidate for the franchise tag should the Bills be unable to sign him to a long-term deal. Byrd will likely want to be paid as a top safety, and deservedly so. He should be back in Buffalo as the Bills look to improve their high-paid defense.