2013 NFL Free Agents: Pivotal Players Who Are Bound For Greener Pastures

Jesse ReedCorrespondent IFebruary 14, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 18: Safety Dashon Goldson #38 of the San Francisco 49ers reacts after breaking up a pass intended for wide receiver Goldon Tate #81 of the Seattle Seahawks late in the second quarter on October 18, 2012 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California.  The 49ers won 13-6.  (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
Brian Bahr/Getty Images

Free agent Dashon Goldson wants to be paid like one of the top safeties in the NFL, which means he is probably not going to remain with the San Francisco 49ers in 2013.

Goldson isn't the only player who was a key to his team's success last season and likely leaving for more money, either. 

It happens every year: A handful of players capitalize on stellar seasons by demanding lucrative deals that ultimately end up causing them to leave the team that helped them achieve success in the first place.

Here are three players who were key contributors for their respective teams but will leave for greener pastures.


Dashon Goldson, S, San Francisco 49ers

If you believe Jim Harbaugh, the 49ers will make signing Goldson to a long-term deal the team's first priority this offseason.

According to the AP, Harbaugh recently said, "He's somebody that I think you reward. You know he's out there and opposing offenses know that he's out there. He tackles and does everything that you'd want a safety to do."

CSN Bay Area's Matt Maiocco reports that Goldson is looking for a long-term deal worth approximately $8 million per year. 

Here's where the rubber meats the road, though. 

Goldson can be fantastic. When he plays disciplined ball, he is a great safety, but not elite. Unfortunately, he tends to play out of position often, looking for big hits underneath and leaving his cornerbacks on an island when they're supposed to have help over the top.

Trent Baalke knows this and it's the big reason Goldson didn't get his desired long-term deal last spring, when the 49ers placed the franchise tag on the safety.

Harbaugh's words must be taken with a grain of salt. In the end, I believe Goldson will sign with another team that will be willing to pay him like a top safety.


Cliff Avril, DE, Detroit Lions

The Detroit Lions have some really tough choices to make this offseason. 

Team president Tom Lewand views the cap as a fluid number (per DetroitLions.com's Tim Twentyman), but the truth is that the team isn't in terrific shape to pay Avril what he's sure to demand.

Avril is well aware that Detroit might ask him to take less money to stay. Here's what he recently told Pro Football Talk on the matter:

I don't know. It depends on the situation, honestly. It depends on why I would be taking less money, first off. I don't know, but we just have to get the numbers going and we'll see. I really don't know if I would take less right now.

He then went on to say he believed his odds to stay with the Lions were 50-50. 

Avril has logged 29 sacks in the past three years and pass-rushers are among the highest priorities for teams in this quarterback-driven league. 

With teams like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Jacksonville Jaguars flush with ready cash and in need of a pass-rusher, Avril is likely to get offers the Lions can't match.


Mike Wallace, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

It seems like a foregone conclusion that Wallace won't be wearing a Steelers uniform in 2013.

CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora recently reported that the Steelers "do not expect to retain free-agent receiver Mike Wallace." He also reported in the same column that "many in the Steelers organization believe Wallace will end up with their division rivals in Cleveland."

Pittsburgh will have a tough time getting under the cap this season, as the team is currently $16 million over the cap, per La Canfora's report.

Wallace is seeking a lucrative long-term contract, and given his skill set, he'll get it this spring. Teams like the Browns, Cincinnati Bengals and Miami Dolphins are all in terrific shape to offer such a deal and in need of a dynamic playmaker on offense.

Wallace may as well already be gone.


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