The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have reached an agreement with free-agent safety Dashon Goldson, signing the veteran defensive back to a five-year deal worth a reported $41.25 million, according to Stephen Holder of the Tampa Bay Times.
I hear terms on Goldson are five years, $8.25M annually, $22M guaranteed.— Stephen Holder (@HolderStephen) March 13, 2013
When paired with last year's first-round pick Mark Barron, the addition of Goldson, 28, gives the Bucs a duo of hard-hitting safeties that they hope can begin to solve their defensive deficiencies, notably their 32nd-ranked pass defense.
Goldson has shown himself to be a reliable impact defender, having intercepted 14 passes while appearing in 62 of the last 64 games for the defending NFC champion 49ers.
The ball-hawking safety, known for being an instinctive, disruptive force, should do wonders to shorten the field defensively, something the Bucs struggled with in 2012 having allowed nearly 70 passes of 20 or more yards.
Something that shouldn't be overlooked with the signing is the fact that if free-agent Ronde Barber decides to return next season, it won't be as a safety, at least not on a full-time basis.
The Goldson signing also directly impacts how they approach next month's NFL draft, where they hold the 13th overall pick and were believed to be possibly targeting Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro with the selection.
With no need at safety and, according to Scott Reynolds of Pewter Report, ready to be bypass drafting a cornerback in the first round, logic dictates the Bucs are poised to take either a defensive lineman or a linebacker in the first round instead of addressing their secondary.