Grading Tampa Bay Buccaneers Signing of Dashon Goldson
The 28-year-old is a hard-hitting free safety who averaged 68 tackles and had nine total interceptions over the last two seasons with the San Francisco 49ers.
Let's grade the Buccaneers' decision to sign the veteran.
Fit: Nice Pairing with Mark Barron
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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers took strong safety Mark Barron with the No. 7 overall pick in the 2012 draft, and the Alabama product had an average rookie campaign.
He struggled in coverage, but held up well against the run.
According to ProFootballFocus (subscription required), only five safeties had a worse "coverage" rating than Barron.
Free safety Ahmad Black had a decent but unspectacular year next to the rookie, so the upgrade of Goldson, someone whom PFF ranked as a top-10 coverage safety during the regular season, could complement the second-year pro and help him develop into a fine run-stuffer.
Talent: Not a Specialist
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Goldson isn't an elite safety, but he certainly isn't one-dimensional.
He is mainly known for his striking ability as a tackler, but he demonstrated good range in coverage during his time with the San Francisco 49ers.
Sure, playing behind Justin Smith, Aldon Smith, Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman made Goldson's life easier and allowed him to roam freely in center field.
However, nine interceptions in the past two seasons and a 44.8 QB rating on passes thrown in his direction in 2012 (h/t PFF) prove he's a capable cover man.
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Goldson's average base salary of $8.25 million per season makes him the highest-paid safety in football in that regard.
However, he's not the best safety in the game.
Occasionally, he bits hard on play-action fakes and can be victimized over the top.
The Buccaneers' overpayment for Goldson wasn't ridiculous, and their aggression to add a playmaker to a secondary that allowed 297 passing yards per game in 2012 shouldn't automatically been seen as a negative.
Risk: Not Much There
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Goldson doesn't have any major injury history—he's missed two games over the past four years—and while his physical style of play could be worrisome, he's not riskier than any other player.
He doesn't have any off-field issues, either.
There's some risk involved from a financial perspective, as giving a safety $22 million in guarantees isn't chump change.
But overall, not an extremely dangerous move.
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Goldson is a complete safety without a concerning injury past who makes plays all over the field.
Yes, they slightly overpaid, but a player like Goldson was needed.
Grade: B / B+