The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have faced a great deal of turmoil this season. An 0-8 start, a switch at quarterback and a head coach who is quickly falling out of favor with the team was just the beginning.
Now, safety Dashon Goldson has added a new wrinkle to the Buccaneers' problems.
According to ESPN.com, Goldson was handed a one-game suspension by the NFL on Monday. The suspension is a direct result of a helmet-to-helmet hit that Goldson laid on Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Roddy White during Sunday's contest.
Dashon Goldson has been suspended again by NFL for illegal hit, per sources— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) November 18, 2013
Not long after the suspension was announced, ESPN Insider Adam Schefter reported that Goldson will be appealing his suspension.
Dashon Goldson is appealing his suspension.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 18, 2013
This comes as no surprise. Goldson has already been through this process earlier this season.
Goldson's first transgression came in Week 1 against the New York Jets. He was fined $30,000 for hitting a defenseless player in the head. Just one week later, Goldson was at it again. He was initially given a one-game suspension for a helmet-to-helmet hit on New Orleans Saints running back Darren Sproles.
The suspension was appealed and overturned. Goldson was instead fined $100,000 for the incident.
Goldson's hit came on Falcons' Roddy White. He had a 1-game suspension overturned but fined $100,000 for hit on D. Sproles in week 2.— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) November 18, 2013
Now, Goldson is dealing with his third incident this season. The NFL—and commissioner Roger Goodell—has very little tolerance for players who consistently violate player safety rules.
It is very likely that Goldson's appeal will not hold up this time around. This will force the safety to miss the team's upcoming Week 12 contest against the Detroit Lions. Spotrac.com indicates that he will also forfeit a game check of $264,705.
At least TB doesn't play Calvin this week. Oh wait... RT @mortreport: Dashon Goldson has been suspended by NFL for illegal hit per sources— NFL Philosophy (@NFLosophy) November 18, 2013
Goldson has now been fined six times by the league since the beginning of the 2012 season.
If he does not change his ways quickly, he will quickly earn the label of the NFL's "problem child." That's a label that no player would gladly accept.
If it comes to the point where the Buccaneers deem Goldson a liability and decide to let go of the 29-year-old safety, they would have a difficult time unloading him.
Given the five-year, $41.25 million contract that the team awarded him over the offseason, Tampa Bay cannot afford to cut Goldson loose at this point.
I'm not wild on the idea that TB had money to spend, so let's pay way over the odds. Goldson isn't worth that contract— Sam Monson (@PFF_Sam) March 13, 2013
The Buccaneers could be put in a bad place if this type of incident continues to occur with the safety. Goldson is guaranteed $18 million with the team—a salary that is not easily absorbed.
Tampa Bay must make a decision in regard to Goldson's future quickly. If the Bucs keep him around, sanctions must be put in place by the team in an effort to stop these transgressions. If they are forced to part ways with Goldson, it could set the team back for the foreseeable future.
The NFL had every right to suspend Goldson for one game. At this point, he is absolutely deserving of such a sentence.
It is up to the Buccaneers—and Goldson—to decide what can be done and where to go from here.