Cary Edmondson-US PRESSWIRE
And the free agency rumor mill continues, this time suggesting that the Buccaneers are the favorites to land free safety Dashon Goldson, competing with mainly the Detroit Lions, but also the San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles. Of those teams, the Buccaneers have the most cap room and should have the least problems signing Goldson. Adam Schefter reports.
Four teams - SF, PHIL, DET, TB - in play on Dashon Goldson - but DET, TB considered favorites. TB also in on CBs Sean Smith, B. Grimes, DRC.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 12, 2013
We already knew the Buccaneers were after Sean Smith, and we had had hints that the Bucs would go after Brent Grimes as well. Both fit what the Bucs want: physical defensive backs who can play press-man coverage and win down the field, while still being useful in run defense. Grimes has picked off Josh Freeman so many times that it's no surprise the Bucs would be intrigued by him, despite the fact that he's nearly 30 and coming off an Achilles injury, which can be a career-ender at a position like cornerback.
The mention of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is surprising, though, and that one I do not buy. Rodgers-Cromartie was a tackling disaster last season, and has been throughout his career. He's inconsistent in coverage to begin with, but he's not a physical player and can shy away from tackles. That's exactly the kind of player the Bucs tried to rid themselves of in the great purge.
As for Goldson, we talked about him in this article, but the connection is simple: the Buccaneers need a free safety who can play the deep middle of the field, and Goldson is really the only safety on the market capable of doing that consistently at a high level. He'll likely cost a pretty penny, but he'd be a perfect fit for the team's last line of defense. If the Buccaneers do sign Goldson, that would complicate the return of Ronde Barber, who would likely be limited to a role as a nickelback. That would sadly end his pretty awesome streak of starts and may even limit him in his desire to return in the first place, but I'd take it in exchange for a high-level starter at free safety.