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NFL Free Agency grades: Dashon Goldson reactions

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Ezra Shaw

When Dashon Goldson was signed to a five-year, $41.25 million contract the reactions among Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans were largely positive. There were some concerns about the price, but mostly everyone realized that they were getting a premium talent at safety who was an outstanding scheme fit. But how did the NFL react? Let's find out!

I like starting with Greg Cosell, because the man may be the single most knowledgeable media voice out there.

Yes, you read that right. The best safety duo in the league. Not the best single safety, mind you: that would be Earl Thomas. But Mark Barron and Dashon Goldson are both versatile, but they also both have complementary skill sets. Barron is great in the box and showed the ability at times to do well in man coverage on tight ends. More experience in the NFL should see him improve in that area. Meanwhile, Goldson's strength is playing as a deep safety and playing downhill in the run game.

On the other hand, we have Bill Barnwell.

In terms of the current market for safeties, though, Goldson's deal makes no sense at all. The market is almost literally flooded with safeties, none of whom are as good as Goldson, but who are likely to deliver most of Goldson's production at a fraction of the cost. Could the Bucs have gotten Pollard for three years and $10 million? What about a deal for Ed Reed, Kenny Phillips, Rhodes, Adrian Wilson, or Dawan Landry? Rhodes is 95 percent of the player that Goldson is, and he's going to sign with somebody for about 15-20 percent of the price the Bucs paid for Goldson.

The issue here, again, is opportunity cost. By committing that much money to Goldson, the Buccaneers are unable to spend money elsewhere. That could cost them Michael Bennett, who was their only viable pass rusher last year and a player at a position without many free-agent options available. It might prevent them from bringing in a more talented right tackle or a slot receiver to play alongside their big downfield threats. The Bucs will rest easy tonight with Goldson in the mix, but they very well might have missed out on an opportunity to make multiple spots on their team better.

He makes some good points, and some not so good points. Did the Buccaneers let Michael Bennett walk because of the Goldson contract? That would be absurd: he signed for just $5 million in Seattle. I don't buy the idea that this was too great of an opportunity cost, simply because the Bucs still have more than enough cap space to do whatever they want. The idea that any of the other safeties on the market would have approximated Goldson is also slightly ludicrous. Of the players he mentioned, only Reed and Phillips would be capable of playing the deep safety role the Buccaneers craved -- and they both have major question marks. Reed is old and has lost a lot of speed, while Phillips has had some bad knee injuries and has not looked like the same player since.

We have some other sites, too. There's Sports Illustrated:

Grade: B. Goldson and Barron are going to hammer offenses from the Tampa Bay secondary. Grade dropped a tad because o the money Tampa Bay had to spend, but the Buccaneers had the wiggle room to make an aggressive move.

Well, that sounds about right.

Kenneth Arthur has something to say, too.

Grade: "Sweet move, dudes!"

Goldson has made the Pro Bowl in each of the last two years with the 49ers. The Buccaneers have collapsed to end the season in each of the last two years, in no small part because their secondary is bad and they need someone to pair with the young Mark Barron.

It is an obvious match made in heaven so...

Sweet move, dudes!


Unfortunately, Pro Football Focus rains on our parade.

Goldson has long shown a playmaking ability but this was the season he really put it all together, finishing 10th in our coverage safety rankings. So a good player, but worth over $8m per year? In our eyes the answer is most definitely not. The Bucs, who have a habit of investing big money in positions you wouldn't normally invest big money in, have done it again.

A good player, but he's not worth the money...why, exactly?

Finally, Walter Football comes in with their ever hard to follow reasoning.

C Grade
The Buccaneers spent heavily last spring, and all that got them was a 7-9 record. They apparently haven't learned from their mistakes. They inked the top-available safety, Dashon Goldson, to a massive contract Wednesday afternoon.

There are two issues with this. First, Goldson doesn't fill a need. With Mark Barron and Ronde Barber starting and Ahmad Black waiting in the wings, the Buccaneers didn't need to upgrade the safety position. Second, it's never a good sign when a player goes from a Super Bowl contender to a mediocre franchise just for financial purposes. It works out sometimes, but it often fails.

Ronde Barber isn't under contract and if you think Ahmad Black can play single high safety consistently I want some of what you've been popping. Also, characterizing Vincent Jackson and Carl Nicks as mistakes is just mindboggling.