There are four teams in the running for free agent Dashon Goldson, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports, but only two outright leaders. The Detroit Lions and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers reportedly lead for the safety with NFL free agency set to begin at 4 p.m ET on Tuesday.
Both teams are in need of secondary help. The Lions may not re-sign Louis Delmas, leaving a big hole in center field. According to Sean Yuille of the SB Nation blog Pride of Detroit, however, Schefter's report comes as somewhat of a surprise because the Lions were not expected to be able to afford the $7-8 million deal that Goldson could command.
If the Lions are in fact in play for Goldson, there are two main things to take away here. First, they are going to have a lot more cap room than anybody expected when free agency opens on Tuesday. Whether that means Matthew Stafford is on the verge of getting a new deal or Ndamukong Suh's contract has been restructured or something else, the only way I can see Goldson being a realistic option is with a lot more cap space than what they have right now.
This is probably the best option. Goldson is still a young player at 28 years old who has played some very good football over the past two years. He has the range to play the deep safety, more so than I thought initially, and he's aggressive and very solid in run support. He's just a very good all-around safety who would fit nicely next to Mark Barron, and if the Buccaneers are looking for a starter they should mainly be looking at Goldson.
Schefter also mentioned the Philadelphia Eagles as a possible destination, and did not rule out a return to the San Francisco 49ers. It is clear that even in a competitive market, quality players to plug into the defensive backfield are going to be hot commodities the minute free agency starts.