Few expect the San Francisco 49ers to be able to re-sign safety Dashon Goldson, but people around the league are predicting the 49ers will make a run at another big name free agent safety, Ed Reed, according to Adam Schefter. If Reed lands in San Francisco it will mark the second player from the Super Bowl champion Ravens to join the 49ers this offseason as San Francisco acquired Anquan Boldin on Monday.
The 49ers franchised Goldson in the 2012 offseason, but neglected to use the franchise tag again this year when a long-term deal could not be reached. Goldson is seeking to get paid like one of the top safeties in the league, but San Francisco simply can't afford to give the two-time Pro Bowler that type of contract. His rumored destinations include the Lions and Buccaneers.
With the possibility of bringing Goldson back dimming, the 49ers need a new starting safety - enter Ed Reed. Reed will already go down as one of the greatest to ever play the position, but at age 34, he's not done yet. It is possible Reed could still agree to a new contract that allows him to end his career in Baltimore, but the Ravens may decide to go younger and let Reed walk away. The two have not signed a contract yet, and Reed hired an agent on Monday to represent him in free agency, a strong sign that he is going to test the market.
Many assume Reed would take a hometown discount to remain in Baltimore and takeover the Ray Lewis role as the emotional leader of the team, but if things don't work out with the Ravens, Reed is a very attractive option for the 49ers. While no longer unquestionably the best free safety in the game, he still is among the top players and could sign for cheaper than the younger Goldson in the hopes of making another run at the Super Bowl before ending his career.
In San Francisco Reed would join arguably the most talented defense in the league. Last season, San Francisco had six defensive starters selected to the Pro Bowl, including both Goldson, and starting strong safety Donte Whitner. With the skills and leadership of Reed, a nine-time Pro Bowl selection himself, the 49ers defense should only get better.