A Spotlight on Free Agency: Safeties

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There wasn’t a great deal of hype for the free agents in the safety position this offseason.  Eric Weddle seems to be the favorite so far.  He’s had a great career for the Chargers, and will be exploring his options in the market.  In other words, the highest bidder wins.  I don’t think if the Bucs pursued a safety in this free agency, they would aim for the most expensive athlete.  They do have plenty of money to spend on him, but look for them to upgrade several positions with these funds.  I would have loved to include free safety O.J. Atogwe in this article, but it seems the Redskins didn’t waste any time grabbing him.  As of right now, my next pick would have to be strong safety, Donte Whitner, of the Buffalo Bills.

Donte Whitner has the potential to be great in the right defense.

Whitner was a former 8th overall pick for the Bills in the 2006 NFL Draft.  There was great expectation for Whitner because by the age of 17, he led the entire world with tackles for a safety.  He had a rough couple of years in the Bills mediocre defense, but showed promise this past season.  He has great coverage skills, which the Bucs could really benefit from.  He is also pretty good at defending the run.  He hasn’t gotten into any trouble, on field or off.  Well, aside of his ‘Ochocinco-like’ tweeting and a couple wordy media session, he’s behaved.  There was a good chance that he would have returned toBuffalo, but after the recent NFL Draft, his tweets seem to have stated otherwise.  According to those tweets, he wants out.  He will demand a high profile contract, which most likely will be more than his actual value, but he would definitely be a solid pick up.  At only 26 years old, there’s still room for growth and success.

I really wish LeRon Landry was a free agent this year.  I’m a huge fan of how physical he plays.

Dawan Landry is a good option at safety.

Unfortunately he isn’t.  His brother, however, is.  Dawan Landry is a strong safety for the Baltimore Ravens, and has played alongside one of the greats in this game, Ed Reed.  Reed is an amazing safety, and together they’ve accomplished so much for their organization and fan base.  Landry was drafted in the 5th round in the 2006 NFL Draft, out of Georgia Tech.  Outside of 14 games missed in ’08 to an injured spinal cord, he’s started in all but two games.  He lacks some skill in coverage, but finds his way to the ball on every play, and is amazing at stopping the run.  At 28 years old, and a few seasons past his back injury, Landry seems to be in good health and is playing at an exceptional level.  In 2010, he was one of the leaders in tackles for a safety. 

If you haven’t noticed by now, the safeties I selected for this article were strong safeties, which would mean replacement of Sean Jones.  I’m not thrilled with the free safeties available in this year’s offseason, except for Atogwe, who is no longer a free agent.  Dashon Goldson was another option at free safety, but I would rather see Grimm in the lineup and see what he can do for us this year.  Some of the other unmentioned safeties like Bernard Pollard, Atari Bigby, Gerald Sensabaugh, and Roman Harper did not make the article because of injury concerns, age, or my feeling of them not being a good fit.  Roman Harper is definitely a great safety, but Landry and Whitner were the best fit in my opinion.  Don’t forget to look at the undrafted free agent rookies.  There’s some great talent there also in Joe Lefeged, Jeron Johnson, DeAndre McDaniel, and Deunta Williams.  The Bucs have many options to upgrade their safety position. I’m curious to see what free agency brings to the team.



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