Today we will be reviewing the free agent safety market. Recently, the Atlanta Falcons signed safety Ron Parker to a 1-year deal worth the veteran’s minimum, making him the first big name safety to be signed this off-season. Let’s take a look at the rest of the market.
Kenny Vaccaro. Vaccaro spent the last 5 seasons with the New Orleans Saints, after being drafted with the 15th overall pick in the first round. He totaled 385 tackles, 7.5 sacks, 30 pass deflections, 8 INTs, and 4 forced fumbles in those 5 seasons. In my opinion, Vaccaro is the best free agent safety currently available. Vaccaro is a ball-hawk on the defensive side of the ball. Whether he’s forcing interceptions or deflecting passes, Vacarro dominates that side of the ball and is a force to be reckoned with for opposing QBs.
Eric Reid. Reid was one of the best safeties in the game last year, which makes it surprising he hasn’t been signed yet. One of the reasons could also be his collusion case against the NFL for protesting next to Colin Kaepernick a couple of seasons ago. Reid spent the last 5 seasons with the 49ers, after being selected with the 18th overall pick in 2013. Three spots after previously mentioned Kenny Vaccaro was selected. Reid totaled 318 tackles, 1 sack, 10 INTs, 34 passes defended, and 2 forced fumbles in his time with San Francisco. He is another safety that teams have to game plan for every week. Reid is a complete player with all of the tools you’re looking for in a safety. He should be signed by a team very soon.
Tre Boston. Boston signed a 1-year deal with Los Angeles last season after spending the first 3 seasons of his career with the Carolina Panthers. Boston totaled 56 tackles, 8 passes defended, and 5 INTs last season with LA. Earlier last week, it was reported that Arizona offered Boston a “disrespectful” contract, so I don’t see Boston thinking about signing with Arizona anytime soon. Boston also visited with the Indianapolis Colts previously in May, but that never amounted to anything in terms of contract talks.
Mike Mitchell. Mitchell spent the last 4 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers before being released on March 14th. Before signing with Pittsburgh in 2014, Mitchell spent time with the Oakland Raiders & the Carolina Panthers. He turned 31 years old a couple of weeks ago, so he could be heading to the end of his career soon. Mitchell would serve as a nice backup safety to a young team that’s looking for a veteran presence on their defense. He totaled just 35 tackles & 2 passes defended with Pittsburgh last season.
Tyvon Branch. Branch, 31, is in the same boat as Mike Mitchell in terms of age. There would be a few young teams interested in either of the 2 safeties previously mentioned. Branch totaled 51 tackles & 6 passes defended in 2017 with the Arizona Cardinals. Even though Branch isn’t your normal ball-hawk safety, he can still get the job done when his name is called upon.
Honorable Mentions: Corey Graham, Quintin Demps, Jairus Byrd, Eddie Pleasant.
I wouldn’t expect much action in the safety market until closer to training camp when teams start finalizing their rosters or need an extra camp body. One team I could see bringing in some safety help are the Cleveland Browns. I expect them to add some pieces to their secondary to help complement players like rookie Denzel Ward & Jabrill Peppers.