Fantasy Reaction: Dashon Goldson Signs With Tampa Bay
In theory, that certainly sounds good. Barron (the seventh overall pick) entered the league as one of its most decorated safeties, though his rookie performance (-4.9, 75th-best safety) suggests that there’s a fairly steep learning curve ahead, while Goldson played a key role for the Super Bowl runner-up 49ers.
Now, for those in redraft IDP leagues, it’s a good bet that both Barron and Goldson will be fantasy gold, picking up large tackle numbers playing behind a porous linebacking corps, but this move is probably going to go very poorly from a football perspective. So for those operating in dynasty IDP leagues, this is a clear case of buyer beware. Goldson’s long-term job security isn’t quite as it might appear.
Unlike the in-his-prime Ed Reed (who’s incidentally still looking for work), Goldson probably isn’t going to be a difference-maker on his own. In San Francisco, Goldson was afforded the luxury of playing on the back line of an elite defense. His numbers were solid if unspectacular (+6.5), and while it’s true that a nagging tendency to commit infractions (-2.6) was the primary culprit keeping him out of the top 10 at his position in 2012, the truth is that his numbers were likely inflated due to the fostering presences of Patrick Willis (+23.0, first overall ILB), NaVorro Bowman (+11.3, seventh overall ILB), Justin Smith (+22.2, fifth-best 3-4 DE) and Aldon Smith (+17.1, third-best 3-4 OLB).
Now Goldson moves to Tampa, where they’ll be without top pass rusher Michael Bennett (+18.8, seventh-best 4-3 DE), and it’s a defense that could ill afford to lose key playmakers. While Gerald McCoy has quickly developed into one of the NFL’s finest defensive linemen (+31.2, second-best DT), he and outside linebacker Lavonte David (+10.2) are probably not going to be able to do enough to make up for the loss of Bennett, much less improve the defense beyond what it was with him putting constant pressure on the opposing quarterback.
An optimist will point to Gerald McCoy continuing to play at an elite level (if not improving), Da’Quan Bowers (+2.9) taking another big leap forward, and Adrian Clayborn returning from his knee injury to build upon a solid rookie year (+11.1 pass rush). But the odds of all three things happening aren’t great, not with all three players dealing with pretty severe injury histories.
If the Bucs don’t manage to acquire Darrelle Revis from the Jets, there’s good reason to believe that their defense will go from a little above average (+33.3) to subpar. And if Goldson proves to be more a financial problem than a football solution, the clock will quickly begin ticking on his time in Tampa.
By front-loading Goldson’s contract, Buccaneers GM Mark Dominik has given his team the flexibility needed to cut bait in 2015 (for a relatively low $4 million cap hit) if the signing doesn’t work out as hoped. And unless there are a lot of improvements elsewhere in the Tampa defense, it’s a good bet that the signing won’t work out as hoped, making the 28-year-old Goldson a strong two-year play (but not longer) in dynasty formats, after which time he’ll be more likely looking for work than playing at an All-Pro level.