With free agency approaching as the 2016 NFL offseason kicks into full gear, we’re taking a look at how top-tier impending free agents rank at some of the hottest positions. This time, we break down the safeties.
1. Eric Weddle, San Diego Chargers: He’s as good as gone in San Diego, with Oakland making the most sense (lots of money, Charles Woodson retired). The two-time first-team All-Pro slipped up a bit in 2015, but it doesn’t appear he was happy. Look for the 31-year-old to bounce back in a new setting.
2. Reggie Nelson, Cincinnati Bengals: The 32-year-old make his first Pro Bowl with an eight-interception 2015 campaign. He might have less gas in his tank than Weddle but is just as strong a player and a better playmaker.
3. George Iloka, Cincinnati Bengals: The versatile 25-year-old is fantastic in coverage, but he has just four interceptions in four seasons. Because of his age and his skill set, he’s right there with Weddle and Nelson.
4. Walter Thurmond, Philadelphia Eagles: The versatile playmaker can sometimes be a liability in coverage and is injury prone. At 28, though, he’ll have a chance to start somewhere.
5. Mark Barron, Los Angeles Rams: The former No. 7 overall pick proved last year that he can play linebacker, too. That natural talent combined with versatility is big, especially considering his age.
6. Tashaun Gipson, Cleveland Browns: The 25-year-old had six interceptions two years ago but can be a liability in coverage.
7. Rodney McLeod, Los Angeles Rams: The consistent 25-year-old had a solid 2015 season, improving his run defense. He hasn’t missed a start in three years.