Dashon Goldson

Falcons Sign S Dashon Goldson

Safety Dashon Goldson is back in Atlanta. The Falcons announced that they have signed the veteran in the wake of multiple injuries at the position. Dashon Goldson (vertical)

Safety Kemal Ishmael was placed on IR last week after undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery. Meanwhile, safety Robenson Therezie has been dealing with an ankle injury. The Falcons needed safety help in a jiff and Goldson is familiar with the playbook. Goldson auditioned for the Falcons yesterday and apparently performed better than defensive backs Earl Wolff and Floyd Raven.

Goldson has been out of work since the Falcons cut him two months ago. The 32-year-old signed a one-year, $1.5MM deal with the Falcons this offseason, though only $250K of that sum was guaranteed. In his first Atlanta stint, he did not record an official statistic across four games. At this point, it doesn’t seem like Goldson will be able to reprise his Pro Bowl form. However, he could be a valuable fill-in for the Falcons as they look to lock down the NFC South.

NFL Workout Updates: 12/19/16

The Falcons worked out several safeties today, including veteran Dashon Goldson, according to Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Goldson has already spent time with Atlanta this season, appearing in four games for the club earlier in the year. The Falcons also took at look defensive backs Earl Wolff and Floyd Raven as they seek to replace Kemal Ishmael, who was placed on IR last week.

Here’s more from the workout circuit:

  • Veteran linebacker Joplo Bartu met with the Dolphins today, per Caplan (Twitter link). Bartu has been in the league since 2013, and has 48 games of experience — including 28 starts — under his belt during time with Atlanta and Jacksonville. However, the 26-year-old Bartu hasn’t started a contest since 2014.
  • The Bears worked out a slew of players on Monday, reports Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune (Twitter links). Chicago met with the following players today: defensive ends Jeoffrey Pagan and Mike Rose; linebackers Taiwan Jones and Frank Beltre; and defensive backs V’Angelo Bentley, Forrest Hightower, Dwayne Hollis, Rashaad Reynolds, and Mitchell White.
  • The Seahawks visited with free agent running back George Winn, tweets Caplan. Winn, who has bounced on and off the Lions and Giants practice squads this season, could add depth on a Seattle roster that has already lost C.J. Prosise and Troymaine Pope for the year.
  • Running back Terrell Watson tried out for the Eagles today, according to Caplan (Twitter link). Philadelphia recently placed RB Wendell Smallwood on injured reserve, meaning Watson — a former Bengals and Browns preseason star — could be a fit.

Falcons Cut S Dashon Goldson

The Falcons announced that they have released safety Dashon Goldson. To fill his spot on the roster, Atlanta signed defensive lineman Cliff Matthews. The team also inked linebacker Josh Keyes to the practice squad. Dashon Goldson (vertical)

Goldson, 32, signed a one-year, $1.5MM deal with the Falcons, though only $250K of that sum was guaranteed. This year, he suited up for four games, but did not record an official statistic. The veteran has regressed significantly since his glory days with the 49ers. Goldson broke out as a leading free safety in 2009 with San Francisco and went on to earn his first career Pro Bowl nod in 2011. In 2012, his contract year, he garnered another Pro Bowl selection along with his first career First-Team All-Pro nod.

He signed a monster contract with the Bucs in the spring of 2013, but he was unable to deliver. After spending 2015 with the Redskins and old friend Scot McCloughan, Goldson returned to the NFC South. Today, he finds himself back on the open market.

Matthews broke into the league as a seventh-round pick of the Falcons in 2011. The South Carolina product has appeared in 32 games for Atlanta since then.

Extra Points: Preseason, QBs, Goldson, Kruger

The NFL’s longtime format of four preseason games could be set to change as soon as next year, Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com reports. A lot of talk’s occurred about altering the length of the preseason, with some in league circles wanting to ditch the fourth game. Pointing to the number of injuries to starter-level players that occur during meaningless contests and the public relations hits the NFL’s taken about the safety of its game, others see no reason more than two are necessary.

Additional practices, including joint workouts, are among the ways the league could bypass coaches’ concerns about not having enough evaluation time, La Canfora notes. The league remains committed to implementing a plan for a developmental league or an in-season academy that would help the lower-tier players hone their skills without having to do so for teams come August.

La Canfora believes the preseason could change as soon as next year, and be drastically different within five years, but doesn’t see a spring developmental league on the immediate horizon since the NFLPA would have to sign off on that.

Here’s more from around the league as teams get their backups ready for the final night of exhibition tilts.

  • Multiple quarterbacks being lost for either the season or a significant part of it has inflated the value of backups on the trade market. La Canfora notes the Buccaneers, Bengals and Browns are not likely to part with respective No. 2 signal-callers Mike Glennon, A.J. McCarron and Josh McCown for anything less than a Day 2 draft pick, with the possibility a team holds out for a first-round selection. Each team would prefer to keep their backups, La Canfora writes.
  • Mark Sanchez could qualify for this above discussion, though it’s highly unlikely the Broncos would receive a Day 2 pick for him with $4.5MM and just one season left on his contract. Troy Renck of Denver7 reports (on Twitter) a Sanchez resolution could come by Friday. The Broncos have engaged in efforts to try and trade Sanchez this week after naming Trevor Siemian the Week 1 starter.
  • Dashon Goldson‘s deal with the Falcons is a one-year, $1.5MM deal with $250K guaranteed, according to Tom Pelissero of USA Today (on Twitter). $500K of his money is tied to per-game active bonuses.
  • The Saints‘ deal with Paul Kruger is a one-year, $3MM pact worth up to $5MM with incentives, a league source told ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter. Before his release, he was under contract through next season at $6.5MM this year and $7MM next year with Cleveland. The Saints will have to carve out some cap space to make way for Kruger’s deal and they’ll likely do that through contract restructuring.

Zach Links contributed to this report

Falcons Sign Dashon Goldson

After bringing him in for a workout yesterday, the Falcons have agreed to sign veteran safety Dashon Goldson, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter), and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that it is a “done deal.” Terms of the deal are not yet known, but it would be a surprise if it were anything other than a one-year, minimum salary benefit contract.

Dashon Goldson (vertical)

We learned several days ago that promising rookie safety Keanu Neal is expected to miss three to four weeks with a knee injury, which sent Atlanta in search of a free agent reinforcement like Goldson. As Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com writes, however, Goldson will have to content himself with a reserve role upon Neal’s return. Per McClure, Neal will be the starting strong safety upon his return, and Kemal Ishmael will serve as his backup once Ishmael returns from his shoulder injury (Ishmael is expected to return to practice this afternoon on a limited basis).

After having played for the 49ers for six seasons, Goldson has bounced around a bit recently. The 31-year-old has played for three teams over the past four seasons, but he’s only missed six games during that span. The veteran actually had one of his most productive seasons in 2015 with the Redskins, compiling a career-high 110 tackles, although Pro Football Focus (subscription required) graded Goldson as the fourth-worst safety out of 89 qualified players. The two-time Pro Bowler has averaged nearly two interceptions and one forced fumble per season throughout his nine-year career. Goldson was released by Washington in March, and he garnered some interest from the Rams.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

Falcons To Work Out Dashon Goldson

12:20pm: General manager Thomas Dimitroff told D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the team is working to sign Goldson to a contract (Twitter link). The reporter notes that coach Dan Quinn is still leaning towards starting Ishmael in Neal’s absence, even if the team does add Goldson.

10:05am: With the Falcons seeking some reinforcement in their defensive backfield, the team will be bringing in a veteran safety for a workout. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweets that Dashon Goldson will be trying out for the Falcons today. The team was seeking depth at the position following a knee injury to first-rounder Keanu Neal.

Dashon Goldson (vertical)After having played for the 49ers for six seasons, Goldson has bounced around a bit recently. The 31-year-old has played for three teams over the past four seasons, but he’s only missed six games during that span. The veteran actually had one of his most productive seasons in 2015 with the Redskins, compiling a career-high 110 tackles. The two-time Pro Bowler has averaged nearly two interceptions and one forced fumble a season throughout his nine-year career. Goldson was released by Washington in March, and he garnered some interest from the Rams.

Neal, a first-round pick out of Florida, was projected to be the Falcons’ starting safety. However, knee surgery is expected to sideline the rookie for about a month. Long-time Falcons safety William Moore was pushing for a return to Atlanta, but recent reports indicated that the organization has little interest in a reunion. Current backup safety Kemal Ishmael is battling a shoulder injury, and the team recently added veteran Sergio Brown for some additional depth.

NFC Notes: Bears, Rams, Saints

Bears edge rusher Willie Young acknowledged Wednesday that there have been contract extension talks between him and the team, saying (via Jeff Dickerson of ESPN.com), “Yeah, there has been some stuff mentioned here and there, but that’s something that will be left up to my agent so I don’t get caught in the middle of it.” As of earlier this month, Young was reportedly “50/50” on whether to accept a two-year offer from the Bears. Chicago is trying to keep the soon-to-be 31-year-old after he amassed a combined 16.5 sacks during his first two seasons in the Windy City, and he’s open to spending the rest of his career there. “I would like to finish my career up here in Chicago, but you know that’s not up to me; that’s up to my agent and management,” said Young, who will hit the open market next offseason if a deal isn’t reached by then.

More from the NFC:

  • Free agent safeties Dashon Goldson and Donte Whitner remain “in play” for the Rams, tweets Vincent Bonsignore of the Los Angeles Daily News. If the Rams sign either, it won’t occur until after OTAs because the team wants to evaluate its in-house options, Bonsignore adds (Twitter link). Los Angeles hosted Whitner, a three-time Pro Bowler, in early April. Goldson, who has two Pro Bowl selections under his belt, met with the club earlier this month. PFR’s Dallas Robinson ranks Whitner as the best defensive free agent on the market.
  • Fellow free agent safety Roman Harper could rejoin the Saints, per FOX Sports’ Alex Marvez (via Twitter). Harper, whom the Saints took in the second round of the 2006 draft, spent his first eight seasons in New Orleans before signing with the division-rival Panthers in 2014. The 33-year-old proved to have a fair amount left in the tank last season for the NFC champions, starting all 19 of their games (playoffs included) while grading 53rd out of 89 qualifying safeties at Pro Football Focus.
  • Ex-Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, who coached Harper in 2013, spoke negatively last week of his time on New Orleans’ staff. One of Ryan’s former pupils, now-Bears defensive lineman Akiem Hicks, backed Ryan’s claim that the coordinator wasn’t running his own scheme during his final two years with the Saints. “Not to talk about New Orleans for the rest of this interview, but as a player in that system, you can see when power is taken away from a guy,” Hicks said Wednesday, per Mike Triplett of ESPN.com. “It was evident in that situation and you saw what the turnout was because of it.” Hicks also praised Ryan as a person, stating, “I didn’t see the interview, but I do know this, I’ll forever and always have a lot of love for Rob Ryan, just because there’s nobody that’s going to shoot you straighter.”

Rams Hosting Dashon Goldson On Visit

The Rams are hosting Dashon Goldson on a visit today, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Goldson, 32 in September, was released by Washington in early March and has remained on the open market ever since. Dashon Goldson (vertical)

Goldson first came into the league as a fourth-round pick of the Niners in the 2007 draft. Goldson eventually took over as the team’s full-time free safety and he was recognized for his play in 2011 when he earned his first Pro Bowl selection. In 2012, his contract year, Goldson was once again named to the Pro Bowl and also earned First Team All-Pro honors. Goldson parlayed that performance into a five-year, $41.25MM contract with the Bucs which included a hefty $22MM guarantee.

By 2015, it was clear that the deal was not working out and the Bucs traded Goldson to Washington in a salary dump. Goldson was slated to make $8MM with Washington this season, a price tag that was far too rich given the level of production he currently provides. His entire salary was non-guaranteed, making it a pretty easy decision for the team.

This offseason, Goldson was a part of a deep safety class which was headlined by guys like Rodney McLeod, Tashaun Gipson, and George Iloka. But, even when those players came off of the board, interest for Goldson proved to be mild. The Cowboys were said to have some level of interest in Goldson and Washington reportedly didn’t rule out a reunion at a lesser rate, but it’s not clear if either team still has interest.

Goldson recorded 70 tackles and one interception in 2015, grading as the No. 70 safety among 88 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

East Rumors: Eagles, Wentz, Bills, Washington

The Eagles have been doing their homework on all of the top quarterback prospects in this year’s draft, and while there’s some skepticism about whether they’ll actually snag a QB early, at least one analyst believes they’ve got their eye on a particular signal-caller.

“Make no mistake about it, I still think the Eagles first and foremost are trying to find a way to get Carson Wentz,” Lance Zierlein of NFL.com said during an appearance on 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia, per Tim McManus of PhillyMag.com. “I know that from people behind the scenes, in the know. That’s who he wants and that’s who he likes. It’s just going to be tough — to move up that far is going to be a challenge.”

Whether or not the Eagles are actually serious about Wentz remains to be seen. Some teams believe Philadelphia’s apparent interest in top quarterbacks – as well as the club’s reported interest in trading up – is a smoke-screen designed to make another team panic and move up for a QB. At the very least though, it’s amusing to consider a scenario that would see the Eagles make a blockbuster trade with the Titans on draft day for a quarterback, given how many observers expected that to happen last year.

Here are a few more updates from out of the NFL’s East divisions:

  • Although news of draft visits and workouts has dominated the NFL news cycle lately, the Bills aren’t done looking at free agents quite yet. Buffalo confirmed today (via Twitter) that safety Colt Anderson and linebacker Lorenzo Alexander are at the team facility for visits, as the club continues to consider additions on defense.
  • Elsewhere in free agency, Washington remains interested in safety Dashon Goldson and defensive lineman Jason Hatcher, two veterans recently released by the team for cap purposes. However, as John Keim of ESPN.com tweets, Washington will likely wait until after the draft before deciding whether to re-sign either player.
  • Baylor’s Xavien Howard is one of a handful of cornerbacks being eyed by the Dolphins, who will bring him in for a visit next week, per Albert Breer of the NFL Network (Twitter link).
  • Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post provides a pair of Patriots updates, writing that the team conducted a private workout for Toledo wideout Alonzo Russell and will work out Purdue offensive lineman David Hedelin next week (Twitter link). Per Wilson, Hedelin met with a Patriots offensive line coach – presumably Dante Scarnecchia – on Thursday.

FA Rumors: Cowboys, J. Jones, Bills, Packers

After landing defensive end Benson Mayowa from the Raiders, the Cowboys remain in the market for help on the edge, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. According to Rapoport, Dallas is bringing in veteran defensive end Jason Jones for a visit. Josina Anderson of ESPN (Twitter link) hears from Jones that he’s flying in tonight and meeting with the team tomorrow.

It’s no surprise that the Cowboys continue to seek defensive end help, since both Greg Hardy and Jeremy Mincey are free agents. As for Jones, the 29-year-old has been a full-time starter in Detroit for the last two seasons, picking up a total of 9.5 sacks in his last two seasons. In 2015, Pro Football Focus ranked him 43rd out of 110 qualified edge defenders, assigning him solid grades as both as a pass rusher and a run defender.

As we wait to see whether Jones ends up landing a deal in Dallas, let’s round up several more updates on free agency…

  • In addition to meeting with Jones, the Cowboys will also host offensive lineman Joe Looney, sources tell Todd Archer of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Looney can play guard and center, and would be a candidate to replace Mackenzy Bernadeau as an interior depth piece in Dallas.
  • Defensive end Kroy Biermann is paying a visit to the Bills today, a source tells Conor Orr of NFL.com (Twitter link). Biermann, 30, has spent his entire eight-year NFL career as a Falcon, picking up a total of seven sacks in the past two seasons.
  • After signing Jared Cook, the Packers likely won’t do much else on the free agent market. However, Tom Pelissero of USA Today tweets that Green Bay has been “poking around” on running backs, including Ronnie Hillman.
  • The Cowboys have interest in safety Dashon Goldson, and Washington is also open to the free agent safety’s return, according to Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports (Twitter link), who expresses surprise that Goldson remains unsigned.
  • Cornerback Brandon Boykin said today that he had offers from about four other teams before he agreed to sign with the Panthers, and Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (Twitter link) believes that two of those offers were from the Chiefs and Falcons.