Pass-catchers seem to be entering the league with more speed and talent than ever before, which makes rostering dependable safeties a must. Players that are capable of providing additional pass coverage on deep throws or getting to the quarterback on all-out blitzes only improve defenses.
Front offices have become aware and have started to pay up for the top talent in the secondary, both in free agency and the NFL Draft. Whether your team is looking for the next breakout star or a rotational option, here's a look at the 10 best free agent safeties available in the 2023 NFL offseason.
10 Best Free Agent Safeties 2023
1. Jordan Poyer, Buffalo Bills
Jordan Poyer was in consideration for an extension following his All-Pro season in 2021, but nothing happened and he instead played out the final year of his contract. The 31-year-old racked up 63 tackles, 8 pass breakups, 4 interceptions and 1 forced fumble in 12 games this past season. His 92.1 coverage grade by Pro Football Focus since 2020 is the best mark among safeties, which showcases his immense talent.
2. Jessie Bates III, Cincinnati Bengals
Much like Poyer, Bates had a contract extension on his mind prior to the 2022 season. However, the Bengals franchise tagged him before ever making a serious offer. Bates is going to warrant a big deal in free agency and he deserves it. The All-Pro safety has tallied 479 tackles, 43 pass breakups and 14 interceptions in 79 career games. That kind of consistent production is hard to find in today's league.
3. CJ Gardner-Johnson, Philadelphia Eagles
CJ Gardner-Johnson is an interesting free agent given he can slide in as a slot cornerback or as a safety. On average, safeties get paid a lot more than slot cornerbacks do, though. Convincing a team that he can thrive as a starting safety shouldn't be too hard considering he tied for the NFL lead in interceptions this past season (6) despite playing in only 12 games due to an injury. He also posted a career-high 67 tackles, including 5.0 for loss.
4. Vonn Bell, Cincinnati Bengals
Make sure not to let the free agency campaign of Bates distract from the fact that another Cincinnati safety is set to hit the open market as well. Vonn Bell has started 48 games for the Bengals over the last three seasons, logging 288 tackles (12.0 for loss), 21 pass breakups, 5 interceptions and 8 forced fumbles. The 28-year-old is a physically tough player capable of laying the hammer down on even the biggest of opponents.
5. Adrian Amos, Green Bay Packers
It's safe to say that general managers across the league are always searching for experienced players with some gas left in the tank. That is exactly what Adrian Amos is after eight successful NFL seasons. The former Penn State standout posted a career-high 102 tackles in 2022 and also tallied at least 5 pass breakups for the fifth straight year. He would be an underrated addition to any secondary.
6. Duron Harmon, Las Vegas Raiders
The 2022 NFL season was an undeniable disappointment for the Raiders, yet that didn't stop Duron Harmon from balling out. The 10-year pro logged a career-best 86 tackles to go along with 5 pass breakups, 2 interceptions and 2 forced fumbles. He was able to prove that he still has what it takes to keep up with today's pass-catchers, which means a deal is coming his way.
7. Terrell Edmunds, Pittsburgh Steelers
Reliability is a characteristic of any good safety and Terrell Edmunds may be as reliable as they come. He has racked up at least 68 tackles and played in at least 15 games in each of his five NFL seasons. Not only that, but Edmunds posted multiple sacks for the first time ever in 2022 despite blitzing only 10 times. His best football is yet to come.
8. Jimmie Ward, San Francisco 49ers
It would be surprising to see Jimmie Ward playing anywhere except San Francisco as he has spent the first nine seasons of his NFL career with the 49ers. There's going to be outside interest in him, though. After posting only 1 interception in his first seven seasons, Ward has nabbed 5 interceptions over the last two seasons to go along with 127 tackles and 11 pass breakups. The 31-year-old is unlocking new parts of his game.
9. Devin McCourty, New England Patriots
Devin McCourty has been making highlight plays in the secondary for over a decade in New England. In the off chance that he decides to end his storied career elsewhere, McCourty should have suitors lined up ready to go. The two-time Pro Bowler finished the 2022 season with 71 tackles, 8 pass breakups and 4 interceptions. The knowledge that comes with playing in 205 career games cannot be overlooked, either.
10. LaMarcus Joyner, New York Jets
Free agency is sometimes about taking chances and one team is going to take a chance on LaMarcus Joyner. After playing in only 1 game in 2021 due to a triceps injury, Joyner returned to rack up 57 tackles, 6 pass breakups and 3 interceptions on a Jets defense that ranked near the top of the NFL. Landing with the right coaching staff on a one-year deal could work wonder for Joyner's career.
The Duel also ranked the 10 best NFL free agents for each position group:
-10 Best NFL Free Agent Quarterbacks in 2023
-10 Best NFL Free Agent Running Backs in 2023
-10 Best NFL Free Agent Wide Receivers in 2023
-10 Best NFL Free Agent Tight Ends in 2023
-10 Best NFL Free Agent Offensive Linemen in 2023
-10 Best NFL Free Agent Defensive Linemen in 2023
-10 Best NFL Free Agent Edge Rushers in 2023
-10 Best NFL Free Agent Linebackers in 2023
-10 Best NFL Free Agent Safeties in 2023
-10 Best NFL Free Agent Punters in 2023
-10 Best NFL Free Agent Kickers in 2023
Larry Rupp is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Larry Rupp also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username phillyfan424. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.
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