With free agency set to begin this week, Redskins.com previews the 2019 NFL free agent class position-by-position. Today's focus starts with the safeties.
The Redskins will enter the 2018 season retaining the majority of their safety group. Deshazor Everett, Montae Nicholson, Troy Apke, Jeremy Reaves and Alex Carter are all under contract for next season. Last season, Nicholson began as a starter alongside D.J. Swearinger Sr., and will likely compete for that role this year.
At the 2018 trade deadline, the Redskins parted ways with a fourth-round pick in order to acquire Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. The Alabama product is set to become a free agent in mid-March after starting the final nine games of the year for the Redskins. In those nine games, Clinton-Dix was added stability on the defensive side of the ball, getting 66 tackles, while forcing and recovering a fumble. He'll be someone the Redskins must consider as they re-tool the position.
Here are the top five free agents at the position, along with a full list below.
Earl Thomas is one of the last remaining members of the Legion of Boom still on the Seattle Seahawks. However, after publicly requesting either an extension or a trade last summer, neither of which Seattle gave him, Thomas’ time in Seattle is likely over.
Thomas has spent each of his nine seasons in the NFL with the Seahawks. In those nine seasons, Thomas has been named to six Pro Bowls and earned three first-team All-Pros and two second-team All-Pros. Thomas has also started all 125 games that he has been healthy for over the last nine seasons. In those 125 games, Thomas has totaled 684 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 11 forced fumbles, 28 interceptions and 67 passes defensed.
In 2018, Thomas only played in four games, as he broke his leg against the Arizona Cardinals in the Seahawks fourth game of the year. In the limited playing time last year, Thomas had 22 tackles and three interceptions.
Take a look at some of the top free agent safeties in the NFL this offseason.
In just four seasons in the NFL, Landon Collins has established himself as one of the best safeties in the league. The 2015 second-round pick has made three consecutive Pro Bowls and was named first-team All-Pro in 2016, his second season.
This past season, Collins played in 12 games for the Giants, collecting 96 tackles, five of which were for a loss. Collins did not intercept any passes this past year, but he did have four passes defensed and forced one fumble. Collins missed the final four games of the season with a shoulder injury.
In 2016, Collins’ All-Pro season, he started all 16 games for the Giants and totaled 125 tackles. Collins had nine tackles for loss that year, as well as four sacks -- the only four of his career. Collins also had a career-high in interceptions and passes defensed that season getting five and 13, respectively.
Despite being a fifth-round pick, Adrian Amos has been a starter for a good majority of his career. He has played in 60 career games, starting 56 of them, and has been regarded as one of the better safeties in the NFL throughout his career.
Amos was instantly inserted into the starting lineup, as he started all 16 of the Bears’ games in 2015. In his rookie season, Amos had 67 tackles, with two for a loss, one sack and had two passes defensed. Over the next two seasons, Amos played in 28 games, starting 24 of them, getting 114 tackles, nine tackles for loss, one interception which he returned for a 90-yard touchdown, forced three fumbles, recovered two fumbles and had seven passes defensed.
This past season, Amos once again started all 16 games for the Bears, getting 73 tackles. Two of those tackles were for a loss, with one of them being a sack. He also intercepted two passes, had nine passes defensed and recovered one fumble. He was graded as an 82.7 by PFF this past year, making him the eighth-highest rated safety in the NFL.
“The Honey Badger” spent the first six years of his career as one of the best safeties in the NFL, despite his 5-foot-9 frame. Mathieu was drafted in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals and spent his first five seasons with them before signing a one-year contract with the Houston Texans last offseason.
Entering the NFL, Mathieu was known as a play-making safety who intercepted passes, forced fumbles and returned punts and kicks. In his six seasons, Mathieu has 13 interceptions and four forced fumbles, but only one punt return.
Mathieu’s best season was his 2015 campaign, where he was selected to the Pro Bowl and named first-team All-Pro. That season he had 89 tackles, with 11 tackles for loss and one sack. He also contributed five interceptions and 17 passes defensed while forcing one fumble.
This past year with the Houston Texans, Mathieu started all 16 games, getting 89 tackles, five tackles for loss, three sacks, two interceptions and eight passes defensed.
In the 2014 NFL draft, the St. Louis Rams took Lamarcus Joyner in the second round. The pick would take a while to pan out, as Joyner spent the first three years of his career as a slot cornerback who was used primarily as a backup. The past two seasons, Joyner took over one of the starting safety spots and quickly became one of the better safeties in the NFL.
In the past two seasons, Joyner has totaled 97 tackles, with three tackles for a loss and one sack in 27 games. He has also intercepted four passes, returning one for a touchdown, forced a fumble and has had 12 passes defensed during that span. Last offseason, the Rams failed to reach a long term agreement with Joyner and placed him under the franchise tag.
Other notable free agent safeties: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Tre Boston, Anthony Harris, Clayton Geathers, George Iloka, Kenny Vaccaro