6 free-agent safeties the Commanders could sign in 2024

Could the Commanders be in the market for safety help in free agency?

Kyle Dugger
Kyle Dugger / Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports
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Commanders could sign Antoine Winfield Jr.

This is the home run option. Antoine Winfield Jr. is versatile, young, and outstanding. He turns 26 years old in August and will be seeking a long-term contract that could make him the highest-paid safety in the league.

That record is currently held by the Los Angeles Chargers' Derwin James at just under $20 million per year. That’s about what it will take to sign Winfield. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he has played since entering the league as a second-round pick in 2020, would like to re-sign him. But may be hamstrung.

The concern about Winfield when he entered the league was that he was a bit undersized. Safeties were getting bigger. Many were starting to look like average-sized linebackers. The defensive back is about 5-foot-9 and weighs right around 200 pounds. But he is an outstanding athlete who has proven he can play anywhere you would want a safety to line up.

He is strong enough to play near the line of scrimmage but also has excellent speed and range to patrol the deep end. This past season, he was Pro Football Focus’ third-highest-rated safety in the league and was chosen as a first-team All-Pro, surpassing his father, Antoine Winfield Sr., who was a second-team All-Pro for the Minnesota Vikings back in 2008.

Winfield could be a Kamren Curl replacement because he has the positional flexibility to play all over the field. Because of his size and toughness, he reminds me of former Indianapolis Colts safety Bob Sanders, one of the best players in the league from about 20 years ago.

Part of the decision on whether to aggressively pursue Winfield could hinge on how Joe Whitt Jr. sees Quan Martin moving forward. I think his best position might be playing free safety as well. The Washington Commanders may be inclined to rely on Martin and Darrick Forrest for deep coverage while looking to one of the more traditional in-the-box safeties to potentially replace Curl.

However, it would be a shock if the Buccaneers did' franchise tag Winfield before the deadline.