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 Xavier McKinney

Signing Xavier McKinney would be an enormous coup for the Washington Commanders. They would not only be adding one of the best safeties in the league, but they would also be taking him off a New York Giants defense that has given them fits over the past four years.

Like Antoine Winfield Jr. and Kyle Dugger, McKinney came into the league as a second-round draft pick in 2020. Washington would have been in a position to draft him had they not traded away their selection that year to move up in 2019 for Montez Sweat. They may get another shot at the safety this offseason.

In the two years that McKinney has been fully healthy, he has been a dominant player on the backend. He totaled eight picks, 22 passes defended, and more than 200 tackles in 2021 and 2023. The problem has been in the even-numbered years. He only played 15 total games in 2020 and 2022 due to injury. Last season, he was fully healthy and outstanding.

McKinney played mostly as a deep safety during his rookie season. By last year, he was playing all over the field. Like Winfield and Dugger, he offers great flexibility playing in the box or deep. He would allow Joe Whitt Jr. and defensive pass game coordinator Jason Simmons to mix and match developing players like Darrick Forrest, Percy Butler, and Quan Martin around him.

He is a long-term solution to the defensive backfield. However, there is a growing belief that McKinney could get the transition tag from the Giants in the not-too-distant future.