In a report that can only be described as straight out of left field, ESPN's Adam Schefter says that the Detroit Lions are one of the favorites to sign free-agent safety Dashon Goldson. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are also considered to be among the favorites, and the San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles are "in play" for Goldson as well.
The reason this report comes as such a surprise is because Goldson is expected to land a deal worth $7-8 million per year. This was expected to be way, way out of the Lions' price range considering they are working with a rather limited amount of cap space right now. The thinking has been that they might be able to land one relatively high-profile free agent, and even then it wasn't expected that they would be able to go beyond around $5 million per year for anybody.
If the Lions are in fact in play for Goldson, there are two main things to take away here. First, they are going to have a lot more cap room than anybody expected when free agency opens on Tuesday. Whether that means Matthew Stafford is on the verge of getting a new deal or Ndamukong Suh's contract has been restructured or something else, the only way I can see Goldson being a realistic option is with a lot more cap space than what they have right now.
The other main takeaway is that the Lions are serious about upgrading their secondary, specifically at safety. Goldson has been to the Pro Bowl the last two seasons thanks to his play with the 49ers, which is why his price tag is expected to be so high. In 2012, he had 69 tackles, 11 passes defended, 3 interceptions and 1 forced fumble. He is in the prime of his career and would immediately become the Lions' top defensive back by a wide margin.
I really don't want to get my hopes up too much about this news because I'm still having such a hard time believing it. However, the Lions must have something cooking behind the scenes to create cap room for a free agent like Goldson. It's either that or Schefter is way off base, and given his credibility, that seems unlikely. I suppose we'll find out what the case is in the next 24 or so hours.