Top NFL Free Agent Safeties 2023

NFL free agency is almost here as the 2023 offseason is in full swing. Teams have some hard decisions leading up to March 15 at 4 p.m. eastern when free agency begins. It’s also the start of the new league year and teams have to be under the $224.8 million salary cap. Teams will be looking for help in the secondary. Here’s a look at some of the top free agent safeties for the 2023 offseason.

Jessie Bates III – Bengals

Bates has played mostly free safety for the Bengals in his five-year career. He made the All-Pro second team back in 2020 and finished 2022 with 71 tackles, and four INT. Bates was able to register at least 100 tackles in his first three seasons while racking up 14 interceptions in his career.

Jordan Poyer – Bills

Poyer might be 31 years old but has shown he can still play. He started 12 games in 2022 and had 63 tackles, a forced fumble, and four INT for the Buffalo Bills. The team went 12-0 in those games. Poyer clearly has a lot left in the tank.

Poyer has 24 career interceptions and he had at least 100 tackles from 2018-20. There is the potential the Bills might throw the franchise tag on the safety to keep him in Buffalo. Poyer had a 92.1 coverage grade in 2022.

Chauncey Gardner-Johnson – Eagles

Gardner-Johnson had six interceptions for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2022 and had the best year of his four-year career. He also had eight pass deflections and 67 tackles on the year. Gardner-Johnson is one of the Eagles many solid unrestricted free agents. The team has hard choices to make after making a run to the Super Bowl in 2022.

It looked like a contract extension was possible, but talks haven’t seemed to move as of late.

Vonn Bell – Bengals

The Cincinnati Bengals have some tough decisions to make as they could lose not only Bates but also Vonn Bell. He started 16 games in 2022 with 77 tackles, four INT, two forced fumbles, and a sack. Bell has been a strong member of the Bengals defense with 114 tackles in 2020 and 97 in 2021 while starting 16 games each season.

Jimmie Ward – 49ers

Ward spent a lot of time at slot cornerback for the San Francisco 49ers during last season. He wasn’t a fan of the decision but played well in the role. Now, he’s looking to get back to playing safety where he spent the 2021 season for the 49ers. The 31-year-old dealt with injuries in 2022 but played in 12 games registering 50 tackles in 2022 and three interceptions.

Taylor Rapp – Rams

In his fourth season with the Rams, Taylor Rapp started 16 games and had 92 tackles. He also had two interceptions and six pass deflections as the Rams struggled in the 2022 season after winning the Super Bowl in 2021. Rapp started 17 games in 2021 and had 94 tackles to go along with four interceptions.

Adrian Amos – Packers

Adrian Amos enters unrestricted free agency after proving to be one of the most durable safeties in the league. Amos has played every game since the 2018 season. The veteran safety will hit the open market after 102 tackles during the 2022 season for the Green Bay Packers. He could be a solid option for a team looking for a player with a clean injury history.

More Free-Agent Safeties

There are plenty of safeties set to become unrestricted free agents. The list includes Julian Love from the New York Giants, Juan Thornhill from the Chiefs, and Donovan Wilson from the Dallas Cowboys. There is also Duron Harmon from the Las Vegas Raiders.

Devin McCourty of the New England Patriots can set the record for most career earnings for a safety in NFL history if he doesn’t end up retiring. He would be 36 years old at the start of the 2023 season.

Indianapolis Colts safety Rodney McLeod is a free agent. The 11-year veteran had a great year in 2022 with 96 tackles and two interceptions while starting 15 games for the Colts.

Teams That Could Pursue a Safety

There are quite a few teams looking for help in the secondary including the Titans, Cowboys, Ravens, Patriots, and Dolphins. They will be attacking the list of the top safeties who are available or will have to make moves in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Top NFL Free Agent Safeties FAQs

Which safeties will be the top 2023 NFL free agents?

The top safeties ahead of free agency include Jessie Bates III, Jordan Poyer, CJ Gardner-Johnson, and Vonn Bell. There are plenty of others who started meaningful games this past season.

When does free agency start?

Free agency begins on March 15, 2023. The official time is 4 p.m. eastern time. Teams are allowed to contact certified agents starting on March 13 but no deals are done until the official start.

What is the franchise tag value for an NFL safety for 2023?

Safeties are going to receive $14.46 million if they are subject to the franchise tag for the 2023 season. A few of the top free agents might get the tag before March 15.

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Sam hails from Grandville, Michigan. He has a rich sports background, including playing baseball at Central Michigan before covering high school sports and working with the Orlando Magic. He earned his broadcasting/journalism degree from Central Michigan University and was a member of the 2010 MAC Championship baseball team. Sam developed his expertise while working with Betsperts, Bleacher Nation, and 4for4 in various areas such as writing, social media, betting research, and business development. He's a big fan of the NBA, NFL, and MLB, highly interested in data and statistics.

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