Now, onto the list of 2014 Notable Free Agent Defensive Backs.
Comments and analysis added after the original posting of the article are listed in PURPLE.
Age listing as of March 17, 2014.
Players are ranked based upon incoming 2014 Free Agency value, not post-signing value.
1. S T.J. Ward, Cleveland Browns (27) - Unrestricted FA
*Signed by the Broncos (4 years @ $23 million, $14 million guaranteed) - 3/11/2014
Fantasy Impact of Signing: After years of struggling to find a top level safety option, Denver landed their man in T.J. Ward. He has the talent to play either safety position but will most likely slide into the strong safety role. If that's the case, he should be well set up for a very nice fantasy year, especially if the Broncos fail to address their deficiency at inside linebacker. Ward should be one of the top DBs taken off the board.
2. S Bernard Pollard, Tennessee Titans (29) - Unrestricted FA
*Re-signed by the Titans (2 years @ $6.3 million) - 3/3/2014
Fantasy Impact of Re-Signing: With 99 total tackles, 3 INTs, and 0.5 sack, 2013 was another typical season for Pollard who remains one of the most consistent fantasy options in the fantasy universe. He's not much a big play producer but is a definite tone setter in the run defense game and will continue to play the role of the in-the-safety for the Titans. He should continue to see great tackle opportunity in Tennessee under Ray Horton and be a DB1 option, especially in tackle-heavy leagues.
3. S Jairus Byrd, Buffalo Bills (27) - Unrestricted FA
*Signed by the Saints (6 years @ $54 million, $28 million guaranteed) - 3/11/2014
Fantasy Impact of Signing: Byrd will join 2nd year player Kenny Vaccaro to form one of the league's top safety tandems. The Saints are oft involved in shootouts which will give Byrd plenty of opportunity to showcase his ball-hawking skills. He will rarely be asked to defend the run which will hurt his already low tackle production, but he should be able to make up those points via big plays. Consider him a DB3+ in balanced scoring systems and a DB1-/DB2+ in big play based scoring systems.
4. S Stevie Brown, New York Giants (26) - Unrestricted FA
*Re-signed by the Giants (1 year @ $4 million) - 3/11/2014
Fantasy Impact of Re-Signing: Brown missed the entire 2013 season with a torn ACL but should be 100% percent by the start of the regular season. He will look to pick up where he left off in 2012 when he had a ridiculous 8 interceptions. He will play alongside fellow safeties Antrel Rolle and Will Hill in the Giants' "big nickel" package. He will be a high upside option within the large DB2 group.
5. S Antoine Bethea, Indianapolis Colts (29) - Unrestricted FA
*Signed by the 49ers (4 years @ $26 million) - 3/11/2014
Fantasy Impact of Signing: Bethea's move out of Indy will likely come with a deflation in his fantasy value. Bethea and Reid have similar strengths which makes me believe the Niners will use the two interchangeably. Regardless of what safety position he plays, lining up behind IDP studs NaVorro Bowman and Patrick Willis will make it very difficult for Bethea to be anything more than a DB3.
6. S Roman Harper, New Orleans Saints (31) - Unrestricted FA
*Released by the Saints - 2/12/2014
**Signed the Panthers (2 years @ $4.5 million) - 3/15/2014
Fantasy Impact of Signing: After several years of being an elite safety option, Harper was moved to a rotational role under new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. He was cut this off-season after grading out quite poorly the last couple years, particular in pass defense. In all likelihood, Harper's days of being a DB1 are over. Tackle opportunity will be relatively sparse playing behind Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis and there is no guarantee he stays in during passing situations.
7. S Donte Whitner, San Francisco 49ers (28) - Unrestricted FA
*Signed by the Browns (4 years @ $28 million) - 3/11/2014
Fantasy Impact of Signing: The Browns replaced T.J. Ward with a strikingly similar player in Donte Whitner who graded out as the #6 ranked safety in the league last year according to Pro Football Focus. He should see a boost in tackle numbers moving out of San Francisco and into a more favorable stat keeper situation in Cleveland. He should be one of the better, high floor DB2 options come draft day.
8. S Louis Delmas, Detroit Lions (26) - Unrestricted FA
*Released by the Lions - 2/13/2014
**Signed by the Dolphins (1 year @ $3.5 million) - 3/10/2014
Fantasy Impact of Signing: Delmas will fill the void left by the expected departure of Chris Clemons. Delmas has largely been overrated fantasy-wise since entering the league and isn't likely to see much benefit in moving to Miami. I'd avoid him unless you are looking to fill out the back end of your DB roster spots in deeper leagues.
9. S Mike Mitchell, Carolina Panthers (26) - Unrestricted FA
*Signed by the Steelers (5 years @ $25 million) - 3/11/2014
Fantasy Impact of Signing: Mitchell was able to rejuvenate his career in Carolina after a disappointing few years in Oakland. Like many other safeties in this free agency class, he was rewarded handsomely for his performance with a long-term contract. There is a temptation to equate Mitchell's fantasy value to the man he's replacing in Ryan Clark, and that may not be a bad correlation. Mitchell is a hard hitting physical player who Dick LeBeau will surely put him in a position to best utilize his strengths. I'd feel comfortable drafting him as a high floor, low ceiling DB3+.
10. S Malcolm Jenkins, New Orleans Saints (26) - Unrestricted FA
*Signed by the Eagles (3 years @ $16.25 million, $8.5 million guaranteed) - 3/11/2014
Fantasy Impact of Signing: Despite a serious lack of talent at the position, there have been flashes of fantasy upside from safeties in Philadelphia over the last couple of years. Jenkins isn't an top drawer player but is surely an upgrade over recent Eagles safeties. I wouldn't expect a massive increase in fantasy production, but he should be bumped up a tier or two from year ago.
11. S Ryan Mundy, New York Giants (29) - Unrestricted FA
*Signed by the Bears (2 years @ $3 million, $650k guaranteed) - 3/11/2014
Fantasy Impact of Signing: Despite only starting 10 games for the Giants last year, Mundy was able to post 77 tackles. He will be given the opportunity to earn a starting job in Chicago and could provide owners with sneaky value playing in a position that allowed Major Wright to put up over 100 total tackles a year ago. Keep Mundy on your radar this preseason.
1. CB DeAngelo Hall, Washington Redskins (30) - Unrestricted FA
*Re-signed by the Redskins (4 years @ $17 million, $5.4 million guaranteed) - 2/18/2014
Fantasy Impact of Re-Signing: Say what you want about DeAngelo Hall, but he's been one of the most consistent fantasy producers over the past decade. He started all 16 games for the fourth consecutive year and finished as the #1 fantasy cornerback in the majority of leagues. Despite his age and diminished play, he still remains one of the top corners for fantasy purposes.
2. CB Charles Tillman, Chicago Bears (33) - Unrestricted FA
*Re-signed by the Bears (1 year @ $3.5 million) - 3/14/2014
Fantasy Impact of Re-Signing: At age 33, Tillman isn't quite the player he use to be when he first started with the Bears. However, he remains one of the most intelligent and instinctual players in the game. He should be able to produce 5-7 tackles per contest with a good amount of big plays (especially forced fumbles). CB2+/CB1- value.
3. CB Alterraun Verner, Tennessee Titans (25) - Unrestricted FA
*Signed by the Buccaneers (4 years @ $26.5 million, $14 million guaranteed) - 3/11/2014
Fantasy Impact of Signing: Verner should prove to be a nice fit for Lovie Smith's scheme in Tampa Bay. He's an above average zone defender who can hold his own in man coverage. He won't see as much tackle opportunity with the Bucs as there was with the Titans, but it shouldn't be a drastic drop off. Cornerbacks always tend to be a crapshoot in fantasy, but Verner should remain one of the relative safe options at the position.
4. CB Cortland Finnegan, St. Louis Rams (30) - Unrestricted FA
*Released by the Rams - 3/5/2014
**Signed by the Dolphins (2 years @ $11 million) - 3/14/2014
Fantasy Impact of Signing: After spending several successful seasons in Tennessee, Finnegan's career has taken a disastrous turn for the worse since signing with the Rams in 2012. He was released by the team earlier this month and somehow managed to sign a relatively sizable contract with the Dolphins. All this said, he's a scrappy player who has had a few elite fantasy producing seasons and should see plenty of targets starting opposite Brent Grimes. He's a player I plan on targeting late in fantasy drafts as he should put up good fantasy numbers as long as he starts.
5. CB Captain Munnerlyn, Carolina Panthers (26) - Unrestricted FA
*Signed by the Vikings (3 years @ $11.5 million, $4.5 million guaranteed) - 3/13/2014
Fantasy Impact of Signing: Munnerlyn enjoyed breakout success last year in Carolina, ranking as PFF's 11th best cornerback. He's particularly strong against the run and should see a slight uptick in tackles in Minnesota. He's managed 4 defensive touchdowns in the past two seasons and an above average amount of sacks. I'd expect him to blitz less frequently under Mike Zimmer, but he should continue to see overall success in the big play department through interceptions. He's a top 10 fantasy CB.
6. CB Brent Grimes, Miami Dolphins (30) - Unrestricted FA
*Re-signed by the Dolphins (4 years @ $32 million, $16 million guaranteed) - 3/3/2014
Fantasy Impact of Signing: Grimes graded out as the #2 CB in the league last year and was fairly active in the box scores for a shutdown corner with 4 INTs and 16 pass deflections. He probably won't see as many balls thrown his way after establishing himself as one of the better cover corners in the league, but he's shown to be a decent fantasy producer over his career and isn't a bad fallback option as a CB2-.
7. CB Aqib Talib, New England Patriots (28) - Unrestricted FA
*Signed by the Broncos (6 years @ $57 million, $26 million guaranteed) - 3/11/2014
Fantasy Impact of Signing: Talib hasn't been much of a tackle producer throughout his career and there aren't any indicators that will change for him in a Broncos uniform. He's good for a handful of big plays a year, but outside of that isn't a great fantasy option in most leagues.
8. CB Darrelle Revis, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (28) - Unrestricted FA
*Released by the Buccaneers - 3/12/2014
**Signed by the Patriots (1 year @ $12 million) - 3/12/2014
Fantasy Impact of Signing: This is a nice signing for the Patriots, but doesn't do much to affect Revis' already low fantasy value. The problem with being (arguably) the best cornerback in the league is no one throws at you - hard to score fantasy points that way. Don't be fooled by the big name. Leave Revis on the board for someone else to draft.
Are there any other 2014 Free Agent Defensive Backs that you think should be included in this conversation? If so, please let me know by posting a comment below or emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also hit me up on Twitter.
Last Updated: March 17, 2014 Related Posts: