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The Eagles are in the market for a veteran free agent safety, and they have strong interest in two of the top safeties on the market -- 2012 Pro Bowlers LaRon Landry and Dashon Goldson, according to various league sources.
The NFL’s signing period for unrestricted free agents begins on Tuesday, and Landry and Goldson are expected to be among the most hotly pursued safeties available.
The Eagles finished their last-place 2012 season with Kurt Coleman and Colt Anderson starting at safety in their beleaguered secondary, but neither is expected to be a starter in 2013, although Anderson -- a special teams star -- signed a one-year tender on Monday.
Nate Allen, a starter when healthy for much of the last three years, and David Sims are also still under contract.
Goldson is believed to be seeking a deal worth about $8 million a year and Landry is thought to be seeking a package averaging about $6 million a year.
The Eagles, once they release Nnamdi Asomugha, presumably on Tuesday, will be more than $40 million under their adjusted 2013 cap figure of $146,814,669.
Because they carried over $23,046,035 in cap space from 2012, the Eagles have more money to spend on 2013 salaries than any other NFL team, so they would have no trouble fitting a big-ticket safety like Goldson and Landry easily into their payroll.
Landry, 28, struggled with injuries in 2010 and 2011 in Washington before signing a one-year deal with the Jets in 2012. He went on to make his first Pro Bowl team in his sixth NFL season.
Goldson, also 28, has made the Pro Bowl team in each of the last two years. Like Landry, he’s a six-year veteran, although he’s spent his entire career with the team that drafted him, the 49ers.
Goldson may be the biggest defensive free agency prize on the market. He’s missed just two games over the last four years, and his 14 interceptions since 2009 are third-most among all NFL safeties during that span, behind only Ed Reed and Jairus Byrd.
Newly hired Eagles Vice President of Player Personnel Tom Gamble was director of pro personnel with the 49ers during Goldson’s entire six-year stay in San Francisco.
Byrd is among several potential free agent safeties no longer on the market. The Bills franchised Byrd last week, William Moore re-signed with the Falcons and Rashad Johnson re-signed with the Cards.
Reed, the slam-dunk future Hall of Famer, is also an unrestricted free agent and not expected to re-up with the Ravens, but Reed will be 35 on opening day 2013 and the Eagles do not appear interested in pursuing him.
Since they allowed Brian Dawkins to leave for the Broncos after the 2008 season, the Eagles have struggled to find capable safeties either through the draft (Jaiquawn Jarrett, Macho Harris, C.J. Gaddis) or free agency (Sean Jones, Marlin Jackson, Sims).