Madden 19 Ratings: All the best free safeties (FS)

Free safety (FS) is a tough position to get right. Who are the best players with the highest ratings in Madden 19?


Free safety is one of the most important positions on defense. They have to provide support to the cornerbacks, cover the most ground, and are also the last line of defense between the offense and the endzone. So when it comes to Madden 19 how do you pick the best ones?

How to choose the best free safeties in Madden 19’s Franchise Mode

Speed is important for free safeties, as is zone coverage since their coverage responsibility is almost always a deep zone. Free safeties also need great awareness and play recognition to see what is happening and react appropriately, and they also need to be good tacklers. Here are all the best free safeties in Madden 19 with an OVR rating of 80 or more.

Harrison Smith, Minnesota Vikings (OVR 97)

Age: 29

Development Trait: Superstar

Contract: 4 years/$36.07m

2018 Cap Hit: $7.59m

Best Stats: Awareness (96), Speed (87), Acceleration (91), Agility (87), Tackle (81), Zone Coverage (95), Play Recognition (96)

The best free safety in Madden 19 is Minnesota’s Harrison Smith. Smith has long been a quality free safety, but over the last three years he’s developed into the games best. He has made the last three Pro Bowls, and in 2017 was named for his first First Team All-Pro after picking off five passes, deflecting 12 more, getting 1.5 sacks, and finishing the regular season with 78 tackles. He was ranked #3 in Pro Football Focus’ list of the top 101 players of 2017.

In Madden 19, Smith’s exceptional awareness (96), play recognition (96) and zone coverage (95) make him nearly impossible to beat in the air, and with strong speed (87) and terrific acceleration (91) he can get up to the line of scrimmage in a hurry to play run support as well.

Earl Thomas III, Seattle Seahawks (OVR 94)

Age: 29

Development Trait: Star

Contract: 1 year/$11.9m

2018 Cap Hit: $11.9m

Best Stats: Awareness (93), Speed (90), Acceleration (92), Agility (93), Tackle (79), Zone Coverage (94), Play Recognition (93)

Before Smith’s rise, it was Earl Thomas who was the best free safety in the business. The Seahawks man has always had excellent range and ball skills. Quarterbacks long ago realized not to test him. He suffered some injuries in the last two years which lowered his production. He has just four interceptions in the last two seasons, and finished last year with 88 tackles.

In Madden 19, Thomas’ range is excellent. With great speed (90) and acceleration (92) he can cover a lot of ground, and he’s never caught out thanks to his stunning play recognition (93) stat. He isn’t as good a tackler (79) as some other free safeties, but his play against the pass more than makes up for that.

Tyrann Mathieu, Houston Texans (OVR 94)

Age: 26

Development Trait: Quick

Contract: 1 year/$4.5m

2018 Cap Hit: $4.5m

Best Stats: Awareness (91), Speed (90), Acceleration (93), Agility (92), Tackle (77), Zone Coverage (91), Play Recognition (91)

Mathieu was a surprise mover this offseason as the Cardinals cut him when he refused a pay cut. Their loss was the Texans gain as they snagged Honey Badger on a one-year deal. Mathieu has had a tough time in the NFL, with two ACL tears costing him time and some of his elite athleticism. However, Mathieu has excellent versatility, is still a stellar athlete, and a far better tackler than his size suggests. He has 11 interceptions in his five years as well as four sacks.

Mathieu has great acceleration (93) and is a reasonable tackler (77) for the position. Like Smith and Thomas he has 90+ zone coverage to go along with all of that and he also has excellent man coverage (89). His versatility makes up for any size issues you may have with him. 

Devin McCourty, New England Patriots (OVR 92)

Age: 31

Development Trait: Quick

Contract: 2 years/$20.55m

2018 Cap Hit: $8.65m

Best Stats: Awareness (92), Speed (90), Acceleration (90), Agility (91), Tackle (75), Zone Coverage (87), Play Recognition (92)

Devin McCourty has been a staple with the Patriots since they drafted him in the first round in 2010. Originally a corner, McCourty was moved to free safety after some struggles and became one of the best in the NFL. His smarts and athleticism played well at the position, and while he hasn’t racked up many interceptions, just one in each of the last three seasons, he is a continuous menace to quarterbacks and rarely tested deep.

In Madden 19, McCourty is a frustratingly poor tackler (75) but thanks to his great mental skills (awareness 92, play recognition 92) he is always in the right spot, and he has very good coverage ability, with a 85 man coverage stat thanks to his time as a corner.

Lamarcus Joyner, Los Angeles Rams (OVR 90)

Age: 27

Development Trait: Quick

Contract: 1 year/$11.3m

2018 Cap Hit: $11.3m

Best Stats: Awareness (88), Speed (88), Acceleration (94), Agility (86), Tackle (74), Zone Coverage (92), Play Recognition (88)

Lamarcus Joyner is a pocket dynamo in the same mold as Tyrann Mathieu. At just 5’8″ he isn’t going to compete for too many high passes, but his quickness and coverage ability takes him all over the field. Another converted corner, Joyner had a breakout season in 2017, picking off three passes and allowing just a 42.9 completion rate when targeted.

In Madden 19 Joyner has lower awareness (88) and play recognition (88) than you would like, but his acceleration (94) allows him to make up for that. He has terrific zone coverage (92) and although he’s not a good tackler (74) he isn’t awful.

Kevin Byard, Tennessee Titans (OVR 88)

Age: 25

Development Trait: Quick

Contract: $2 years/$1.86m

2018 Cap Hit: $810k

Best Stats: Awareness (88), Speed (89), Acceleration (87), Agility (85), Tackle (75), Zone Coverage (90), Play Recognition (88)

Like Joyner, Kevin Byard had a breakout 2017. He picked off an NFL-high eight passes last year in his first full season as a starter. The 2016 third-round pick also deflected 16 passes, recovered two fumbles and racked up 87 tackles.

In Madden 19, Byard’s inexperience counts against him when it comes to awareness (88) and play recognition (88) but they are still pretty good in the grand scheme of things. He is a little slower than you’d like, with speed (89), acceleration (87), and agility (85) all under 90. However, his zone coverage (90) makes him a fearsome player to test down field.

Jordan Poyer, Buffalo Bills (OVR 89)

Age: 27

Development Trait: Star

Contract: 3 years/$6.58m

2018 Cap Hit: $2.04m

Best Stats: Awareness (79), Speed (87), Acceleration (93), Agility (88), Tackle (77), Zone Coverage (94), Play Recognition (79)

Originally a seventh-round pick in 2013 by the Eagles, Jordan Poyer didn’t last long in Philadelphia, and joined the Browns that same year. He stayed in Cleveland through the 2016 season, playing in 36 games from 2014 to 2016, but rarely started. It wasn’t until he got to Buffalo in 2017 that Poyer really exploded.

An immediate starter, Poyer picked off five passes last season, taking one back for a touchdown and made 95 tackles, missing just four.

In Madden 19 Poyer’s tackle rating (77) isn’t nearly as good as you would hope, but he has terrific acceleration (93) and elite zone coverage (94). A little work on his awareness (79) and play recognition (79) could turn him into one of the best free safeties around.

Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix, green Bay Packers (OVR 87)

Age: 25

Development Trait: Quick

Contract: 1 year/$3.25m

2018 Cap Hit: $3.25m

Best Stats: Awareness (91), Speed (87), Acceleration (89), Agility (87), Tackle (76), Zone Coverage (80), Play Recognition (91)

A first-round pick in 2014, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix has been a solid player for the Packers over the last four years. He’s not missed a single game, and has racked up 11 interceptions so far, as well as a pair of forced fumbles. He also averages 90 tackles a season.

In Madden 19 Clinton-Dix lacks speed (87) and zone coverage (80) but he has strong play recognition (91) and awareness (91), meaning he won’t be dragged out of position too often. That zone coverage (80) can be a bit of a problem late in games when the opponent is throwing down the field, one slip up and it’s all over.

Glover Quin, Detroit Lions (OVR 87)

Age: 32

Development Trait: Quick

Contract: 2 years/$7.44m

2018 Cap Hit: $3.54m

Best Stats: Awareness (91) Speed (86), Acceleration (91), Agility (84), Tackle (72), Zone Coverage (85), Play Recognition (91)

Glover Quin is a seasoned veteran in the NFL now. After nine years and two teams, the Lions free safety more than knows how to get it done on a football field. He has 24 interceptions in his career, including three in 2017, and 84 pass breakups, along with 10 forced fumbles and an average of 74 tackles per year.

In Madden 19 Quin’s age has taken away some of his speed (86), but his coverage skills (85) and mental traits (awareness 91, play recognition 91) are still good. Quin won’t be a superstar for you, but he will certainly get the job done.

Eric Weddle, Baltimore Ravens (OVR 85)

Age: 33

Development Trait: Quick

Contract: 2 years/$13.82m

2018 Cap Hit: $6.09m

Best Stats: Awareness (88), Speed (85), Acceleration (91), Agility (89), Tackle (77), Zone Coverage (88), Play Recognition (88)

Another veteran, Eric Weddle has enjoyed a career renaissance in Baltimore these last two years after being an All-Pro safety in San Diego with the Chargers. Weddle has picked off 10 passes in two years with Baltimore, made two sacks, forced three fumbles, and made the Pro Bowl twice.

Weddle has great zone coverage skills (88) and is a solid tackler (77), but his speed (85) is a problem, and both his awareness (88) and play recognition (88) are not what you’d like to see from a veteran. He’s a good player, but at his age maybe not for long.

Other star free safeties

NameTeamOVRDevelopment TraitContract2018 Cap Hit
Tashaun GipsonJacksonville Jaguars85Quick3yrs/14.56m$4.22m
Tre BostonFree Agent85QuickN/AN/A
Marcus WilliamsNew Orleans Saints84Quick3yrs/$4.76m$1.48m
Ricardo AllenAtlanta Falcons84Quick1yr/$2.91m$2.91m
Justin SimmonsDenver Broncos83Quick2yrs/$1.66m$720k
Antoine BetheaArizona Cardinals82Normal2yrs/$5.99m$2.96m
Ron ParkerAtlanta Falcons82Quick1yr/$950k$950k
Marcus GilchristOakland Raiders82Quick1yr/$2.15m$2.15m
Jahleel AddaeLos Angeles Chargers82Quick3yrs/$12.24m$3.74m
Rodney McLeod JrPhiladelphia Eagles81Quick3yrs/$19.92m$6.08m
Eddie JacksonChicago Bears80Quick3yrs/$2.30m$690k
Duron HarmonNew England Patriots80Quick3yrs/$8.99m$2.5m

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Toby Durant

Deputy Editor at RealSport. A life-long gamer, I have been with RealSport since 2016 and spent time covering the world of Formula 1, NFL, and football for the site before expanding into esports.

 

I lead the site's coverage of motorsport titles with a particular focus on Formula 1. I also lead RealSport's Madden content while occasionally dipping my toe into Football Manager and esports coverage of Gfinity Series events.

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