Arizona Cardinals: Likelihood that free agents return
Safety D.J. Swearinger
After wearing out his welcome with the Houston Texans and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, former second-round pick D.J. Swearinger has revitalized his career with the Arizona Cardinals.
Like Tony Jefferson, Swearinger was among the top rated safeties in 2016. More specifically, his overall Pro Football Focus grade of 86.1 was ninth among all safeties. Unlike Jefferson, however, Swearinger’s greatest value was in pass coverage, where he was fifth among all safeties with a grade of 85.9.
Despite his excellent 2016 campaign, Swearinger is not likely to command as high a price on the market as Jefferson. This likely due in part to his uneven history with the Texans and Bucs, and the fact that he somewhat older than Jefferson – Swearinger will turn 26 about a week before the start of the regular season.
More importantly, however, when comparing Swearinger’s PFF grades over the past four seasons (70.5; 48.7; 50.9; 86.1) to those of Jefferson (75.7; 65.2; 78.1; 88.6), Swearinger’s 2016 looks more the part of aberration, while Jefferson’s trajectory seems to tell the story of a solid player who has hit his prime.
Still, despite these depreciating variables, the Cardinals may see Swearinger as a worthwhile second option, should Jefferson sign elsewhere – something that has been suggested by Cardinals beat writer Kent Somers. Even if this is the case, however, it is possible that Swearinger’s price could escalate to the point that it exceeds the Cardinals’ comfort level.
If such a scenario were to transpire, the Cardinals could opt to trust their ability to find and develop competent safety play, and let both Jefferson and Swearinger walk.
Likelihood of returning: 45 percent