The Arizona Cardinals obviously have a lot of decisions to make when it comes to free agency. We frequently talk about some of the big names here at Revenge of the Birds such as Calais Campbell, Chandler Jones and Tony Jefferson. But stars are always going to produce. It is the lesser starters and role players that ultimately play a huge role in getting a team to a championship.
One of those players is D.J. Swearinger. A former 2nd round pick and castoff of the Houston Texans, Swearinger came to the Cardinals with low expectations but ended up producing almost right away. In fact, a week after he was signed, he played in a game against the Green Bay Packers in which he would cause a forced fumble in a 38-8 Cards victory.
Swearinger was not a full time safety in the way Tony Jefferson was last season, but he became a vital piece of the defense with Tyrann Mathieu in and out with injuries all year. So with all of that in mind, is he a guy the Cardinals should look at re-signing?
Based on what the safeties in this defense are asked to do, I think Swearinger would be a player the team wants to keep around. First, he is another productive body in a defense that deploys a lot of dime formations. Swearinger has proven to be effective enough as a deep safety, but where he really excels is in the box and hitting guys coming over the middle. He plays with the sort of nastiness that any team looks for and he keeps opposing receivers and running backs aware of his presence on the field.
Perhaps most importantly, Swearinger will come at a fraction of the cost of what it will take to keep Jefferson in town. Reports indicate that Jefferson could bring in as much as $7 million per year on his new contract. In my opinion, Swearinger is not a huge step down from what Jefferson brings and will cost less than half annually than what Jefferson is going to get. For that reason, I actually prefer that they keep Swearinger and let Jefferson walk, freeing up cap space to re-sign guys like Campbell or Jones long term.
What do you think? Should D.J. Swearinger be a priority for the Arizona Cardinals to keep?