With free agency at full swing, the Arizona Cardinals have already lost Tony Jefferson to the Baltimore Ravens and D.J. Swearinger to the Washington Redskins. The team responded with a move of their own by signing Antoine Bethea, previously with the San Francisco 49ers. These moves left people questioning the future of Tyvon Branch with the team. Looks like he will stay put for now.
The nine-year veteran has decided to take a pay cut to remain with the Arizona Cardinals, first reported by ESPN’s Field Yates.
Source: Cardinals S Tyvon Branch has taken a pay cut for 2017 from $4M to $2M. Creates some cap space for Arizona.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) March 10, 2017
The Cardinals signed Branch to a two-year deal on March 10, 2016 to replace Rashad Johnson. Since then the veteran strong safety started five out of six games this past season. His 2016 performance was far from good and was a season to forget. He was placed on injury reserve with a groin injury but was designated to return, beating out Chris Johnson who was also on IR at the time. Not too long after his return, he re-injured his groin in Week 14 against the Miami Dolphins and was placed on IR for the remainder of the season.
With the recent losses of the Cardinals’ defensive backs to free agency, Branch is one of the few remaining safeties on the team that know James Bettcher’s system. His pass coverage and run defense was sluggish even when he was healthy but his valuable experience with the team is important. He is, by no means, guaranteed to make the 53-man roster even with the change in salary. Let’s hope he can rebound and erase the memory of his 2016 campaign.