While nothing is official for a couple of more hours, this seemed like a foregone conclusion when this week started and no deal was in place between the Cardinals and Jefferson.
Well, the Cardinals wasted little time finding a veteran replacement for Jefferson, as they have come to terms on a three year contract with soon to be 33 year old Antoine Bethea, formerly of the San Francisco 49ers.
#azcardinals have reached agreement w/ SS Antoine Bethea on a 3-year deal, per source. Takes Jefferson’s spot.— Kent Somers (@kentsomers) March 9, 2017
Kent Somers was the first to report the imminent deal between Bethea and the Cardinals.
Bethea is a three time Pro Bowler, his last trip occurring in 2014 in his first year with the San Francisco 49ers.
Bethea has a Bruce Arians connection as they both were members of the 2012 Indianapolis Colts team.
Bethea brings experience and knowledge of the NFC West, but has seen a decline in his play the last three seasons.
From Dave Fucillo of Niners Nation:
The 49ers released Bethea after three seasons of his four-year deal. He had a strong first year, but a suffered a torn pectoral muscle in 2015. In 2016, he played all 16 games, but took a step back from 2014. He is a solid run defender, but a liability in pass coverage. He’s much better as a traditional in-the-box safety.
Much of that can likely be linked back to a terrible 49ers roster, but we will see what Bethea has left in the tank.
This is the first of what is likely a number of smaller moves to rebuild the Arizona Cardinals to keep them in contention in the NFC West.