Two years after selecting him in the second round of the draft, the Texans are exploring the possibility of trading safety D.J. Swearinger, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). Per Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle, Texans GM Rick Smith said today that there’s “a lot of information and misinformation out there” at this time of year, and called Swearinger a “really good football player for us,” but never explicitly denied shopping the safety.
As the Chronicle piece notes, Swearinger has surrendered some big plays on the field for the Texans, and has struggled to fit in with the team’s off-field culture. According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Swearinger allowed opposing quarterbacks to compile a 99.2 passer rating to go along with five touchdowns on 59 passes into his coverage last season. Overall, he ranked as the league’s 78th-best safety out of 87 qualified players.
The Texans appear to be overhauling the safety position this offseason, with Kendrick Lewis and Danieal Manning both hitting the free agent market. Lewis signed with Baltimore, while Manning remains available. Houston signed former Bronco Rahim Moore in free agency, and could look to add another safety to the mix through the draft, particularly if the team finds a taker for Swearinger.
Swearinger, 23, has about $460K in dead money left on his deal, and would have cap numbers below $1MM for the next two seasons for a new team if he’s traded.