The Buccaneers, the team with the top waiver priority this offseason, were awarded D.J. Swearinger on waivers yesterday after the safety was cut on Monday by the Texans. A report earlier today indicated that the Jets also submitted a waiver claim for Swearinger, but Tampa Bay and New York were far from the only clubs involved.
According to Field Yates of ESPN.com (Twitter link), a total of eight teams placed a claim on Swearinger. In addition to the Bucs and Jets, the Jaguars, Raiders, Falcons, Bills, Steelers, and Ravens all put in claims for the former Texan, says Yates. The Browns were also believed to have interest in Swearinger, but they – and perhaps other potential suitors – must have been hoping he’d clear waivers and become a free agent.
Since Swearinger was a second-round pick in 2013, his rookie contract still has two years left on it, and is fairly reasonable, featuring base salaries of about $722K and $881K for 2015 and 2016, respectively. That’s an affordable flier for virtually any NFL team to take, which explains why so many clubs placed waiver claims rather than waiting for Swearinger to become a free agent.
Presumably, those eight teams that put in claims were fonder of Swearinger’s performance in 2014 than Pro Football Focus was, or at least view him as a player who has the potential to improve. According to PFF (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.
While Swearinger drew plenty of interest on waivers, it doesn’t appear that any of those teams were willing to give up anything of real value for him, since the Texans reportedly tried to trade the safety before cutting him.