After spending the past three years in San Francisco, safety Antoine Bethea will hit the open market. The 49ers have announced the release of the 32-year-old. Already flush with cap space, the 49ers will add another $5.75MM in moving on from Bethea.
An 11-year veteran who spent the first eight seasons of his career in Indianapolis, Bethea has impressively started in all 162 of his appearances since entering the NFL in 2006. He’s also a two-time Pro Bowler, with one nod having come with San Francisco in 2014, and has posted 16-game seasons in eight of the past nine campaigns. The lone exception was 2015, when Bethea only logged seven appearances. He returned to health last year to log 110 tackles and a forced fumble, though his performance ranked a below-average 66th among Pro Football Focus’ 89 qualified safeties.
Bethea doesn’t have age on his side, but given his durability and playmaking prowess (19 career picks), he could draw interest on the market. He’ll join a group of free agent safeties that also includes Tony Jefferson, Duron Harmon, Barry Church and ex-Colts teammate Darius Butler, among others.
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