D.J. Swearinger

Raiders Make Flurry Of Roster Moves

Oakland is coming off three straight lopsided defeats, and in the wake of the embarrassments Jon Gruden is reshuffling his roster. The Raiders are waiving veteran defensive players D.J. Swearinger, Preston Brown, and Terrell McClain while signing running back Rod Smith, the team announced today.

They also placed rookie tight end Foster Moreau on injured reserve, which was expected. Oakland has given up at least 40 points in back to back weeks, and Gruden made it clear he isn’t happy with the defensive effort. Brown, an inside linebacker, had been with the Bengals for most of this season and was starting for them before he was scooped up by the Raiders prior to this week’s loss to the Titans. Brown started almost every game for the Bills from 2014-17, but he lasted only one game with Oakland. McClain started the season with Kansas City before latching on with the Raiders for the last few games.

Swearinger was picked up by Oakland after the Cardinals cut him earlier this season, and he started three of his four games with the Raiders including their most recent loss to Tennessee. He’ll get a shot elsewhere in 2020 if not sooner. Smith is a former Cowboys backup running back, and his signing could indicate that workhorse back Josh Jacobs won’t be ready to return this week.

The shakeup comes as the Raiders’ playoff hopes have been all but dashed. Just a few weeks ago they were looking good at 6-4, but they collapsed in epic fashion. Gruden promised there would be changes following their most recent loss, and he delivered by sending almost all of their recently added guys packing.

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Raiders To Sign D.J. Swearinger

Veteran safety D.J. Swearinger has found a new home. The Raiders are signing Swearinger to a deal, sources told Vic Tafur of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Oakland worked out Swearinger earlier this week, and apparently liked what they saw. With their win over the Chargers on Thursday Night Football the Raiders are now 5-4, and right in the thick of things in the AFC playoff hunt. Their secondary has lagged all season, so it’s not shocking that they’re bringing in some veteran help for the postseason push. Safety Karl Joseph also suffered a significant foot injury Thursday night, which might’ve contributed to this decision.

Swearinger has shown he’s capable of playing at a fairly high level in the past, but has often had falling outs with his coaching staffs. Originally drafted by the Texans in the second-round back in 2013, he was cut after just two seasons following disagreements with Bill O’Brien.

He has since spent time with the Buccaneers, the Cardinals on two different occasions, and the Redskins. After a public beef with Washington defensive coordinator Greg Manusky he was waived toward the end of last season, and claimed by Arizona. He played every snap through the first four games of this season with the Cardinals, but was then suddenly cut. Oakland’s secondary has been pretty banged up and promising rookie safety Johnathan Abram is on injured reserve, so they needed some depth at the position.

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Raiders Work Out D.J. Swearinger

The Raiders will work out D.J. Swearinger on Monday, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). The safety has been on the open market since late September when the Cardinals cut him loose. 

Before his release from Arizona, Swearinger started in all four of the Cardinals’ September games and played on every single snap. After viewing Swearinger as one of the NFL’s better safeties from 2016-18, Pro Football Focus ranked the seventh-year veteran as its No. 73 safety through the first quarter of the season. On the flipside – he’s still only 28 and the former second-round pick boasts 70 career starts for the Cardinals, Texans, Redskins, and Buccaneers.

Swearinger could join the Raiders’ safety group hours after Karl Joseph broke up Matthew Stafford‘s pass to seal the win against the Lions. The Raiders now sit a 4-4 with a chance to get above the .500 mark with a win over the Chargers on Thursday night.

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Cardinals To Release S D.J. Swearinger

After using their top waiver position on D.J. Swearinger late last season, the Cardinals are releasing the veteran safety, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter).

Unlike last season, when the vested veteran landed on waivers due to being cut after the trade deadline, Swearinger will go straight to free agency. Swearinger has started all four Cardinals games this season, so this move comes as a bit of a surprise.

Washington waived Swearinger in December after his critical comments of the team’s coaching staff. The Cards picked up his contract, a three-year, $13.5MM deal. That pact was set to expire after the 2019 season. The former Texans second-round pick is only in his age-28 season. He has gone through two stints with the Cardinals, having initially played for Arizona from 2015-16.

After viewing Swearinger as one of the NFL’s better safeties from 2016-18, Pro Football Focus has slotted the seventh-year veteran as its No. 73 safety through four Arizona games. He played on 100% of the Cards’ snaps. Rookie Deionte Thompson has only seen 27 snaps; that figure is likely to increase beginning in Week 5. The Cardinals also used a fifth-round supplemental draft pick on Washington State’s Jalen Thompson and signed Chris Banjo last week.

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East Notes: Eagles, Sproles, Dolphins, Redskins

The Eagles will have plenty of roster decisions to make heading into the 2019 season. Two of the names at the top of the list include veteran running Darren Sproles and oft-injured linebacker Jordan Hicks, Zack Rosenblatt of NJ.com writes.

After originally declaring this as his final season, Sproles has looked like a vintage version of himself, leading many to wonder if he would come back for his 15th NFL season. One person who would love to have the pass-catching back return is Eagles head coach Doug Pederson.

“I think Darren Sproles would be a great addition” for 2019, Pederson said. “He’s a great leader. he works hard, he’s a great mentor to a lot of young players. I think anybody would love to have a Darren Sproles. I mean, I would.”

He didn’t offer the same ringing endorsement for Hicks. Despite being a noted playmaker who ranks third on the team in tackles in 2018, the Texas Longhorns product has missed 21 games in his first four seasons, including four this season.

“I’ll worry about the roster in the spring when I get to the spring,” Pederson said. “Jordan’s been a big part of our success here and he helped us win the game last week and he’ll help us win another on Sunday.”

Here’s more from around the East:

  • Sticking with the Eagles, thanks once again to Nick Foles, the team is currently in the fight for the last playoff spot in the NFC. Should they make it, there will undoubtedly be a contingent of fans hoping Philly will bring back the veteran in 2019. However, that is unlikely to happen, writes Sports Illustrated’s Andrew Brandt. With Foles on the books for $20MM next year, it is much more likely the Eagles do not exercise his option and make him a free agent. If he goes on another magical run in January, however, every option has to be on the table.
  • Dolphins vice president of football operations Mike Tannenbaum is not expected back with the team in 2019, Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald writes. The move would end his four-year run with the team. Head coach Adam Gase is expected to be retained. Salguero also has heard a few of the names as possible replacements include Dan Marino and Dawn Aponte.
  • Following the release of D.J. Swearinger, one of the Redskins’ top needs this season has quickly become safety, Ben Standig of NBC Sports writes. Coupled with the potential departure of Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, the Redskins would be down both of their safeties heading into 2019. Should they address the issue in the draft, the team could target Alabama’s Deionte Thompson or Virginia’s Juan Thornhill, two of the top-ranked prospects at free and strong safety, respectively.

Raiders, Packers Tried To Claim Swearinger

The Raiders and Packers both submitted a waiver claim on new Cardinals safety D.J. Swearinger, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Ultimately, the Cardinals won out due to their top priority and 3-12 record, but Swearinger had interest before the claim was finalized.

Swearinger was in the midst of a productive campaign before the Redskins cut him loose this week. The 27-year-old compiled 53 tackles, one sack, three forced fumbles, and four interceptions in 15 games and the metrics at Pro Football Focus were also high on him this season. Swearinger presently ranks 11th out of 86 eligible safeties.

Swearinger was openly critical of the Redskins’ decision making this year and his vocalness likely led to his release. In any event, Washington’s loss is Arizona’s gain. The Cardinals have secured a Pro Bowl alternate on the cheap and they’ll only be on the hook for paying his $176K paycheck in the final week of the season. After that, the Cards have the ability to keep him for $4.25MM in 2019 or let him go without penalty since that salary is non-guaranteed.

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D.J. Swearinger Claimed By The Cardinals

It didn’t take long for former Redskins safety D.J. Swearinger to find a new suitor. Less than a day after being released by Washington, the veteran defender announced he was joining the Cardinals in a post on Instagram

The Cardinals had priority for waiver claims and didn’t want to take the chance on the South Carolina product being tabbed by another team.

In the post, Swearinger addressed his release from the Redskins after he criticized defensive coordinator Greg Manusky’s playcalling in a loss at Tennessee.

“I Gave That Organization My Heart And Soul And They Spit In My Face For Giving My Opinion Only To Better The Team!! Right Wrong Or Indifferent I’ve Found My Peace And Learned From It And I Am So Excited To Go Back To The Sunny Desert Arizona Like I Never Left!”

Redskins head coach Jay Gruden addressed Swearinger’s release by saying:

“We made it pretty clear that we try to keep our business within these walls,” Gruden said, “and we’ve had many a talk before about that and unfortunately he chose to go to the media again and talk about his displeasure with some of the calls. I know Coach Manusky works extremely hard, as does the rest of the staff, to put together a game plan, and unfortunately we didn’t get it done.”

By joining the Cardinals, Swearinger returns to Arizona where he spent parts of two seasons before joining Washington. In 2016, the defender impressed with 64 tackles, three interceptions and two sacks, earning him a three-year, $13.5MM deal with the Redskins. The Redskins will save $4.5MM off their 2019 salary cap with the move, and the Cardinals will be responsible for paying his $176K paycheck for Week 17.

 

Redskins Cut D.J. Swearinger

The Redskins made a surprising move this morning, releasing one of their defensive leaders. Safety D.J. Swearinger told Grant Paulsen on 106.7 The Fan that he was called into Jay Gruden‘s office this morning and informed of his release (via ESPN’s John Keim on Twitter).

The veteran has been vocal about his team’s woes this season, and that continued following Saturday’s loss to the Titans. Swearinger specifically called out defensive coordinator Greg Manusky, saying his coach’s play-calling allowed Tennessee to secure a go-ahead score. Swearinger pointed to Manusky’s decision to go man-to-man on a third down play against Titans backup Blaine Gabbert; the play ended in a holding penalty on Fabian Moreau.

“In that type of situation, you got a backup quarterback, I wouldn’t call man-to-man to make it easy for him,” Swearinger told NBC Sports Washington. “He hadn’t practiced all week. So, disguise a zone and let him throw the ball right to us. We didn’t make the plays we needed to, but when it’s crunch time, put us somewhere where we can make a play. Don’t put us in man-to-man where it’s easy for the quarterback. It’s too easy for the quarterback.”

Following a standout 2017 season, Swearinger was having another productive campaign in 2018. The 27-year-old had compiled 53 tackles, one sack, three forced fumbles, and four interceptions in 15 games. Pro Football Focus was also fond of his performance this season; the site ranked Swearinger 11th among 86 eligible safeties. The safety had played all but one of Washington’s defensive snaps, and he earned a spot as a Pro Bowl alternate.

There should be some interest in Swearinger’s services, although the safety is subject to waivers. If a team places a claim, they’d be responsible for paying his $176K paycheck for Week 17. SiriusXM’s Adam Caplan points out (on Twitter) that the veteran’s $4.25MM 2019 base salary was not guaranteed. The move will provide Washington with $4.5MM in cap space and $1.33MM in dead money.

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Contract Details: Jackson, Whitworth, Hyde

Let’s take a look at details of some recent free agent contracts:

  • Wide receiver DeSean Jackson‘s deal with the Buccaneers is a three-year, $33.5MM pact that features $20MM in guarantees and $23.5MM over the first two seasons, according to Tom Pelissero of USA Today (Twitter link).
  • Safety D.J. Swearinger‘s new deal with the Redskins includes $9MM in guaranteed money, reports Master Tesfatsion of the Washington Post (via Twitter). The journeyman will earn $3MM in 2018 and $4.25MM in 2019.
  • Tackle Andrew Whitworth‘s new deal with the Rams is worth $36MM with $15MM guaranteed, but a big chunk of that $15MM could be realized in 2017. As Jason La Canfora tweets, the lineman’s $12.5MM 2017 salary is guaranteed, and he’s owed another $2.5MM bonus. Therefore, the contract could be interpreted as a one-year deal worth $15MM.
  • Micah Hyde‘s new contract will count $4MM against the Bills salary cap next season, reports ESPN’s Mike Rodak. The safety’s 2017 salary is guaranteed, while the 2018 salary is guaranteed for injury (it becomes fully guaranteed on the fifth day of the 2018 league year).

Contract Details: Garcon, Baker, Klein, Jones

Let’s take a look at some details of the free agent contracts signed today:

  • Chris Baker, DL (Buccaneers): Three years, $15.75MM. $9MM guaranteed. $1MM in sack incentives each season (Twitter link via Master Tesfatsion of the Washington Post).
  • Jack Crawford, DL (Falcons): Three years, $10.3MM. $3.75MM in 2017 (Twitter link via Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com).
  • Pierre Garcon, WR (49ers): Two years, $23MM. $17MM guaranteed. Options for 2019 ($6MM), 2020 ($8.9MM), and 2021 ($9.6MM) (Twitter link via Tom Pelissero of USA Today).
  • Landry Jones, QB (Steelers): Two years, $4.4MM. $600K signing bonus (Twitter link via Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL.com).
  • A.J. Klein, LB (Saints): Four years, $24MM. $4MM signing bonus. $9.4MM guaranteed. 2020 season will void Klein is on Saints roster on last day of 2019 league year (via Nick Underhill of the Advocate).
  • Jeff Locke, P (Colts): Two years, $3.45MM. $1.25MM guaranteed (Twitter links via Ben Goessling of ESPN.com and Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star).
  • Ryan Mallett, QB (Ravens): One year, $2MM. $1MM signing bonus (Twitter link via Pelissero).
  • Akeem Spence, DL (Lions): Three years, $9MM. $3.5MM guaranteed. $1MM available via escalators (Twitter link via Peliserro).
  • D.J. Swearinger, S (Redskins): Three years, $13.5MM. $9MM guaranteed (Twitter link via Kinkhabwala).