On Monday morning it was announced that the Washington Redskins had released safety D.J. Swearinger. Swearinger was cut due to repeated public criticism of the coaching staff. However, he has been an excellent player this season and should draw interest from many teams, including the New York Giants.
Swearinger As A Player
D.J. Swearinger is a strong safety who spent his last two seasons with the Redskins. Swearinger has a combined 51 tackles this season, and 79 tackles last season. He played primarily as a strong safety after the Redskins traded for Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, but he has the ability to play free safety too. Swearinger is 27 years old and has played for four teams in his six year career. The hard-hitting safety forced three fumbles while additionally recording one fumble recovery and even one sack this season. In two seasons with Washington, Swearinger totaled 20 passes defended and eight interceptions. This is consistent high-level play by the veteran that the Giants lack from that position.
How Could He Fit In The Giants’ Defense?
For the Redskins this season, Swearinger played strong safety. The Giants have former all-pro Landon Collins on their roster as a strong safety, so it may look like they have no need for Swearinger. However, Collins has just undergone surgery and is a free agent this offseason. If the Giants decide not to resign Collins, Swearinger is a player they would take a look at. If the Giants do resign Collins, there are still reasons why they might consider signing Swearinger.
Firstly, a position change could be on the horizon for Landon Collins. Collins is a run stuffing strong safety who plays like more of a linebacker than a safety. This is due to Collins’s lack of coverage ability. Collins was getting picked on by opposing teams in coverage all season leading up to his injury. Most notably was the Bears game where running back Tarik Cohen hauled in 12 receptions for 156 yards, including a 46 yard reception in which Collins was in coverage.
Due to his inability to play as a coverage safety, Collins could have his position switched to become a full-time linebacker. This would not be the first time defensive coordinator James Bettcher has done something of the sorts. During his time in Arizona, Bettcher switched safety Deone Bucannon over to linebacker due to his inability to cover.
In this scenario, Landon Collins would move down to linebacker and Swearinger would play strong safety. This would be a great move for the Giants, however, it would still leave a gaping whole at the free safety position.
Another way the Giants could use Swearinger would be by moving him over to the free safety position. Swearinger is more of a run support safety than a coverage safety, but for a run support safety he is great in coverage. He also had four interceptions this season and 10 passes defended.
The Washington safety is also the highest graded defensive back covering in-routes this season, according to Pro Football Focus. He played strong safety with Haha Clinton-Dix playing opposite of him at free safety with Washington. Those two elevated each other’s play and the pairing of Collins and Swearinger would likely do the same.
The Giants have holes at multiple positions and safety is one of them. With the inconsistent play of Curtis Riley, it is likely the Giants will be in the market for another safety this offseason. Multiple names will come up when discussing the Giants’ options, and D.J. Swearinger needs to be one of them.