It was reported last week by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport that the Oakland Raiders brought in former Arizona Cardinals safety D.J. Swearinger for a workout and now they’ve finally decided to sign him on, according to The Athletic’s Vic Tafur. Swearinger would’ve originally filled a role as a depth player, but they may be signing him out of necessity now.
The veteran safety has started 70 games over his career and has shown that he can create turnovers. He’s caught at least three interceptions each season over the last three years. The Raiders will be the fifth team he’s been apart of over his seven-year career. He hasn’t played a game since Week 4 of this season but could be thrust into a starting role for Oakland’s Week 11 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals due to an injury.
The Raiders haven’t been great at forcing turnovers this season, so adding a player like Swearinger could help in that regard.
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Karl Joseph Injury Could Keep Him Out
The Raiders deciding to pull the trigger on Swearinger could mean that Karl Joseph is going to miss some time. The team’s starting safety hurt himself after he caught the game-winning interception against the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday. Tafur also reported that he’s hearing the injury isn’t good.
Ian Rapoport reported that Joseph was going in for an MRI on Friday, but word has yet to come out about how long he could out. The only thing that is known is that he suffered a foot injury and it’s not looking good for the safety who is in a contract year. If Joseph is done for the year, that means the Raiders are without both of their starting safeties for the second half of the season. Rookie Johnathan Abram was supposed to play a large role on the defense but was done for the year after Week 1. It’s going to be up to Swearinger, Erik Harris and Curtis Riley to step up in their absences.
Joseph Was Just Starting to Heat Up
Joseph hasn’t been the most consistent player for the Raiders and has mostly disappointed since the team drafted him in the first round back in 2016, but he just put together two very strong games in a row and was responsible for game-winning plays in both games. According to Pro Football Focus, Joseph was the team’s best defender in Week 9 and had another strong performance in Week 10.
He’s in the final year of his contract, so a season-ending injury would be devastating for him. It was finally looking like he was ready to turn into the team’s safety of the future. Abram and he could’ve made a great tandem. The Raiders could always bring him back next season, but it’s hard to tell as Jon Gruden hasn’t been too keen on keeping players he didn’t draft. The question will be, has Joseph done enough this year for the team to trust that he’s worth another shot? That’s a question the team will have to answer in the offseason.