Should Eagles Consider Claiming D.J. Swearinger?

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By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor

The Redskins have parted ways with safety D.J. Swearinger, according to Craig Hoffman of 106 The Fan in Washington D.C.

Swearinger has four interceptions, 10 defensed passes, three forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, a sack and 51 tackles this season. He was also ranked as the fifth best safety in the league through the first 15 weeks of the season by Pro Football Focus.

The Redskins losing a key defensive player prior to their match-up with the Birds is good news in itself for Eagles fans.

Swearinger can provide key information about the Redskins defense to help the Eagles beat the Skins in week 17, even though he likely wouldn’t play. Getting him into playoff games would almost certainly be an upgrade over Corey Graham and help the Eagles in their search to repeat as Super Bowl Champions.

Beyond that, Rodney McLeod is coming off a serious injury and has a huge cap hit in 2019. Swearinger would likely still be an upgrade of McLeod with a lower cap hit. Even if the Eagles choose to keep McLeod by restructuring his deal or signing him to a new deal, having a back-up safety as skilled as either of these is a good problem to have.

Swearinger also played some corner in college. He, like Malcolm Jenkins and Avonte Maddox, may be able to provide versatility in the secondary. If the Eagles move Rasul Douglas to safety, that would leave the Eagles with four players able to play anywhere in the secondary in a pinch. Such a scenario is amazing to think about.

The reason for his release was not his play or an injury, however. He was released for criticizing his defensive coordinator in the media. That type of behavior would not fly in Philadelphia for sure.

With that said, the Eagles could still submit a claim for Swearinger. The Eagles have a strong locker room with leaders everywhere. For a defensive player like Swearinger, Fletcher Cox and Jim Schwartz will not take that sort of behavior. His fellow safety Malcolm Jenkins also sets the perfect example for how to express yourself publicly and in the locker room. It is the ideal location for him to learn. Don’t forget about Doug Pederson, either.

Over the past two season, the Eagles have taken on two other players who have had issues with their criticism in the media: Jay Ajayi and Michael Bennett. It is hard to argue that the Eagles have had a difficult season for much of the year, but neither player has said anything to the media. Instead, they have become locker room leaders. Bennett recently said he wants to stay in Philly. Maybe he, too, could turn into a role model for Swearinger.

Certainly there is a risk involved in claiming Swearinger, but the long term potential is undeniable and may be worth the risk. The question may come down to how the Eagles believe Swearinger would mesh (or not) with the players and culture already in place.

Update: It seems that the Eagles (and every other team in the league) never had a shot at claiming the safety. Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that he was claimed by the Cardinals.

At this point in the season, the waiver wire goes in order from worst record to best. That puts the Eagles 18th in line. The Cardinals are the worst team in the league and, as such, were the first team in the waiver wire order. That means no other team could have gotten Swearinger.

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