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Tony Jefferson Heads To Baltimore

Posted Mar 9, 2017

Safety gets four-year deal with Ravens; Swearinger goes to Washington

Safety Tony Jefferson is signing with the Ravens.

Tony Jefferson has been one of the funniest players in the Cardinals’ locker room since he showed up in 2013, quick with a joke or a jab for anyone who was around.

But the safety also had a bit of anger in him – upset he went undrafted in 2013, irritated he received no interest in the restricted free-agent market last offseason when the Cardinals gave him a low tender, exasperated when he didn’t make the Pro Bowl after a big 2016.

“I’m just tired of hearing that,” Jefferson said in December. “On Twitter it’s always, ‘Man, he should have got a big contract. Man, he should have gotten drafted. Man, he should have been a Pro Bowler.’ I need to hear ‘Congrats’ at some point, you feel me? So that’s what I’m going to be working on this offseason.”

Thursday, Jefferson earned his “Congrats.”

With multiple options, Jefferson ended up agreeing to a four-year contract with the Baltimore Ravens worth a reported $36 million.

The Cardinals lost a second safety Thursday when fellow free agent D.J. Swearinger agreed to a three-year contract with Washington.

Like former teammate Calais Campbell, it became clear Jefferson’s market value would far exceed what the Cards were willing to spend to keep him in Arizona. In late December, Jefferson said he and the Cardinals were not close on what it would take to keep him a Cardinal, and that never really changed.

Jefferson started 32 of his 63 games with the Cards, with five sacks and two interceptions.

“Just wanna say thank you for being my home the past 4 years, you fans are truly special and I will always cherish the moments we had,” Jefferson posted on his Instagram Thursday. “Thank your Mr. Bidwill, Steve Keim , & Bruce Arians for giving me the opportunity to showcase my talent I was molded into a winning culture and it will stick with me the rest of my career due to the leadership and standard you guys set.

“To my teammates I loved every single one you like brothers I really did , it was a joy to come to work everyday because of you guys. S/O to my coaches for challenging me and pushing me to my limits, Im a better player for it. #Birdgang I love you straight up!” 

The Cardinals signed veteran safety Antoine Bethea on Thursday to help mitigate Jefferson's departure.

The remaining safeties on the roster include Tyrann Mathieu, Tyvon Branch, Christian Bryant and Trevon Hartfield and potentially Harlan Miller, a cornerback who finished the season playing safety because of injuries.

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