The Arizona Cardinals reportedly signed a safety in free agency already, agreeing to terms with Tyvon Branch, but Pro Football Focus was not quick to forget a Cardinals restricted free agent from the secondary.
PFF named Tony Jefferson one of their five restricted free agents worthy of consideration. Jefferson received the “low tender” from the Cardinals, which surprised PFF’s John Breitenbach.
The decision to tender only a low-level offer to Arizona safety Tony Jefferson was a surprise. Jefferson played over 900 snaps, including the playoffs, in 2015, helping the Cardinals to the NFC Championship game.
Breitenbach notes that Jefferson was PFF’s 18th-overall ranked safety, calling him a “reliable safety with lots of upside.”
That upside comes with his tackling, where Jefferson thrived last season.
Jefferson missed just 7-of-90 tackles last season, showing a propensity to prevent big plays rather than make them. For a safety, who represents the last line of defense, the ability to bring runners down in the open field is crucial. Jefferson’s low-level tender offers the remaining 31 teams a chance to snatch a talented starter away from the Cardinals.
The 24-year-old undrafted safety out of Oklahoma played some of his best football in the playoffs. Jefferson had 13 tackles and two pass deflections in the 2015-16 postseason.
Cardinals safety Rashad Johnson is also a free agent. He is reportedly being pursued by the Oakland Raiders.
Denver Broncos running back C.J. Anderson, Atlanta Falcons right tackle Ryan Schraeder, Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Kamar Aiken and Houston Texans outside linebacker John Simon were the other four players on the list.
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