PFF: Tony Jefferson is second-best value in the NFL

Nov 6, 2016, 11:27 AM | Updated: 8:16 pm
Arizona Cardinals strong safety Tony Jefferson (22) celebrates his fumble recovery against the Tamp...
Arizona Cardinals strong safety Tony Jefferson (22) celebrates his fumble recovery against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Tony Jefferson came back to the Cardinals on a one-year deal, and he is making the most of it.

The fourth-year safety has posted 56 tackles, one sack, two passes defensed, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries in eight games. Because of his play — and minimal contract — the folks over at ProFootballFocus have ranked him as the second-best value in the NFL this season, behind only Houston Texans cornerback A.J. Bouye.

Entered league: 2013 undrafted free agent

2016 overall grade: 89.8 (No. 2 safety)

2016 position salary ranking: 46th-highest-paid safety

Since signing as an undrafted free agent, Jefferson has played over 2,400 snaps for the Cardinals the past three and a half seasons. And like Bouye, Jefferson re-signed the one-year tender for $1.67 million and has seen 2016 be by far his best season to date. He is currently allowing only a 44 percent completion rate into his coverage, as well as an NFL passer rating of 51.9—the lowest among safeties with more than seven targets into their coverage. Jefferson is also dominating in the run game, as he has yet to miss a tackle, and is the top safety in the league in run-stop percentage (9.2). Both he and Bouye will look to cash in as unrestricted free agents this offseason.

Early in training camp, Jefferson talked about how he lost weight over the offseason in an effort to get faster and quicker on the field, and he had gotten his body fat down to 5 percent.

It’s clearly worked, as he has been improved in coverage while maintaining his ability to tackle in the box. Because of this, as PFF noted, Jefferson is positioning himself for a nice contract when this season is over.


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PFF: Tony Jefferson is second-best value in the NFL