Antoine Bethea has signed a three-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals today, according to Kent Summers of azcentral sports. Bethea, 32, was released by the San Francisco 49ers on Tuesday along with wide receiver Torrey Smith (who has since signed with the Philadelphia Eagles). Bethea spent the past three seasons with the San Francisco 49ers after signing as a free agent in 2014.
#azcardinals have reached agreement w/ SS Antoine Bethea on a 3-year deal, per source. Takes Jefferson’s spot.
— Kent Somers (@kentsomers) March 9, 2017
Antoine Bethea Signs Three-Year Deal with Arizona Cardinals
Bethea seems to be another casualty of the coaching shift in San Francisco, with the defense expected to undergo significant changes under new head coach Kyle Shanahan. His age surely doesn’t help his case, as Bethea will turn 33 before the beginning of the 2017 NFL season and the 49ers are looking to start a bit of a youth movement to help replenish their depleted secondary (stemming from the early-retirement exodus that plagued them prior to last season).
Drafted in the 6th round of the 2006 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts, Bethea helped the Colts secondary manage the NFL’s second-ranked pass defense in his rookie season. He went on to win Super Bowl XLI in the same year. After eight seasons with the Colts, Bethea signed a three-year deal with the San Francisco 49ers in 2014. A three-time Pro-Bowler, and one time All-Pro nominee, Bethea offers a solid understanding of the defensive backfield and will provide good support for a Cardinals team that was looking for a replacement for safety Tony Jefferson.
With no way to feasibly re-sign Jefferson to a long term deal (due to an expected long-term deal for outside linebacker Chandler Jones), Bethea provides a cheap stopgap for the Cardinals’ secondary for the upcoming season.