Boston signed with the Cardinals earlier this week after finishing the 2017 season as a top-10 safety in pass coverage, per Pro Football Focus. The 34-year-old Bethea, on the other hand, received a slightly lower grade in coverage this past season but was significantly better in run support. However, it might not matter who is formally considered the starter at free safety here, as both defensive backs could see significant playing time under creative head coach Steve Wilks.
It was an easy decision for the Cardinals to retain Bethea after the veteran safety enjoyed a productive first season in the desert, recording 57 tackles, a forced fumble and a career-high five interceptions in 15 games before missing the finale with a torn pectoral muscle. The 33-year-old has two years remaining on his contract and is due a $3 million base salary in 2018 in addition to the roster bonus.
Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians announced earlier Tuesday that Bethea came out of Sunday's win over the Giants with a torn pectoral muscle, so the safety's move to IR was fully expected. Bethea's absence for the season finale against the Seahawks leaves Harlan Miller as the only backup behind starting safeties Tyrann Mathieu and Budda Baker.
Bethea suffered a torn pectoral muscle in Sunday's 23-0 win over the Giants and will be held out for the Dec. 31 season finale against the Seahawks, Darren Urban of the Cardinals' official site reports.
Though Bethea sustained the season-ending injury in the Week 16 victory, he at least submitted his best outing of the season in the process, picking off two passes and collecting three tackles. Bethea finished the 2017 campaign with 57 stops, a team-leading five picks and nine pass breakups across 15 games, more than validating the Cardinals' decision to ink him to a three-year, $12.75 million deal in the offseason. Head coach Bruce Arians said Tuesday it was still being decided whether Bethea would require surgery to address the injury.
Following back-to-back DNPs with a limited showing Friday, Bethea fit in enough activity to appease the Cardinals' training staff. On the season, Bethea primarily has served as a reserve, yet he's still posted 54 tackles, three interceptions, one sack and one forced fumble due to Arizona's propensity to use five, six or more defensive backs on any given play.
|5||10/7/18||@ SF||4:25 pm|
|6||10/14/18||@ MIN||1:00 pm|
|Bye: Week 9|
|10||11/11/18||@ KC||1:00 pm|
|12||11/25/18||@ LAC||4:05 pm|
|13||12/2/18||@ GB||1:00 pm|
|15||12/16/18||@ ATL||1:00 pm|
|17||12/30/18||@ SEA||4:25 pm|
|2014||San Francisco 49ers||16||86||72.0||14||1||4||71||17.8||49||1||10|
|2015||San Francisco 49ers||7||44||32.0||12||1||0||0||0.0||0||0||2|
|2016||San Francisco 49ers||16||110||95.0||15||0||1||0||0.0||0||0||3|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|
|2014||San Francisco 49ers||16||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||0|
|2015||San Francisco 49ers||7||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|2016||San Francisco 49ers||16||0||0||1||0||1||5||1||0|