Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Swearinger can be Cardinals' Pro Bowler without playing for them

December 26, 2018 - 8:19 pm

D.J. Swearinger landed in a familiar environment after being unceremoniously released by the Washington Redskins on Monday, getting claimed off of waivers by the Arizona Cardinals, where he played from 2015-16.

According to ESPN, the Cardinals were one of three teams willing to take on Swearinger's baggage and remaining $4.5 million contract. The other two teams were the Oakland Raiders and Green Bay Packers, who lost out as a result of Arizona's abysmal record and higher waiver order.

Even though he knows his way around the building in Glendale, that doesn't mean he'll find his way to the field on Sunday. He has little time to get into the playbook and likely would not improve the defense on the final week of the season. This was a move made for next season, or at least a few weeks from now.

Indeed, the first time that Swearinger suits up for the Cardinals might be in the 2019 Pro Bowl, played in Orlando on January 27. The NFL confirmed to NBC Sports on Wednesday that if Swearinger, who was elected as a Pro Bowl alternate as a member of the Redskins, will wear his new team's helmet if he plays in the game.

106.7 Exclusive: Swearinger breaks the news of his release

Bold prediction: if he gets selected, you better believe Swearinger will be there. The Redskins aren't going to the playoffs. The Cardinals definitely aren't going to the playoffs. Swearinger has no known injuries and nothing to do at the end of January. This is also a great time to reacquaint himself with new old teammate Patrick Peterson, the Cardinals' only other Pro Bowler.

The Pro Bowl is a media spectacle where they happen to play an exhibition that resembles football. Most of the week is consumed with interviews, and Swearinger fears no microphone.

The disappointing part in all of this is that Swearinger will not get to wear his alma mater's helmet in the game as a true free agent. The NFL indicated that they would not have allowed this, but it would have been interesting to see what they made him do in that situation. Perhaps wear an NFL logo instead?

Either way, the Redskins miss out on a Pro Bowl-quality player, miss out on the marketing of that Pro Bowl appearance, and will likely get dragged through the mud for an otherwise quiet week of January.

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