It's rare that the Texans have been involved in trades leading up to the draft, especially trades involving former high draft choices still on their rookie deals. Generally speaking, if those guys are getting playing time, they're considered foundational players, and the Texans need a whole lot more of those.
Admittedly, though, as potential starters go, the D.J. Swearinger case was a little different. The trade rumors a few weeks ago surrounding the soon to be third year safety from South Carolina were only surprising in that the Texans just don't do these types of trades. It wasn't really shocking that, if they did do a deal of this type, Swearinger would be involved.
I say this despite Texans general manager Rick Smith addressing the Swearinger trade rumors during his pre-draft press conference:
"[Swearinger is] a really good football player for us and he did a nice job last year in a role in our third down packages. He was really, really productive for us and we expect that he will do that again. I think D.J.’s abilities are even such that he can play a little bit more, even in the backend on some of the first and second down stuff. He really found himself a niche last year in some of our sub-packages."
Despite being a starter for the better part of his two seasons, Swearinger is pretty limited in where you can use him. Because his coverage skills are such a liability, he is about as boxy as you get she it comes to box safeties. So if you're gonna be a box safety, you better be a pretty good tackler, right? Here's the problem — D.J. Swearinger isn't a very good tackler. Two seasons in, and he still goes for a lot of highlight-seeking, shoulder tackles.
Sprinkle in the very un-O'Brien-y offseason stories of things like Swearinger's pit bull biting Jadeveon Clowney and sending him to the emergency room, or Swearinger's allegedly skipping out on a $20,000 invoice for improvements to his truck (including a Batman logo, which unto itself stretches the definition of the word "improvement"), and you can see where Swearinger is slowly veering into "Is he worth it?" territory, considering he's really done nothing as a pro. On the surface, none of this stuff is Conduct Policy material, they're little things for a player who's performed at a level where the coaches have a no tolerance threshold for little things.
So why do I bring all of this up? Because this morning, we all woke up to this on Swearinger's Instagram account...
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What does it mean? Has Swearinger been traded? Has Swearinger been cut? Was Swearinger hammered when he posted this? Was his account hacked? Could Rick Smith have lied to us? For what it's worth, Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio is guessing the Texans have decided to release Swearinger, but Patrick Starr who runs the State of the Texans blog (a reliable source) insists that a trade is in place.
We will keep you posted on any developments, and keep a couple of spoons handy in case we need build a memorial to Swearinger's Texans career.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast.