33-Year-Old Safety – Arizona Cardinals
2018 Fantasy Football Outlook
Bethea was a tackle machine in the first two stops of his career, reaching triple-digit tackles in six of his first 11 seasons between Indianapolis and San Francisco. A bit of regression was to be exp...
Antoine Bethea Contract Information:
Signed a three-year, $12.75 million contract with the Cardinals in March of 2017.
The Cardinals plan to pick up the $1 million roster bonus owed to Bethea (pectoral) on Friday, the fifth day of the 2018 league year waiver period, John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM reports.
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|Tackles||Defensive Stats||Fumbles||Kick Ret||Punt Ret|
|2018 Proj||33||ARI||Subscribe now to see our 2018 projections for Antoine Bethea|
Age is determined on September 1st of each season.
|Snap Count||Tackles||Defensive Stats||Fumbles||Kick Ret||Punt Ret|
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A blank stat line is used above whenever a player was not on the field for any plays in the game that week.
Antoine Bethea: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
After two blatantly average seasons with the 49ers, Bethea had a resurgence in 2016, recording 110 tackles, three passes defensed, one interception and forced fumble in 16 games. It was the first time the veteran notched over 100 tackles since 2013, and he used his performance to leverage a three-year contract with the Cardinals. The 33-year-old will look to shore up an Arizona pass defense that ranked fourth worst in the league last season, while at the same time bestowing knowledge to young safety Tyrann Mathieu and second-round selection Budda Baker. While it's tough to judge just how well Bethea will fit the Cardinals' scheme, he's certainly surrounded by more secondary talent than in years past.
There may be a considerable amount of risk in a 32-year-old safety returning from a season-ending shoulder injury, especially when San Francisco was reportedly looking to move him in the offseason, but since they found no suitors, the 49ers might as well capitalize on what Bethea offers. He's one of the league's elite tacklers at safety; a great bet to breeze past 100 in a starting role. Now that he's playing for a max-tempo Chip Kelly team, Bethea could see enough snaps to have a career year, even with several excellent seasons already to his credit.
Bethea predictably produced well for IDP owners in his first season in San Francisco last year, though the change resulted in a significant drop in tackles. In his six previous seasons with Indianapolis, Bethea averaged about 109 tackles per year, but at least he offset the decrease in tackles by tying a career high with four interceptions, scoring his first touchdown. The San Francisco defense likely will regress without coach Jim Harbaugh and a number of playmakers who either retired or left in free agency. That could mean more tackle opportunities for Bethea due to longer drives and runners breaking through to the secondary.
Bethea would be listed as a top-10 or top-five IDP in the secondary if he were playing for almost any other team, but the long-time Colts star headed to San Francisco in free agency, and the 49ers tend to post modest tackle totals in the secondary. Donte Whitner averaged just 72 tackles per season the last three years for the 49ers, so Bethea's odds of maintaining his six-year average of 109 tackles per season don't seem very good, especially when you factor in the possibility of losing snaps to rookie first-round pick Jimmie Ward. But Bethea is likely better than Whitner, and he should be able to stay in the 90-tackle range with a little luck.
Bethea has shown little playmaking ability in recent years, but if you need an absolute lock for tackle production, he's arguably the best choice you could make among defensive backs. Although Bethea has just one interception the last three years, he amassed 345 tackles over that same span. He hasn't missed a game since 2007, either. Even with two tackle machines like Jerrell Freeman and Pat Angerer playing in front of him, Bethea should have plenty of cleanup work to do in the secondary with Andrew Luck forcing opponents to keep up on the scoreboard. Bethea was also highly consistent last year, making five or more stops in all but one game, and six or more tackles in 13 games.
With just 12 interceptions in his six-year career – including none in 2011 – Bethea’s ability to make plays in coverage is limited. That said, he’s one of the most reliable defensive back IDPs year after year thanks to his exceptionally consistent tackle production. Bethea has 441 tackles (301 solo) the last four years, including a career-high 139 (80 solo) in 2011. That total will likely drop in 2012 since the Colts should be both significantly better on offense and slightly better on defense – resulting in fewer snaps for Bethea. But with no missed games the last four years, Bethea should remain consistent in leagues that primarily emphasize tackle production, even if his ceiling is on the modest side.
He might not have gigantic upside, but with three consecutive years in the 100-tackle range, Bethea is hard to beat when it comes to year-to-year consistency. He has the skills to play both free and strong safety, which allows him to make plays against the run and the pass. He also hasn’t missed a game since 2007. It would be nice if Bethea could make some more big plays, but he remains a moderate-ceiling, high-floor option.
Bob Sanders has a Defensive Player of the Year award on his resume, but Bethea has been the most productive Indianapolis DB the last few seasons — at least partly because he’s done a much better job of staying on the field. Bethea fell just shy of a second consecutive 100-tackle season in 2009 and has a knack for big plays (10 INTs in the last three seasons, four in 2009). The Colts used a first-round tender to retain Bethea’s services this offseason, so he’ll be back in a familiar role making plays for Indy this fall.
With reigning NFL Player of the Year Bob Sanders fighting a variety of injuries, Bethea stepped up his production in a big way, leading the Colts’ secondary with 101 tackles and two interceptions and playing all 16 games. Sanders is obviously the bigger name, but at this stage of their careers, Bethea is a far safer pick in IDP leagues. He had 90 tackles in 2006 before being limited by injury in 2007. If healthy again for a full season, Bethea can be counted on for strong a tackle total.
Bethea dropped from 90 tackles in 14 games as a rookie in 2006 to 65 stops in 13 last season. He did increase his interceptions from one to four, a sign that he is roaming more freely and taking more chances. This makes him less predictable than a player who relies more on his tackling ability. Bethea has missed a total of five games the past two seasons, another reason to pass on drafting him too early. Just don't avoid him too long, because at 24 years old in July, there are still a lot of reasons to like Bethea. He has the tools to be a hard-hitting safety with decent interception potential for years to come.
Fellow rookies Dawan Landry and Donte Whitner had flashier stats, but Bethea was just as impressive last year. He had 90 tackles and a pick in 14 games, but that's really 12-and-a-half since he left one game early and another at the half. That puts Bethea on pace to match Whitner’s strong year. It makes sense, since he’s a similarly bruising hitter. He bursts into the box in run support, takes excellent angles and is fundamentally sound in open space. His bad ‘tude is just what a weakened Colts linebacker and secondary corps needs. Granted, his exceptional tackling came in a season largely absent of the talented Bob Sanders. Will he be just as prolific with Sanders back? The Colts don’t figure to be as poor against the run with a full season of Sanders, but Bethea is good enough on run support to create his own opportunities.
Ads depth in the secondary with good speed.