Bethea, 34, is very familiar with defensive coordinator James Bettcher’s 3-4 from their time with the Arizona Cardinals. He will be called upon to help fill the void from the departure of Landon Collins. Collins agreed to a six-year, $84 million free agent contract with the Washington Redskins.
Bethea was selected by the Indianapolis Colts with the 207th overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft out of Howard. In 13 NFL seasons with the Colts, Cardinals, and San Francisco 49ers, he has 1,223 combined tackles (914 solo), 31 tackles for a loss, 9.5 sacks, 26 quarterback hits, 24 interceptions, 75 passes defended, nine forced fumbles, five fumbles recovered, and a defensive touchdown.
Bethea has been named to the Pro Bowl three times (2007, 2009, 2014). He also won a Super Bowl (XLI) with the Colts.
Bethea was released by the Cardinals last week after starting all 16 games last season. He set a career high in sacks with three and also led the team in tackles (121 combined, 100 solo). In 2017, Bethea set a career-high in interceptions (five). This proves his ball skills have improved as he’s gotten older.
He is also very durable, playing at least 14 games in all but one of his NFL seasons. Bethea is a decade older than Collins but is equally adept at playing both the free and strong safety positions. He will also provide leadership and knowledge of the defense that will be useful to a more-than-likely inexperienced secondary.
The deal becomes official when the new league year (and free agency) begin tomorrow at 4:00 PM EDT.