When free agency opened Thursday afternoon, the Washington Redskins had several things on their wish list of positional needs. One of these requirements has haunted them for as many years as the franchise has mourned the last great player they had at that position. The Redskins were able to secure the services of hard-hitting safety D.J. Swearinger, who just happens to list former Redskins great Sean Taylor as his idol. Swearinger also lists his hometown as Greenwood, South Carolina, the same as Redskins defensive back Josh Norman, the player who will likely act as Swearinger's mentor in Washington.

Redskins filled major need at a reasonable price

In 35 career starts, Swearinger has 177 tackles with three sacks, six interceptions, five forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. The contract the Redskins were able to sign him to was for three years, $13.5 million, nine million guaranteed with a $4 million dollar signing bonus. Swearinger will make $6 million in his first season.

After being drafted in the second-round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Houston Texans, Swearinger spent two seasons with the Texans, then went to the Bucs and last year he spent the season with the Cardinals. In 13 games started at free safety with Arizona last year, Swearinger recorded 56 tackles, two sacks, and three interceptions without giving up a single touchdown reception in coverage.

Redskins add much needed defensive help

For the Redskins, the addition of Swearinger and the shift of positions to safety for Su’a Cravens equal a safety set that both idolized Sean Taylor when they were younger.

Cravens wears Taylor’s number 36 from his rookie season in Washington; the same number Swearinger has worn since he started playing football.

The duo could form an interesting combination of raw talent that can cover any tight end in the game, something the Redskins secondary has had issues with for years.

The move also gives Washington some flexibility in the draft, regarding not reaching for a player who probably shouldn’t start immediately just because they have to fill a need. It’s a sensible move that gives Washington a starter on the back-end day one, and it didn’t break the bank.

The Redskins still need to make an attempt at addressing some depth issues in their secondary, but signing Swearinger is a solid step in the right direction for a club looking to improve on the defensive side of the ball next year. Washington also added defensive tackles Terrell McClain and Stacy McGee to their roster. Both McGee and McClain will see ample playing time next year as the two run-stuffing lineman will be used in multiple sets including 3 and 4 man fronts.

The team is expected to continue to add defensive talent over the next few days, and in the draft in a few short weeks.

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