Cardinals might be looking to replace two top safeties

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Leading up to the start of free agency at 4 p.m. ET Thursday, we’ll evaluate the situation at every position for the Arizona Cardinals. We’ll look at who will return to Arizona in 2017, who’s set to hit the open market, what the Cardinals need at each position, and we'll throw out a few potential options to fill those open roster spots.

Position: Safety

Under contract: Tyrann Mathieu, Tyvon Branch, Trevon Hartfield, C.B. Bryant

Pending free agents: Tony Jefferson, D.J. Swearinger

What’s needed: Depth. With the news Wednesday night that Jefferson has agreed to a contract with the Baltimore Ravens, Arizona knows it will have to replace at least one of its two free-agent safeties. The other, Swearinger, has been linked to reports about his potential departure from Arizona, as well. Even with Jefferson gone, the Cardinals' safety room was left thin and reliant upon two players coming off injury-riddled seasons.

The Cardinals now face the task of filling out their safety room with versatile players who can roam deep and take away the long ball, can play the run in the box and defend the slot.

Athleticism is important for Arizona, so the Cardinals will be on the lookout for quick safeties who can also pack a punch.

Possible fits: Micah Hyde (Packers), James Ihedigbo (Bills), Matt Elam (Ravens)