Justin Bethel heads to Atlanta

Posted by Darren Urban on March 24, 2018 – 11:00 am

Justin Bethel signed with the Atlanta Falcons Saturday, and his departure from the Cardinals at this point was all but a formality. Both sides were ready to move on. Bethel’s time as a cornerback did not go well in Arizona, and he had multiple chances to earn the job. His struggles, however, should not cloud the fact he was a Pro Bowl special teams player for a number of years, and turned out to be a very good sixth-round draft pick.

“Two numbers and 6 years later. I’ve made so many memories and brothers for a life time. I can’t thank the Arizona Cardinals organization and fans for welcoming me with open arms,” Bethel wrote on Instagram.

The other thing I’ll remember about Bethel is that he was always a standup guy when it came to his cornerback play. He stood and answered the questions, even when the subject wasn’t good. It will be interesting to see how the Falcons deploy him. He most certainly will be a special teamer first, but as a slot corner — which never was really a spot he was going to play in Arizona with Tyrann Mathieu — he had some good stretches.

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27 Responses to “Justin Bethel heads to Atlanta”

  1. By Scott H on Mar 24, 2018 | Reply

    I will give Justin credit for being a stand-up guy. That can’t be easy.

    But as much as I had a problem with the whole Justin-Bethel-at-CB experiment, my problem was really less about him and more ( MUCH MORE ) about the organization. Look, I felt like many of us just knew this guy was not going to be adequate at CB. Period. Or, if we didn’t KNOW it, we certainly BELIEVED it 100%. And the organization just made the whole thing worse by not even having any real competition during training camp for the CB2 spot. And the outcome was that Bethel basically “won” the job by default.

    And nothing about that felt good. He didn’t win the starting job last year because he was the right man for the job – he won the job because he ended up being the best of a weak pool of players.

    Justin Bethel was what he was – an in-adequate player at the CB position. That wasn’t his fault. The organization COULD have and SHOULD have known better and done a better job.

    Not sure what the Falcons are counting on him for but I DO wish Justin Bethel well there.

  2. By Scott H on Mar 24, 2018 | Reply

    Not related but interesting nonetheless….was to me, anyway, because it speaks to how Sam Bradford is very widely perceived by others.

    Listening to sports radio out here this morning and it’s a very good segment because one of the hosts is Ray Didinger, who is a member of the Pro Football Sports Writers Hall of Fame. He is one of THE most infinitely knowledgeable guys you’ll find anywhere. And a breath of fresh air out here in Philly because of his wonderful personality.

    So, he and his co-host are going around the NFC East, evaluating the Eagles and their division mates based on the off-season so far. And they start to focus on players who are / could be good players but they can never stay healthy, so their teams never get from them what they seem capable of. And after awhile, Didinger made the comment “Well, just put him in the Sam Bradford category because Sam Bradford is what he is. He’s a guy who we think can play but he can never stay on the field so he never really helps the team. And when you count on too many Sam Bradfords at too many positions, it usually fails.”

    I’d have to say agree.

  3. By Ric Italia on Mar 24, 2018 | Reply

    Bethel wasn’t a total miss on Keim’s part but his only redeeming value was on special teams. Keim’s drafts have been dreadful. Hope his 3 year extension is just Fake News.He can’t afford any misses.

  4. By D on Mar 24, 2018 | Reply

    Good for Bethel.
    M.Cooper was not physical enough at CB for what Wilkes likes in his CB.
    Probably will sign McClean at nickel in which he should be fine in the role.
    Like I said before, I would be perfectly fine with AZ staying at 15 and taking
    M. Rudolph. If they could get B. Price at Center in round 2, it would be a good draft. Fill in depth at CB, WR and Dline for rest of the draft.
    I’ll be excited to see what E. Penny can do behind a hopefully a healthy O line spelling DJ at times.
    Veldheer will love all the micro brew joints around Denver, good luck.

  5. By CARDS62 on Mar 24, 2018 | Reply

    Bethel is a good guy and he played well for us. We just over promoted him and then he did not play well and it also negatively affected his special teams play. Talent evaluation problem by management so change of Teams is best for both parties.

    C’mon now Scott thats my quarterback you are talking about there. Thats my quarterback! Just channeling my TO since you are in Chilly Philly.

    If we can run the ball, and get a few lineman I think Sam will impress, but like most fans on our blog based upon our current roster I do not see Sam making it through a season.

    I sure hope PP does not get injured this season because it really seems thin at CB.

    GO Cards!

  6. By patrick on Mar 24, 2018 | Reply

    Patrick’s Positive Comment #4

    Q: How do you know you won an argument with a Sea”Hawk” (Can’t use their real name) a 40-whiner or a Lambs fan?
    A: When they start repeating “How many Super Bowls have you won? How many Super Bowls have you won?” That is when they have no other valid points to make. And I think we ALL are TRUE Cardinals fans in here. Some are just frustrated the Cardinals have not won a Championship in decades and do not see the vision to put together a Super Bowl winning team.

    But, what if a Sea”Hawk”, 40-whiner or a Lamb fan came in here and started talking smack. I am sure the first thing they would do is read the comments and say “Yeah, I got nothing to top that, my work is done here.”

    Sam Bradford’s knee and injury history- covered already.
    the o-line? Humphries? Andre Smith? and even Shipley and Iupati- Done, Done and Done.
    What if they said their CB was better than Patrick Peterson. I think they would get just as many Thumbs Ups as Thunbs Downs. And the follow up comments would be about 50-50 pro P2 vs con p2. I mean, that is the case when we bash him.
    If they talk about Fitz – THEM BE FIGHTING WORDS!
    But what else?
    Maybe if they said Gurley was better than David Johnson?
    What else? I am not sure there is much else.

    What if they came and wanted to push Darren’s buttons.
    Well we have already have that pretty much covered too!
    Call Darren a leach! Yeah we put Tucson Tim in his place with the 32 thumbs down (and 8 positive).
    If Darren uses his 19 year insider opinion? He is a homer!
    Basically Darren’s role is to write content that we can bash.
    Just Dance, Monkey, Dance.
    His opinion not allowed in the comment section of his blog, without offending somebody.
    And those are not fighting words to us, who always say, Great work Darren, We have much respect for everything we do.

    But some trolls do comment on this blog.
    Trolls like me who write positive things about the Cardinals.
    We are in the minority, which is pretty sad on the Official Cardinals Website.

  7. By Coach K on Mar 24, 2018 | Reply

    With Veldheer being traded to Denver, I am now convinced the Cardinals will draft an offensive tackle in this draft. I hope they don’t make the mistake of taking someone like Mason Rudolph with the 15th pick because he is a third round talent who has trouble fitting the ball in small windows.

    I think the Cards will try to move up and get one of the top four QB’s, but if they stay at 15, I expect the big Notre Dame tackle to be their target.

  8. By Danny Heksolsson on Mar 24, 2018 | Reply

    Finally!! I´m s happy!! Wish him well though!

  9. By jeffcardinalfan on Mar 25, 2018 | Reply

    I would be the first to be positive about cards if there was a reason to do so. fact is, so far roster hasn’t been improved much at all. I have watched Bradford play many games back to his Oklahoma days. in a perfectly clean pocket he can throw the ball but UNDER THE TINIEST BIT OF PRESSURE HE GETS BADLY RATTLED. ive seen this over and over. smith IS NOT AN UPGRADE OVER VALDHEER-HE HAS BEEN A HORRIBLE TACKLE THROUGHOUT HIS CAREER. pugh, if healthy might be an upgrade over anybody cards had at rg. so we have a qb who gets hurt a lot and needs a clean pocket to be successful…cards have changed their ol to be better at run blocking than pass protection. no receiver or corner has been added that has produced much in the past. if golden returns to form and Robert n and Gunther play at least ok defense will be good except for lousy corners other than pp.

    but seriously, the offense is a trainwreck just waiting to happen…Bradford-if healthy and protected has no one to throw to save larry. opponents will load the box against the run and double larry. in draft cards HAVE to get qb, receiver and corner. does anybody think sk can draft 3 impact players in the same draft?

  10. By Scott H on Mar 25, 2018 | Reply

    CARDS62 –

    RE: Channeling your inner TO


    Yeah, that’s our QB…..but for how long? That’s the first and only question that even matters when it comes to Bradford. And the reason for that is because…anyone? Anyone?

  11. By clssylssy on Mar 25, 2018 | Reply

    I wish Justin Bethel the very best with the Falcons. They must see talent or they wouldn’t have signed him and he has a few ProBowls under his belt, which is more than some of our recent signings can say. He has always been a good guy in the locker room with the respect of his peers, has been good to the fans and tried to represent this team in a positive light, making appearances at the Children’s Hospital, and other community outreach activities.
    It seems that things got off track here for many players after the 2015 season and rather than finding a real solution, for whatever reason, our organization took to singling out players to be scapegoated, ridiculed in the press, not a healthy and productive way to get the best from our players! I see Bethel as a casualty of a toxic situation. Like others before him, we’ll probably see him thrive and succeed on a different team, maybe even get a ring!
    Good luck Justin and thank you for your contributions being a Cardinal!

  12. By Joe C. on Mar 25, 2018 | Reply

    WR-Who did the Cards lose? John Brown? He was fairly ineffective. Jaron Brown? Loved him, but injured and fairly ineffective. They have Larry, JJ, Chad and TE’s. I’m sure there will be some more added at least as good as they had last year.
    CB-Who did they lose? Bethel? 6th round pick, great ST no bueno CB. T. Williams? 35 years old. HB? Injured overpriced, under sized safety. Bhudda in wings. Draft and midrnge vets will easily improve what they had

    Everyone goes nuts over Swearinger and Tony J. A vet castoff and undrafted rookie. Signings like that will happen again. I really liked Arians but I think he held the team back.

  13. By Big Ken on Mar 25, 2018 | Reply

    The Broncos only had one pick in the sixth round, number 182 which falls high in the round. So to get that for Jared V., I have to give kudos to Steve Keim.

  14. By RagingREDBird on Mar 25, 2018 | Reply

    OK I will jump on the Patrick Wagon and say that Brandon Williams came out of college with only one year at the CB position. Picked in the second round cause he had all the tools to be a top CB. SO maybe after two years in the pros and a coach now that they say has Yoda-ish ability in teaching the CB position. Could Williams have a break out year under Wilks? He has a long history of turning guys into studs. Positive Comment #1

  15. By Scott H on Mar 25, 2018 | Reply

    Since he left last off-season, I have always loved how people look only at what Swearinger was when we signed him ( a cast-off ) and they ignore the play-making machine he was when he played here.

    Oh, and do any of those people recognize that Swearinger was made one of the team captains in Washington? Not bad for a cast-off, huh?

    And I love how people dismiss Tramon Williams as too old. Um….he sure didn’t look too old last year when he did a REAL solid job at CB after the Justin Bethel failure. That man saved our ass last year, at least to the extent that he could have.

    But now he’s too old. Hey, I thought he was, too, when we picked him off the scrap heap but he then went on to be the best player we have had at CB2 since Cromartie was here in 2014.

    Just me, perhaps, but I find it hard to dismiss players like that so easily.

    Yeah, signings like that will happen again. Of course they will. They have to. Because after all the one-year deals are gone after one year, we need to find a whole new crop of new ones. Don’t we see it every year???

    And despite what John and /or Jaron Brown were or were not, we’ve acquired no one yet this off-season that remotely replaces either of them.

    Don’t be surprised when Jaron Brown works out very well in Seattle, and we’re wishing he were still here.

  16. By patrick on Mar 25, 2018 | Reply

    Patrick’s Positive Comment #5

    D.J. Humphries

    Let’s look at D.J. Humphries for 2018 season.
    First we have to look at the past to predict his future right?

    Popular stat: “Humphries will head into 2018 having been active for 18-of-48 games as an NFLer.”

    2015 1st Round Selection #24 Overall.

    2015 Missed entire season due to not be professional and nicknamed “Knee Deep”

    2016 Played 13 out of 16 games. Played 10 games at RT. Played weeks 12-4 at LT Missed last three games due to being in NFL concussion protocol.

    2017 Played 5 out of 16 games. Injured in 1st game and missed next 5 games due to injuries. Came back in week 6 before getting injured for rest of season in week 10 with dislocated knee cap among other issues.

    Popular Conclusion: Draft Bust (Thanks to Keim), unprofessional, injury prone, not reliable, can’t count on him to stay healthy in 2018.

    Unpopular Analysis (PFF): “The third-year offensive tackle had been performing well in pass protection for his team, and provided a bright spot in an otherwise dismal pass-blocking unit. He played a total of 96 pass-blocking snaps and allowed just five hurries, for a pass-blocking efficiency of 96.1, the best mark among Cardinals tackles. However, the team will likely miss his presence in the run game the most. Through 10 Weeks, Humphries’ run blocking grade of 85.0 is good for fifth among the league’s offensive tackles.”

    Additional motivation. He is entering year four of his rookie contract. The Cardinals need to decide to pick up his 2019 option year valued at 8 or 9 million dollars. Players playing for second contract usually see better production (unless you are Michael Floyd.)

    Alternate Conclusion: Matured, very good run blocker will fit well into Cardinals new run first system, should get better as pass blocker, motivated.

    Cardinals LT should not be an issue going into 2018 season.

  17. By Kgard34 on Mar 25, 2018 | Reply

    The Cardinals first selection of the sixth round (177th overall) of the 2012 draft, Bethel has played all 80 games in his first five seasons and totaled 80 special teams tackles, three blocked FGs, a blocked PAT, four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries on special teams. He has led the team in special teams tackles each of the last four years, including a career-best 21 in 2013.
    Selected to the Pro Bowl three straight seasons (2013-15) as a special teamer. Selected as a Pro Bowl alternate in 2016, when he led the team with 13 special teams tackles, blocked a PAT and forced a fumble on special teams.
    Joins current Cardinals radio analyst Ron Wolfley (1986-89) as the only players in franchise history to earn multiple Pro Bowl selections as a special teams player.
    Started three games on defense in 2016, recording 26 tackles, six passes defensed, a fumble recovery and an INT that he returned 66 yards for a TD in season finale against the Rams. Marked his third career TD (second INT return).
    Was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Month for December 2014 after posting an NFL-best eight special teams tackles and a forced fumble. Also earned NFC Special Teams Player of the Week for Week 9 after blocking a FG against Dallas on 11/2/14.
    Scored his first career NFL TD when he returned a blocked FG 82 yards in the fourth quarter vs. Chicago in Week 16 of the ’12 season. It was the Cards first blocked FG returned for a TD since 2009 and just the fifth dating back to 1960.
    Became the ninth player ever drafted out of Presbyterian and the first since DB Dan Eckstein was taken in the 15th round (376th overall) of the 1969 NFL Draft by the Packers. Bethel is the only Presbyterian College player ever to be selected to a Pro Bowl.

  18. By Kgard34 on Mar 25, 2018 | Reply

    I’d say that we got a pretty good return on a 6th round investment.Never did anything to embarass the team. Seemed like a quality human being to me.

  19. By Lifetime Fan on Mar 26, 2018 | Reply

    In other news: Drew Stanton signed a deal with the Browns. The deal is for two years, and I cant find the specifics of it but it is probably for less money than we gave Mike Glennon. As this is my last chance to reasonably pine after the Stanman, I gotta say he was a GREAT backup QB, and a winner. I would have loved to see a defensive minded team with him under center, or at least he should have remained a backup. I have no idea what the logic is to signing Glennon, he looked terrible everytime I have seen him play…but heres to hoping that was just a career long fluke 😉

  20. By faster on Mar 26, 2018 | Reply

    the dancer signed with the browns.

    i hope he will dance a lot, maybe even on the field, and wish him the best.

    thank you for the seahawks game, stanton.

  21. By Joe C. on Mar 26, 2018 | Reply

    Scott H., My point is that we can find players through undrafted and vet signings. I loved Tony Jefferson. Personally I would have resigned him. Remember he got a lowball tender and still didn’t get a single offer. So T. Williams had a good year, we offered him a competitive contract. Green Bay is in more of a win now mode. We didn’t offer multi years to a 35 year old at a position where no 35 year olds excel. Whatever. As I have said I think Keim and Arians were surprised by 2015’s success and did not plan on some of the contracts they had to give to keep the window open. 2016 and 2017 would have been better spent preparing for 2018 but we tried to field a Super Bowl contender. Now we’ll do out best in 2018 and have near $100M in cap space in 2019. Keep signing last year’s players and see how far you get.

  22. By Joe C. on Mar 26, 2018 | Reply

    Just to emphasize my point. We let Swearinger and Jefferson go and we didn’t miss a beat at safety. With Baker we have a potential pro bowler and a couple other good ones. I would not call it a position of need.

  23. By Scott H on Mar 26, 2018 | Reply

    Who has ever “accused” Humphries of being un-professional??

    I’ve had plenty to say about Humphries but have never said that. Nor have I heard anyone else say that.

  24. By Scott H on Mar 26, 2018 | Reply

    Lifetime –

    As much as I would have preferred Stanton over even Bradford, I would have preferred him over Glennon 10X more.

    But thanks for being one of the people who truly appreciated Stanton as he should have been appreciated.

  25. By JTDG on Mar 26, 2018 | Reply



    “Cardinals LT should not be an issue going into 2018 season.”

    I think you listed the questions above. 18 of a possible 48 games. Has played only 8 games over past two years at LT.

    I wouldn’t say he is a bust at this point, but I wouldn’t say they have no issues either. Shouldn’t he put a 16 game season and LT behind him before we say that?

  26. By JPMart on Mar 27, 2018 | Reply

    It looks like the Rams are building themselves a contending team with their off season acquisitions. They just signed Suh to a 1 year deal and tag that along with Talib and Peters, they’re going to be contending for the Super Bowl this year. Yeah, Suh comes with baggage, a whole U-Haul full of baggage, but you cannot deny his skills and intensity. I look at our Cardinals and it seems we’re poised to sit in the basement this year with Seattle. Even SF has done well (with their enormous cap space). It’s sad that we’ve allowed some of our key players to walk these past couple of years.

  27. By Scott H on Mar 27, 2018 | Reply

    JPMart –

    Well, I think the Rams were already a contending team. They ended the season as a contender. Since that point, they’ve done nothing but add more BIG pieces to a defense that was already one of the best in the NFL.

    I’d say that sounds like something resembling aggressiveness.

    REAL aggressiveness. Not that weak-ass imitation we’ve seen here.

    The Rams are TOTALLY going for it right now. All in. AND they appear to have a team that could be dominant for years to come.

    Here? While the rest of the NFL – even the damn CLEVELAND BROWNS – is adding pieces that make them better, we can’t do anything until we find a QB. Which became sheer necessity after Palmer retired and we didn’t even have a damn QB on the roster.

    Our own front office dealt us that hand. Painted themselves right into that corner. And when you are painted into corners and have your needs dictated to you by your own poor decisions and planning, you CAN’T be aggressive. It’s not even possible. So…..why do we have a GM that believes it is possible and wants us to believe it, too? Sorry if it sounds harsh but I can only ask – is HE the idiot or does he believe that WE are?

    And this man was given a 5-year extension. Brilliant. Just friggin brilliant.

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