Hat tip to SenSurround for already breaking the news via fanshot.
After becoming a free agent just four days ago, former Pittsburgh Steeler and New York Jets' guard Alan Faneca is now an Arizona Cardinal. The news came late Tuesday night that the Cardinals signed Faneca to a one year contract worth $2.5 million.
Faneca spent the first 10 seasons of his career as a Steeler before signing with the Jets in 2008. He has been regarded as one of the best offensive guards in the NFL up until this past year, making nine pro bowls and becoming the primary reason the Jets were one of the best rushing teams in the league. To the surprise of the rest of the NFL, including the Cardinals, Faneca was released even though the Jets are required to pay him $5 million this season. Most reports coming out of New York suggested that Faneca's skills had deminished and he had been inefficient with pass blocking. Head coach Ken Whisenhunt and assistant coach Russ Grimm - who worked with Faneca in Pittsburgh - still believe that Faneca has more to give at the age of 33. Whisenhunt talked about signing Faneca to the team:
"When you talk about making changes in your offensive line, which at this point we are talking about, it’s outstanding to know you have a player like Alan coming into this team, because of what he has accomplished in this league and what he will mean to this team. There is a reason he has been to nine Pro Bowls."
The situation at guard is interesting considering current starting left guard, Deuce Lutui, has yet to sign his one year tender offer. Reports were that Lutui was holding out in order to get a long term deal completed. With the signing of offensive guard Rex Hadnot earlier in the offseason, the interior of the Cardinals offensive line just became more crowded.
The Cardinals offensive line will clearly look different to what it's been in years past. Levi Brown will reportedly move to left tackle, vacating the right tackle spot for either Brandon Keith or Jeremy Bridges to compete for. Reggie Wells has been the Cardinals starting left guard for years, but will likely battle to hold off Hadnot or even Faneca now. Lyle Sendlein will most likely man the center position. It's certainly a good problem to have a large amount of capable lineman competing for starting positions along the line. It's a situation the Cardinals would've never found themselves in even two seasons ago. One thing is for sure - the Cardinals offensive line will feature a different look in 2010.