NFL free agency 2014: Arizona Cardinals announce re-signing of Frostee Rucker, Jake Ballard, Jay Feely

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

They bring back two key players they wished to retain.

The Arizona Cardinals announced the re-signing of three players that were set to hit the open market. They announced that kicker Jay Feely and tight end Jake Ballard have agreed to one-year contracts, while veteran defensive lineman Frostee Rucker has agreed to a two-year deal.

Feely's new deal was not news, as he himself announced the agreement, and it was known that the team was trying to keep Rucker, but the news of Ballard was actually news.

Ballard was a restricted free agent, but had not been offered a tender by the team. He joins Rob Housler, new free agent signee John Carlson and projected camp bodies Darren Fells (although Fells provides some intrigue), Andre Hardy and Brett Brackett at the position. It now seems unlikely that Jim Dray, now a free agent, will return to the team.

Rucker's deal is being reported as worth $2.125 million, with $590,000 in guaranteed money.

Feely's contract numbers recently were reported. His contract is worth $1.02 million, which includes a $65,000 roster bonus if he is on the roster for Week 1 and a $955,000 base salary. He does not get a signing bonus.

The team also formally announced the release of guard Daryn Colledge.

Ballard (6-6, 275) re-joins the Cardinals after playing in eight games with three starts in 2013 after signing the team on November 4. He had seven catches for 75 yards and two touchdowns last season with Arizona. Ballard came to the Cardinals after playing in 15 games (13 starts) with the New York Giants over two seasons (2010-11) where he collected 38 receptions for 604 yards and four touchdowns. He missed the 2012 season with the Patriots after being placed on the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform list (knee) and was released by New England following training camp last August.


The 26-year old Ballard entered the league with the Giants as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Ohio State in 2010. For his career, he has played in 23 games (16 starts) and has 45 receptions for 679 yards (15.1 yard avg.) and six touchdowns.

Feely (5-10, 208) has spent the past four seasons with the Cardinals, appearing in all 64 games and converting 98 of 115 field goals (85%) and all 124 PATs for 424 total points. The 13-year NFL veteran made 30 of 36 field goals and scored 127 points in 2013, his ninth career 100-point season and third in four years with Arizona. His 127 points last season rank as the second-highest single-season total in franchise history (Neil Rackers, 140 in 2005).

Feely has scored 1,437 points since entering the league in 2001, the NFL's fourth-highest total in that time period behind only Adam Vinatieri (2,006), David Akers (1,721) and Sebastian Janikowski (1,489). He originally entered the league with Atlanta in 2001 as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Michigan and has kicked with the Falcons (2001-04), Giants (2005-06), Dolphins (2007), and Jets (2008-09) prior to joining Arizona. For his career, Feely has connected on 329 of 398 field goal attempts (83%) and 444 extra points for 1,437 points in 207 regular season games.

Rucker (6-3, 280) originally signed with the Cardinals in 2013 as a free agent and played in all 16 games last season, finishing with 14 tackles, one sack, two tackles for loss, nine quarterback pressures and eight quarterback hits. He came to the Cardinals last year following one season with the Cleveland Browns (2012) and six seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals (2006-11).

A third-round pick (91st overall) of the Bengals in the 2006 NFL Draft out of USC, the 30-year old Rucker has played in 85 career games (36 starts) and has 209 tackles, 12 sacks, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, eight passes defensed and one interception in eight seasons in the NFL.

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