Earlier on Wednesday, we learned that the Cardinals missed out on signing Reggie Bush, leaving a big hole at the RB position. Before Mendenhall signed, the runningback position for 2013 was a big unknown. Beanie Wells was released, Larod Stephens-Howling is a free agent, and Ryan Williams hasn't been able to stay healthy enough to be counted on as a number one back. The only RB on the roster who is a known entity is Alfonso Smith and I know I wouldn't feel comfortable going into a season with Smith as an every down back.
Tyler Nickel already did a great job looking into Mendenhall as a potential fit on the Cardinals before he was signed, and for the most part I agree. It seems to me that this signing it meant to serve both parties. Mendenhall is looking to revive his career, and since he wasn't getting the big money mutli year deal he was looking for, Rashard is banking on himself to prove everyone wrong and show that he deserves a bigger payday next year. Hopefully this motivation and desire translates onto the field.
Coming to Arizona is a smart plan for Rashard, given his familiarity and success in Bruce Arian's offense when they were both in Pittsburgh. Bruce gets a RB he's familiar with, Mendenhall gets to prove his worth in a system he's succeeded with, and the Arizona OL gets a runningback very similar in style to Beanie, one year removed from a 1000 yard season. All the familiarity is a good thing, and all the parties involved should be motivated to prove themselves.
This is likely going to be a stop-gap signing for the Cardinals, as they will use Mendenhall is tandem with Ryan Williams and a possible late round draftee. This next season could very well be make or break for both number 34s as Mendenhall is looking to prove he's still got it and Williams looks to prove that he has it at all. Arizona's season is going to rely a lot on how these two men perform.