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Cardinals Bolster Defense, Sign LB Joey Porter To Three Year Deal Worth $17.5 Million

Meet the newest ex-Steeler to become an Arizona Cardinal - Joey Porter.
Meet the newest ex-Steeler to become an Arizona Cardinal - Joey Porter.

After nearly a week of waiting, Arizona Cardinals fans can breathe a sigh of relief - Joey Porter is now a Cardinal.

After visiting with the team last Thursday, then testing his options with the Redskins, Joey Porter agreed to a three year deal worth $17.5 million with the Arizona Cardinals on Friday. The deal also features $7 million in incentives.

At $5.8 million per year, and the incentives, it seems evident that Joey Porter will be an every down starter for the Cardinals defense in 2010. It was once originally thought that Porter would become a situational pass rusher at this stage of his career, but the Cardinals clearly believe that he has more left to give. Whisenhunt does also:

"There is no question we were able to generate sacks last year but we were doing it with blitzing," coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "This gives us a guy who can win one-on-one matchups and allows us to rush with four (players). That's a component we were missing to a degree."

Last season Porter registered 9 sacks - a considerable step down from the 17.5 sacks he amassed the year before. Porter had a falling out with Dolphins coaching staff last season and was even suspended from one game. With his play limited, Porter blamed the benching and limited play on his stats:

“I don’t feel I have to sell myself,” Porter said. “With my role being reduced … I (still) had nine sacks. It’s not one of my best years but look around the league, there are starters who have four or five.”

At 33-years old, Porter may still have enough gas in the tank to provide the Cardinals with that edge pass rusher that can still pressure opposing quarterbacks. He's seen four pro bowls and four all-pro selections, and has totaled 92 sacks for his career. The Cardinals didn't have many other options available through free agency, and head coach Ken Whisenhunt has been prone to allow rookies to develop on the bench their first season - therefore, drafting a starter at linebacker seemed out of the question. Now a rookie can develop under a seasoned veteran like Porter.

After only signing limited free agents the last two seasons, Rod Graves has opened up the Cardinals pocket book and brought well known free agents to the team this year. This could also be a result of losing so many starters at the beginning of the offseason.

Porter is the second free agent linebacker to join the Cardinals after the team agreed to terms with Paris Lenon earlier this week. The Cardinals have also signed OL Rex Hadnot and QB Derek Anderson, and traded for free safety Kerry Rhodes. What are your thoughts on the Cardinals signings so far and is the team set now until the draft?