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Dwight Freeney officially signs with Arizona Cardinals, expected to play 15-20 snaps

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The team told him if a player went down he would get his shot.

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Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Cardinals officially announced the signing of veteran pass rusher Dwight Freeney on Tuesday. Linebacker Kenny Demens was placed on injured reserve, ending his season, to make room on the roster. Now, based on Kent Somers great reporting skills and keen observations, the signing happened Monday, as he and other reported, but the move was announced on Tuesday.

What will his role be?

The easy answer is he will rush the passer, but he won't play a prominent role.

Head coach Bruce Arians was on SiriusXM NFL Radio, as he does every Tuesday, and said he would play 15-20 snaps, basically only in nickel and dime situations.

That is the role rookie Markus Golden had for the first five weeks of the season. Golden has played 118 snaps in five games. He now will start. opposite LaMarr Woodley. Arians said "we're fine" in base sets and "we're going to push Markus Golden a little  bit more," but he did not want to push another rookie -- Shaq Riddick -- into action, though the fifth round pick "will be one hell of a player."

The interesting thing Arians said was about pressures versus sacks. He noted Freeney was in the top 10 in pressures last year. He was in the top five in QB pressures among 3-4 OLBs. He only had 3.5 sacks, though.

Arians isn't worred. "With our secondary, we only need pressure," he said. "We don't need sacks."

Nonetheless, Freeney's contract is based on sacks. He will be paid the league minimum, but incentives can earn him up to $1 million. According to ESPN's Ed Werder, Freeney will get $200,000 if he reaches four sacks, and will earn $100,00 for each sack after that, with the number capping at $1 million.

The Cardinals had been in contact with Freeney back in June, but with who the team had on the roster, they didn't need to bring him in. Arians was pleased with the development of Kareem Martin, and the team had just drafted Golden and Riddick.

"We had some young players I was excited about," Arians said about his conversations with Freeney in the offseason. He basically said "as soon as we lose one of these guys," the team would bring him in. Arians is not concerned about his conditioning, calling Freeney "a fanatic" in that sense.

Does Freeney have anything left to offer? We will see. If pressure is all the Cardinals need, then he should be fine. He generated pressure on 13 percent of his pass rushes last season. That is roughly what Golden was doing in the same role, who has gotten pressure in 13.6 percent of his  pass rushes.

If sacks are the goal, well hopefully he can give the pass rush a boost. It hasn't been much so far.

Alex Okafor is expected to miss only two to four weeks with his calf injury. Once he returns, we will see where Freeney and Golden both fit in at that point.