The Arizona Cardinals are looking for pass rushing help this offseason, whether it is in free agency or in the NFL Draft. While we debate the possibility of ponying up for Justin Houston or landing Jerry Hughes to a big free agent deal, there might be a less expensive and more veteran guy the Cardinals could look at.
Outside linebacker Trent Cole was recently released by the Philadelphia Eagles when they could not agree on a restructured contract. At age 32, he was due to make $10 million in 2015. In 10 seasons in the NFL, he has 85.5 career sacks and four seasons with at least 10. However, he only had 6.5 sacks in 2014 -- not great, but not bad.
He certainly wasn't worth $10 million for a season.
Cole might be the "second-tier" pass rusher the Cardinals need. Even with 6.5 sacks, he produced pressure over 12 percent of his rushes, using Pro Football Focus numbers. To compare, John Abraham produced pressures on 13.5 percent of his rushes in 2013, when he had 11.5 sacks. In 2014, the Cardinals' sack leader was Alex Okafor, who had eight, but his pressure rate was only 10.7 percent.
Cole certainly will not command the salary a Hughes, a Greg Hardy or even A Jason Worilds will. He would solve the long term problem, but he also wouldn't need a long deal. He could be a solid bridge to a guy they draft and have success with and a good veteran to have to work with Okafor.
While a Hughes or Hardy or Worilds might be better players, Cole might end up a better value.
Should the Cardinals kick the tires on a veteran like Cole? Maybe he just might turn out to be this year's Karlos Dansby or Antonio Cromartie.