Although it was not a big move at the time, signing linebacker Larry Foote as a free agent ended up being one of the most underrated and most important moves of last offseason for the Arizona Cardinals.
He was expected to be depth at linebacker but, after the suspension of Daryl Washington, ended up being a starter and had a very productive year.
This offseason the Cardinals have added veteran linebacker LaMarr Woodley. Many believe he can have the same sort of revival of his career.
While it is certainly possible, expectations shouldn't be high.
Foote played only three quarters of one game in 2013 before getting hurt and landing on injured reserve. He bounced back in 2014 to start all but one game of the regular season and played all but one snap in the games he played. He became a defensive leader and was third on the team in tackles with a total of 83.
But his production should not have been a shock. Before his lost 2013 season, his 2012 season was very productive. He had 113 tackles, four sacks and two forced fumbles. 2013 was simply a lost season to injury. There wasn't much dropoff in play before the injury.
Woodley is in a different situation. After years with the Steelers, he joined the Oakland Raiders. He played in only six games and only had three tackles. He was released and the Cardinals signed him to a one-year deal.
While head coach Bruce Arians talked about Woodley as an every-down player, the evidence shows he will not likely be the player he was from 2008-2011, when he averaged 11 sacks per season.
Before going to Oakland, his production already dropped off. Since his nine-sack season in 2011 (in only 10 games), he has only had nine more sacks total in 29 games. He did not get a sack with the Raiders.
He was playing 4-3 defensive end in Oakland after years of playing 3-4 outside linebacker. he will return to his original position in Arizona.
Will he add anything to the pass rush? Sure he will. He will also likely be a very influential player in terms of veteran leadership in the locker room. He is an accomplished player and has been a champion. That will warrant respect, as it did a year ago with Foote.
But should we expect a return to double digit sacks? Not likely.
If anything, he might have the same sort of impact James Harrison did when he returned to the Steelers after a disappointing season with the Bengals. Harrison played in 11 games, starting four, and collected 5.5 sacks and 47 tackles. That also happens to be right around the same production Woodley had (five sacks and four sacks in 2012 and 2013) in his two years before going to Oakland.
That isn't to say 5.5 sacks would be a bad thing. All it means is we should not expect some great revival. He won't have an 11.5-sack season like John Abraham did for Arizona in 2013. The production just hasn't been there.
Will Woodley help the pass rush? Bruce Arians thinks so. Will he be an important part of the team? I have no doubt. Will he have the type of season the Cardinals have gotten from guys like Karlos Dansby, Antonio Cromartie or Larry Foote? There isn't anything to suggest he will -- and that's perfectly fine.
If he can get four or five sacks playing as a rotational player, that should be considered a win. If you are expecting more than that, you will be disappointed.