The Arizona Cardinals turbulent offseason continued on Wednesday as DUI and battery charges were not filed against linebacker Joey Porter. Porter’s altercation with the California Highway Patrol during a late-night Taco Bell run could have devastated the Cardinals’ defense but the team’s newest free-agent addition is in the clear for the time being. Assuming Porter stays out of trouble from this point on, he’ll help boast an already effective pass rush that totaled 43 sacks last year.
After two consecutive NFC West titles, Arizona’s recent dominance in the division looked to be fading fast. Following the retirement of QB Kurt Warner and the trade of WR Anquan Boldin to the Baltimore Ravens, the Cardinals’ offense was entering somewhat of a rebuilding stage. Furthermore, the departures of linebacker Karlos Dansby and safety Antrel Rolle immediately put the team’s defense in a compromising situation heading into the 2010 season.
However, general manager Rod Graves has been hard at work filling the many losses incurred during this offseason. Although he may have wished otherwise, the Cardinals provided Matt Leinart with help at the quarterback position following the signing of former Cleveland Browns signal caller Derek Anderson. Anderson and Leinart will team up with hopes of replacing Warner. Meanwhile, the loss of Boldin will sting but Arizona benefited from one of the deepest wide receiving corps in the league a year ago.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Cardinals addressed the loss of Rolle by acquiring former New York Jets safety Kerry Rhodes. Rhodes fell out of favor with Jets coach Rex Ryan but should fit well in Arizona’s defense. In addition to Rhodes, the Cardinals’ front office managed to reel in free-agent linebackers Joey Porter and Paris Lenon. Porter provides the team’s defense with the standout pass rusher it’s been seeking while Lenon should help fill the void in the middle left by Dansby.
With the free-agency period winding down, Arizona’s attention turns to the upcoming draft. The Cardinals still have several areas of need including the offensive line and secondary. Due to recent upgrades within the NFC West, Arizona needs another solid draft to keep its distance against the competition. The rapidly improving San Francisco 49ers along with the Seattle Seahawks led by new coach Pete Carroll will be trying desperately to breakthrough in the division.
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