2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Arizona adds 5 free agents, including QB Stanton

By BOB BAUM - AP Sports Writer
    2013-03-13 17:29

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) - Arizona has reached contract agreements with five free agents, including quarterback Drew Stanton, who follows new Cardinals coach Bruce Arians to the desert.

Also released was starting free safety Kerry Rhodes, a move that cleared $6 million in salary cap space.

The other additions are running back Rashard Mendenhall, cornerback Jerraud Powers, safety Yeremiah Bell and linebacker Lorenzo Alexander. Stanton backed up Andrew Luck last season in Indianapolis, where Arians served first as offensive coordinator, then as interim head coach.

``This is a great opportunity for Drew,'' Arians said in a news release announcing the five additions. ``He really impressed me during the year we spent together in Indy. Physically he has everything you want in a quarterback - big with a strong arm, can get it up the field and make all the throws. He's just as impressive mentally and understands the position. I'm excited to get him here and compete.''

The 6-foot-3, 243-pound quarterback played for five seasons with Detroit, appearing in 12 games with four starts. He completed 104 of 187 passes for 1,158 yards and five touchdowns with nine interceptions but has not played in a game the past two seasons.

The addition could mean Kevin Kolb's days are numbered with Arizona. Kolb is due a $2 million signing bonus this week and would earn $9 million this coming season unless his contract is restructured or, perhaps more likely, he is released. The Cardinals, whose offense ranked dead last in the NFL last season, already have tendered an offer to quarterback Brian Hoyer.

Mendenhall fills a need for the Cardinals, who released running back Beanie Wells on Monday.

He spent four seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, where his offensive coordinator for much of that time was Arians.

Mendenhall had a difficult 2012 season after tearing an ACL in 2011. Last year, he rushed for just 182 yards in 52 carries. Mendenhall rushed for more than 1,000 yards in each of the 2009 and 2010 seasons.

``Obviously, I know Rashard well from our time in Pittsburgh and I hold him in very, very high regard,'' Arians said. ``As a running back, he's the total package. He's a big, strong, every-down back with speed who can catch the ball. I've said before, he's a big man with little feet, meaning he can run like he's 180 (pounds) but also can pound the ball like he's 230.''

Powers, who moves in to the cornerback spot vacated by the release of William Gay, also comes from Indianapolis, where he spent four seasons, starting all 42 regular season games in which he played. He has six career interceptions.

Alexander, who comes from the Washington Redskins, is considered a top special teams player as well as a backup linebacker. He made the Pro Bowl at special teams last season. The personable linebacker was the Redskins' Walter Payton Man of the Year for community service.

Bell, who could take Rhodes' spot in a defense that was among the best in the NFL last season, started all 16 games for the New York Jets last season. He was third on the team with 103 tackles, 83 solo. He had three fumble recoveries, one sack and four passes defensed. It was the first time the five-year starter did not lead his team in tackles.

Rhodes is coming off a strong year with Arizona, when he started 15 games, had four interceptions and forced two fumbles.

---

Follow Bob Baum at www.twitter.com/Thebaumerphx

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