Joey Porter Signs With Arizona Cardinals
March 19th, 2010- By Bryan Cross
Free agent linebacker Joey Porter has found a new home with the Arizona Cardinals.
Porter, who had been without a team since the conclusion of the regular season, is expected to come in and start right away, filling the opening left by Chike Okeafor. Okeafor, a free agent himself, is expected to sign elsewhere.
“It is exciting on many levels,” Cardinal head coach Ken Whisenhunt remarked. “Two areas that come to mind are his productivity on the field, (because) getting 26½ sacks over the last two years is pretty impressive, especially considering last year with not even playing a full season.”
Porter has been elected to four Pro Bowls in his career and brings with him a skill-set as a pass-rusher that is unparalleled by any other linebacker currently on the Arizona roster.
“Also the mentality he brings,” said Whisenhunt. “It’s something we have made great progress with as a team. Having another veteran player, who has had great success in this league, to contribute to that will only help us in an area defensively where we want to improve.”
ESPN.com reports that the deal between the two parties is in the neighborhood of $17.5 million.
“I feel I can fill the need for what they are looking for as far as an outside linebacker and that I can bring that whole presence of making sure I get to the quarterback,” Porter remarked while in Arizona earlier this week. “I’d be doing my job, but not trying to step on anybody’s toes.”
Porter recorded nine sacks last season with the Miami Dolphins, which is more than any player on Arizona. Miami decided to go in a different direction, opting for a younger lineup, with the veteran being 33-years-old.
Whisenhunt was on the Pittsburgh staff for six seasons while Porter played in Black and Yellow, and believes that the linebacker will be a positive edition to the Arizona defense.
“Other than the occasional comments to the media, which we all know Joey has a tendency to make, that bulletin board material we are all so familiar with, I have never heard of Joey spoken of anything but a great teammate,” Whisenhunt remarked of his new player. “That’s what I have seen in my experiences with him. Fitting in with some of our veteran leaders, who have already done a good job with us, is no issue with me. I know the work ethic and the mentality he brings will fit in well with our team.”
Whisenhunt welcomes the age of Porter, seeing it a a positive with respect to both production on the field, and teaching the younger players in practice.
“That’s a big part of the reason we have had success, we have had guys who are willing to show the way,” Whisenhunt remarked. “Kurt Warner is a guy who comes to mind. I know our fans haven’t seen it, but with the progress Matt (Leinart) has made, that’s part of that. Steve Breaston and Early Doucet have been beneficiaries of the same thing. It’s been an important component.”