Posted March 13, 2013

Drew Stanton, Yeremiah Bell among handful of Arizona Cardinals additions

Arizona Cardinals, NFL Free Agency
Drew Stanton could play a role in the Cardinals' QB competition this year. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Drew Stanton could play a role in the Cardinals’ QB competition this year. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

It’s out with the old and in with the new for the Arizona Cardinals, who added to their Wednesday free-agent haul with Lorenzo Alexander, Yeremiah Bell, Jerraud Powers and Drew Stanton. Earlier, the Cardinals agreed on a deal with running back Rashard Mendenhall.

Bell’s arrival came shortly after Arizona cut veteran safety Kerry Rhodes. And Stanton’s inclusion in the Cardinals’ ever-expanding quarterback competition could spell the end of the line for Kevin Kolb.

Here’s how it all shakes out for the Cardinals …

The Bell-for-Rhodes swap boiled down to money — Rhodes was due $6 million next season, while Bell was coming off a one-year, $1.4 million deal. Even a slight bump in Bell’s pay would save the Cardinals a little cash, though Rhodes outplayed Bell in 2012. The sheer number of available defensive backs around free agency made Rhodes a candidate to be axed.

In Stanton, the Cardinals simply continue their search for answers the game’s most important position. Stanton was Andrew Luck’s backup in Indianapolis last season, where new Cardinals coach Bruce Arians famously stepped up as interim head coach. He has not, however, thrown a pass in the regular season since going 2-1 as a fill-in starter for Detroit in 2010.

Kolb remains under Arizona’s control, as do John Skelton, Ryan Lindley and Brian Hoyer (second-round restricted free agent tender). Arizona may look to add a QB in the draft, as well, so this situation is far from settled.

Alexander was a Pro Bowl special-teams player in 2012 — he excelled there for the Redskins. The Cardinals will ask him to continue those duties, while also possibly giving him a shot to play inside linebacker in their 3-4. Alexander did make 12 starts as an outside linebacker for the Redskins back in 2010.

Powers is another former Colt with experience playing under Arians. He made it through just eight games in 2012 while he battled injuries, but the Cardinals need him to help pick up the slack for the departed Greg Toler. Arizona still stands woefully thin in the secondary.

Grade for Bell signing: C-minus. I get wanting to save some money, but this is a step down. Rhodes was Pro Football Focus’ No. 4-rated safety last season; Bell finished No. 54.

Grade for Stanton signing: B. At three years and just $3 million guaranteed, the gamble is low here. Plus, Stanton could be a surprise if the Cardinals give him a shot.

Grade for Alexander signing: A. We’ll have to see if the Cardinals overpaid here, but the importance of high quality special teams players always flies under the radar. Add in Alexander’s ability to add depth at LB, and this is a slam dunk.

Grade for Powers signing: B-minus. Arians likes Powers a lot, but the fifth-year corner has never played more than 12 games in a season. Arizona must find a couple more guys to help out Patrick Peterson.

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