2:28pm: It’ll be a one-year deal for Kelly with the Cardinals, tweets ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter.
2:18pm: After hosting him for a visit, the Cardinals will be signing free agent defensive lineman Tommy Kelly, reports Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (via Twitter). Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports had indicated (via Twitter) earlier this afternoon that Kelly’s meeting with the team was going well and could result in a deal.
Kelly, 33, joined the Patriots on a two-year deal prior to last season after spending the previous nine years in Oakland. He tore his ACL in Week 8, and spent the remainder of the season on IR. In 134 career games (122 starts), Kelly has racked up 301 tackles and 37 sacks. Pro Football Focus (subscription required) has graded Kelly as relatively average over the past few years, noting that he is much better pash rusher than as a run defender. The veteran was released by the Patriots during this weekend’s roster cutdowns.
At 6″6″, 300 pounds, and capable of playing both end and tackle, Kelly should add some versatility to a Cardinals 3-4 scheme that recently lost Darnell Dockett for the year. After Brett Keisel turned down Arizona’s invitation for a free agent visit, the Cardinals ended up signing fellow veteran lineman Isaac Sopoaga to a deal. While Kelly and Sopoaga won’t necessarily replace Dockett’s production, they’ll provide some veteran depth on the line, allowing the team to avoid having to rely heavily on inexperienced alternatives.
Before they finalize the signing of Kelly, the Cardinals will have to remove a player from their active roster in order to create an opening.