Following Darnell Dockett‘s season-ending ACL injury, the Cardinals attempted to bring in Brett Keisel in order to bolster their depleted defensive line. But after Keisel declined Arizona’s offer and returned to the Steelers, the Cardinals have set their sights on another veteran lineman — defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga. According to Rand Getlin of Yahoo! Sports, Arizona has scheduled a workout for the 32-year-old, and if it goes well, plans on signing him.
Sopoaga entered the NFL as a 49ers fourth-round draft pick in 2002, and spent the next nine seasons in San Francisco. He signed a three-year, $12MM deal with the Eagles in March of 2013, but was traded to the Patriots just seven months later. New England released Sopoaga in March, and he’s been waiting for a team to express interest since.
It’s fair to wonder if Sopoaga will be able to fill the void on the Cardinals’ defensive line. Ben Volin of the Boston Globe, who covered Sopoaga during his time with the Patriots, tweets that the veteran “had nothing left last year,” a sentiment that meshes with Pro Football Focus’ advanced statistics. PFF (subscription required) gave Sopoaga a -9.4 grade on just 362 snaps in 2013, noting that he was especially poor against the run.
Still, Sopoaga could make for a nice fit along Arizona’s defensive front — he’s spent nearly all of his career working as a nose tackle in a 3-4 scheme, the role he would be expected to play with the Cardinals. Additionally, Arizona is in need of depth along it’s front three. While the triumvirate of Calais Campbell, Dan Williams, and Frostee Rucker is impressive, the options behind the Cardinals’ top three are uninspiring. If signed, Sopoaga probably wouldn’t be asked to do more than spell Williams for a handful of snaps per game.