The Cardinals have locked up a reserve offensive lineman, keeping him off the free agent market, according to Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com, who reports (via Twitter) that the team inked Bradley Sowell to a one-year deal. Sowell had been eligible for restricted free agency, so after playing out the 2015 season, he’ll have the chance to become an unrestricted free agent next year.
Sowell, 25, was forced into a starting role during the 2013 season, and struggled with the added responsibility, ranking as the worst qualified tackle in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus’ grades (subscription required). After the Cardinals signed Jared Veldheer in free agency last March, Sowell reverted a reserve role in 2014 — his offensive snap count dropped from 842 in ’13 to zero in ’14.
Taking into account Sowell’s struggles as a regular, and his lack of playing time in 2014, I would guess that the Cardinals signed the offensive lineman for less than the restricted free agent tender would have been worth. However, financial terms of the agreement aren’t yet known.
In addition to locking up Sowell for another season, the Cards also confirmed the signing of free agent cornerback Damond Smith, per Urban. That deal was previously reported.