WEDNESDAY, 11:42am: The Cardinals’ deal with Weatherspoon is official, Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com tweets.
MONDAY, 7:05am: The Cardinals have reached an agreement with linebacker Sean Weatherspoon and will sign him to a one-year deal when free agency opens on Tuesday, reports Rand Getlin of Yahoo! Sports (via Twitter). Per Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports (Twitter link), Weatherspoon’s new one-year deal with the Cards will be worth close to $4MM.
Weatherspoon, 27, was viewed as a priority for the Falcons, though we heard last week that Arizona would be waiting with its arms “wide open” if the linebacker didn’t work something out with Atlanta. The Saints were also believed to have interest in Weatherspoon, who has missed all but seven games during the last two seasons due to an Achilles injury in 2014, and knee and foot issues in 2013.
In spite of Weatherspoon’s health problems, I still listed him as one of the top options when I explored the free agent market for 4-3 outside linebackers last month, noting that he averaged 110 tackles per season in 2011 and 2012. In Arizona’s 3-4 scheme, the former first-round pick looks like a good bet to assume one of the inside linebacker spots.
En route to a playoff berth in 2014, the Cardinals had to make do with a depleted linebacking corps that was without Karlos Dansby (departed via free agency), John Abraham (out with concussion issues), and Daryl Washington (suspended for the season). The club heavily relied on Larry Foote on the inside, but it appears the veteran Foote will be transitioning to the coaching staff for the 2015 season, unless he changes his mind later this summer. A healthy Weatherspoon would go a long way toward solidifying a linebacking group that has seen plenty of turnover in the last year.