Arizona Cardinals Hedge Bets at Inside Linebacker and Sign Darryl Sharpton
Arizona Cardinals sign Darryl Sharpton
With the looming uncertainty of Daryl Washington’s active status, the Cardinals front office have come to terms with veteran inside linebacker Darryl Sharpton. Sharpton agreed to a one-year contract with the Redbirds, inking a deal with his fourth team since 2010.
The young journeyman was drafted by the Texans out of the University of Miami. In 2014, he signed with Washington until getting injured in August and eventually agreeing to an injury settlement with the team. He was scooped up by the Bears in September of last year and played in four games. To make room for the deal Cards cut safety Eddie Whitley which was not a bad move in any sense considering the depth they have at the saftey position (Bucannon, Mathieu, Jefferson, Johnson).
The Cardinals did not utilize the draft to build up their inside linebacker corps but it seems like this offseason has been dedicated to beefing up the unit. The team signed four undrafted rookies to fill the void left long ago by Daryl Washington and more recently by Larry Foote. Rookies Alani Fua, Edwin Jackson, Andrae Kirk, Gabe Martin, will compete with veterans Sean Weatherspoon, Kevin Minter, Glenn Carson and Kenny Demens to start on James Bettcher’s defense.
Sharpton was a bruiser for the ‘Canes and hoped to make a successful transition to the NFL like so many Miami linebackers do (think Ray Lewis, Jonathan Vilma).
Sharpton has yet to play a full 16-game season and hopes to accomplish that feat this year. Something magical could happen for the vet just as it has for so many other veterans whom have made their way to the desert on a one year contract. The carrot is dangling as Steve Keim so often likes to say.
The 3-4 scheme demands quality linebackers on the inside and out. The new double-r Darryl can hopefully bring even more toughness to a back four that seems to get stronger by the day. If he makes the roster, he could become a quality special teamer or maybe even fit in as a rotational force of fresh legs. Whatever his role becomes, we hope can make big some big hits like this… but Darryl next time don’t lead with your helmet.
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