Outside linebacker joins Arizona Cardinals defensive unit

The Arizona Cardinals front office acquired free agent linebacker Devon Kennard to help the club in the pass-rushing department

Just this past season, Arizona Cardinals edge-rusher Chandler Jones finished second in the NFL with 19 sacks. The Pro Bowler obviously had a magnificent campaign, but finding someone else who could help put pressure on quarterbacks became an offseason priority for the organization. On Wednesday, the Cards front office acquired someone who they believe can fill that void.

Just a day after he was released by the Detroit Lions, outside linebacker Devon Kennard signed a three-year deal with Arizona. The contract is worth a reported $20 million, with $12.25 million of it in guarantees. Based on what Kennard accomplished with the Lions over the past two seasons, Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph should be extremely pleased with the acquisition.

In 31 appearances (30 starts) with Detroit, Kennard racked up 104 tackles, 18 of which were for a loss. More importantly, the 28-year old registered seven sacks in 2018, and another seven this past fall. Kennard also tallied 29 quarterback hits during the two-year period, so it certainly appears that the Cards have found a solid pass-rushing complement to Jones.

Kennard entered the league back in 2014 as a fifth-round draft pick of the New York Giants. During the four campaigns he spent in the “Big Apple”, the 6’3, 256 pounder totaled 203 tackles, 9.5 sacks, eight passes defensed and 22 quarterback hits. Kennard appeared in 52 games for the Giants, and was credited with 35 starts.

The former USC Trojan was born in Tempe, Arizona, and attended Desert Vista High School in Phoenix. Kennard is the son of former Cardinal Derek Kennard, who was an offensive lineman with the franchise for five seasons (1986-90).

After an awful performance in 2019, the Cards defensive unit is in desperate need of some reinforcements. Improvement on that side of the ball is imperative if the team has any hopes of getting back to the playoffs. Adding talented defenders like Kennard can go a long way towards helping Arizona achieve that goal.

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