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Cardinals with free-agency makeover

Rashard Mendenhall #34 of the Pittsburgh Steelers carries

Rashard Mendenhall #34 of the Pittsburgh Steelers carries the ball during a game against the Kansas City Chiefs. (Nov. 27, 2011) Credit: Getty Images

Day 2 of the free agency signing period was a busy one for the Cardinals, who brought in a new running back (Rashard Mendenhall), a new quarterback (Drew Stanton), a new safety (Yeremiah Bell), a new  cornerback (Jerraud Powers) and a new linebacker (Lorenzo Alexander). 

That's what you call working the second- and third-tier of free agency at a time when plenty of other teams are concentrating on the top end of the market. 

There's a good chance Stanton, who had a brief stint with the Jets last year before demanding a trade once the Jets acquired Tim Tebow, becomes the starter and high-priced Kevin Kolb is released. And it's possible Mendenhall, who wore out his welcome in Pittsburgh last year, will be the No. 1 tailback. 

Bell, another former Jet, replaces Kerry Rhodes, also a former Jet. The Cardinals released Rhodes once Rhodes signed. 

Bell played under Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles when the two were with the Dolphins. 

"He's the kind of guy you love to have on your team," head coach Bruce Arians said of Bell. 

The coach likes Stanton, too. Arians was the Colts' offensive coordinator last year and worked with Stanton, who had forced a trade to Indy after the Tebow deal. Stanton didn't take a single regular season snap, but Arians saw enough in practice to hitch his wagon to Stanton. At least for now. There's a chance the Cardinals, who have the seventh overall draft pick, will go with a quarterback in the first round. 

"Physically, he has everything you want in a quarterback," Arians said of Stanton. "Big, with a strong arm, can get it up the field and make all the throws. He's just as impressive mentally and understands the position. I'm excited to get him here and compete."


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