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Jets send Rhodes to Cardinals for draft picks

Safety Kerry Rhodes #25 of the New York

Safety Kerry Rhodes #25 of the New York Jets reacts after a play in the fourth quarter of the 2010 AFC wild-card playoff game against the Cincinnati Bengals. (January 9, 2010) Photo Credit: Getty Images

Kerry Rhodes' days with the Jets are over.

A little more than 24 hours after general manager Mike Tannenbaum said he expected the safety to be with the team next season and well into the future, the Jets shipped him to Arizona for a fourth-round pick in next month's draft and a 2011 seventh-rounder.

Rhodes was due a $2-million roster bonus next Friday, and his arrival in Arizona helps the Cardinals fill a void left by the departure of safety Antrel Rolle, who signed a five-year, $37-million contract with the Giants on Friday after the Cardinals waived him. It also spells an end to the roller-coaster ride Rhodes has experienced the last few months, which began in the wake of the Jets' 31-14 loss to the Patriots on Nov. 22.

Rhodes was demoted two days later and replaced by Eric Smith, mostly because he had fallen out of favor with the coaching staff. The dedication of Rhodes, who was nicknamed "Hollywood" and never shied away from his desire to be an actor, was called into question.

He never saw eye-to-eye with defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, and Rex Ryan also was bothered that Rhodes wasn't spending much time with defensive backs coach Dennis Thurman. Ryan believed that Rhodes - whom he originally compared to Baltimore's Ed Reed but who hadn't recorded a single turnover through the first 10 games - could improve his game and maximize his potential by picking Thurman's brain.

Rhodes finally met with Thurman the first week of December, and after coming off the bench for two games, he regained his spot in the starting base defense in the Jets' 26-3 win in Tampa.

Rhodes finished the season with respectable numbers: 63 tackles, 13 passes defensed and three interceptions.

Tannenbaum said Friday that Rhodes remained a part of the Jets' plans and indicated the team was prepared to bring him back.

"We expect Kerry to be here for the offseason program," he said, "and to be with us next year and beyond."

Rhodes, speaking on SNY's "Wheelhouse" on Jan. 27, made it clear he hoped to stay in New York. "I want to end my career here," he said, "end my career as a Jet."

But now Rhodes is bound for the desert. That leaves the Jets with Jim Leonhard, restricted free agent Smith and reserve James Ihedigbo at safety. So they'll likely look to upgrade, something the Cardinals thought they did with the acquisition of Rhodes.

"We all know that the safety position was a hole we needed to fill," Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said in a statement. "To be able to do that so quickly and with a proven starter off the NFL's No. 1 defense is a tremendous positive for our football team. Kerry has the experience and ability to step in right away.

"He fits a lot of the things that we do defensively, and the prospect of having him alongside a perennial all-pro like Adrian Wilson is very exciting."

Notes & quotes: Running back Thomas Jones, released Friday by the Jets, reportedly will visit the Chiefs Monday.

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