Having missed out on Reggie Bush, the Arizona Cardinals were looking for a quick replacement having cut Beanie Wells on Tuesday. The Cardinals confirmed Wednesday that they signed former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall to a one-year contract worth an estimated $2.5 million, reports Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com.
It's a great move for the Cardinals and an interesting gambit by Mendenhall. He's betting on himself. Instead of taking a low-cost long-term deal, Mendenhall will hit free agency again in 2014. After averaging more than 1,100 rushing yards with 10 scores from 2009 to 2011, Mendenhall wound up hitting the market after his worst season.
Mendenhall knows coach Bruce Arians' system from their days together with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He's a powerful runner who won't be asked to be a great receiver. That's not what Arians wants.
The Cardinals released Beanie Wells with this move in mind. LaRod Stephens-Howling is a free agent. Mendenhall will share carries with Ryan Williams in a promising backfield.
Arians loves to air the ball out vertically, but this Cardinals offense might be built around the power running game. Anything to give Larry Fitzgerald more opportunity to stretch the field.
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