Deemed a poor fit by his former team, which plays its late-season games in frigid conditions on the edges of Lake Erie, Frostee Rucker is relocating to a more arid region.
Rucker, an eight-year veteran, has agreed to terms on a one-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals, the team confirmed Thursday. Last month, the Browns released Rucker after the hiring of defensive coordinator Ray Horton. Cleveland made the move when its new staff determined that Rucker did not fit within its multiple-front defensive system.
Originally a third-round pick of the Bengals in the 2006 NFL Draft, Rucker's best season arguably came in 2011, his final year in Cincinnati. Rucker had 44 tackles and 4.0 sacks, posting the highest stops-per-snap percentage of any defensive end in the league. In 2012, Rucker's only season with the Browns, he put up similar numbers finishing with a career-high 48 tackles and 4.0 sacks.
The Cardinals have two menacing defensive ends in the starting lineup in veterans Darnell Dockett and Calais Campbell but entered the offseason needing to add depth to their front seven. Arizona bolstered its line last week with the signing of former Raiders defensive lineman Matt Shaughnessy to a one-year deal. The signing also likely signals the departure of veteran linemen Vonnie Holliday and Nick Eason, both of whom are free agents.
In 2012, Arizona ranked fifth in sacks per pass attempt and fifth in defending the pass, as Campbell ranked second on the team with 6.5 sacks. New defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, though, could look to spell his starting defensive linemen at times. Dockett and Campbell ranked among the top 15 in snaps among 3-4 defensive ends last season, according to Pro Football Focus.
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