Despite rumors (given steam by people like NFL.com’s Jason LaCanfora) that the Arizona Cardinals might be interested in helping the Philadelphia Eagles uncrowd their now-crowded cornerback corps by perhaps taking Asante Samuel off their hands, the Cards went another direction.
The team reportedly agreed to terms with former Carolina Panthers secondary mainstay Richard Marshall. The deal is expected to be for one year.
In his past two seasons, Marshall started all 32 games and had 7 interceptions and 176 tackles. For comparison, newly traded Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie had 9 interceptions and 94 tackles in his last two seasons. Marshall is a more physical corner, which would seem in line with new defensive coordinator Ray Horton’s MO. He’s only 5’11" but has done well for his size. Marshall comes with a reputation similar to last year’s secondary pickup, Kerry Rhodes: he is seen as very talented, and, while productive, has not performed up to potential.
In addition, he has had contract squabbles with the Panthers over the last couple of seasons that may have affected his play, though obviously that will not be a concern with the Cardinals since they signed him outright as a free agent, on a short-term basis.
It is expected that Marshall will compete with first-round choice Patrick Peterson and “veteran” Greg Toler for the starting role. However, it would seem the likely starting duo will be Peterson and Marshall, with Toler in the nickel slot, where he is probably a better fit. Marshall is certainly not Nnamdi Asomugha or Asante Samuel, but he is a solid pickup that will do a decent job of filling the hole left by the Kevin Kolb trade.