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2012 NFL Free Agency: Could The Cardinals Acquire Robert Mathis

The Arizona Cardinals racked up 42 sacks in 2012, which tied them for the seventh-most in the league with the Cowboys and the 49ers, but the pressure they applied to opposing quarterbacks didn't really transfer into a top-notch pass defense. They finished the regular season with the 17th-ranked pass defense, which will need to improve if they want to be competitive in the NFC West.

One way to improve a team's pass defense is to apply even more pressure to the quarterback.'s Pete Prisco thinks that the Cardinals could achieve that goal by signing Indianapolis Colts free agent defensive end Robert Mathis and converting him to an outside pass-rushing linebacker.

The Cardinals need to find somebody who can rush the passer from the outside linebacker position. Mathis has been a down end, but he could easily make the transition to rush linebacker with his speed.

Mathis is coming off a 9.5 sack season and is set to hit the free agency market on March 13. The Colts will likely want to keep the combination of Dwight Freeney and Mathis together, but they may not be able to work a long-term deal for Mathis and using the franchise tag on him could cost too much. There will be a lot of teams that could benefit from the addition of Mathis and the Cardinals are one of them.

For more on the Cardinals, head to Revenge Of The Birds.