The Arizona Cardinals saw two of their starting running backs go on the injured reserve list this season and they are looking for somebody to be a little more stable. RB Ryan Williams has not proven to be a reliable healthy back and Beanie Wells is all but done in Arizona because of the comment he made about trying out for 31 other teams for the regular season finale against the San Francisco 49ers.
I wish Wells all the best if he does not stay with the team. I thought I’d mention LaRod Stephens-Howling because he did have a pretty solid run as a starter, but he is by no means a starter in this league and I can’t imagine him being more than a third down back. With Head Coach Bruce Arians‘ new vertical attack he could find more success in the receiving game out of the backfield.
It’s no surprise the Cardinals might be interested in Pittsburgh Steelers future free agent Rashard Mendenhall because of Arians ties to the city. He was their offensive coordinator in Mendenhall’s best years as a back. From 2009-2011 Mendenhall averaged about 1,000 yards a season and over four yards per carry. That is definitely better than anything the Cardinals had this year. The Steelers announced they will probably not use the franchise tag, so Mendenhall will be available.
This season, Mendenhall did not have a great year, but only got the ball 51 times. He was also suspended one game for not attending a game versus the San Diego Chargers. Probably not a good call on his part to not show up for a game, but it doesn’t seem like a serious attitude problem.
The only downside to Mendenhall is he did tear his ACL in his right knee in 2011 and missed a month this season and then injured his Achilles shortly after. The Cardinals are not looking for damaged goods, but I am calling it a season off for the running back and that can be good for the wear and tear on his body.
If the Cardinals do sign him I am expecting a two year deal with about $10 million in guaranteed money, heavily packed with incentives and an option for a third year.
Follow Kase Brammer on Twitter @KBlive33