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Cardinals Choose Ted Ginn For Speed

Posted Mar 13, 2014

Shaughnessy agrees to two-year deal; CB Cromartie visits

New wide receiver Ted Ginn meets the media Thursday after signing a three-year contract with the Cardinals.

Ted Ginn ran a 4.38-second 40-yard dash when he was coming out for the draft.

These days? “4.38,” Ginn said. “Without working.”

Not that the Cardinals are necessarily putting a stopwatch on their newest wide receiver/kick returner, who signed a three-year contract Thursday worth a reported $3.25 million a season. Coach Bruce Arians often talked about finding a wide receiver that could stretch the field. Ginn, 40 time aside, is the tangible definition of that guy.

“I’ve been watching this organization for a while, played against them a couple of times,” said Ginn, who played for the Panthers last season and the 49ers and Dolphins before that. “I wanted to go somewhere where I could help the team. They needed a fast guy, which I can bring to them. The return game, I can help out. Patrick Peterson, he’s a great returner but I could help him concentrate on ‘D’ a little bit more. Being able to take the load off (Larry) Fitzgerald from time to time, get (Michael) Floyd involved.”

The Ginn signing wasn’t the only news the Cardinals made Thursday. The club also officially announced that linebacker Matt Shaughnessy agreed to a new two-year contract – Fox Sports 1 pegged the deal at $4.4 million, plus potential incentives. Linebacker Dontay Moch was cut.

Meanwhile, free-agent additions are probably not done and could include a high-profile cornerback. Antonio Cromartie, recently released by the Jets in a cost-cutting move after he had made the last two Pro Bowls, was in Tempe visiting the Cardinals Thursday as well.

The Cardinals want to sign a veteran cornerback in free agency. They also wanted to find a speed receiver and potential return man, so grabbing Ginn early in the offseason checks that box.

Ginn, the Dolphins’ first-round pick in 2007, caught 36 passes for 556 yards and five touchdowns for the Panthers last season. He also returned 25 kickoffs for an average of 23.8 yards. He would drop right into the kick return role for the Cardinals, who manned it with Javier Arenas last season with mostly disappointing results.

He can also return punts, although that figures to remain Peterson’s domain.

“I’ll do what’s best for the team,” Ginn said. “As of right now, I do both.”

Ginn should fit nicely with top receivers Michael Floyd and Larry Fitzgerald as a speed man in the passing game, in addition to tight ends John Carlson and Rob Housler and running back Andre Ellington. Arians wants to continue to grow Ellington’s role as a pass catcher split outside.

He called the year in Carolina a “rebirth to show I am still a receiver,” after totaling just 33 receptions in three seasons with the 49ers. Before that, he had 128 catches in three seasons with Miami, battling the perception he had speed but inconsistent hands. His five touchdowns last season were a career best.

“This last move is a home now,” Ginn said. “I’m glad about that. I hope I can finish my career here.”

Working on a one-year deal and officially moving to linebacker for the first time in his career, Shaughnessy was a big part of the Cardinals’ No. 1-ranked rushing defense. He came off the bench until the season-ending injury to Sam Acho, and then earned that spot. He finished with 62 tackles, three sacks, and three fumble recoveries, returning one for a touchdown.

As for Cromartie, a signing isn’t imminent and may not even be likely. Negotiations are ongoing. But if the Cardinals can somehow sign him, he would form a formidable duo with fellow Pro Bowler Peterson, with Jerraud Powers in reserve and Tyrann Mathieu in nickel. Cromartie’s asking price will be interesting, since he had been making around $9 million in New York. He is 30, and last year’s Pro Bowl selection was somewhat of a surprise after he fought a hip injury.

EXTRA POINTS

Free agent tight end Jim Dray, whom the Cardinals had some interest in re-signing, signed a three-year contract with Cleveland Thursday. …

Former Cardinal guard Daryn Colledge is making a visit to the Rams today, despite the fact the Rams have brought back guard Rodger Saffold on a big deal – after the Raiders, who had agreed to a big Saffold deal over the weekend, failed Saffold on his physical – and that St. Louis hosted free agent guard Davin Joseph. The Cards cut Colledge Tuesday.

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