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Cardinals Collecting Depth

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The Cardinals re-signed defensive end Joe Tafoya (71) and receiver Jerheme Urban (85) to two-year contracts Wednesday.

As expected with the finalization of the Larry Fitzgerald contract – and the subsequent availability of salary cap room -- the Cardinals have begun to re-sign some of free agents who had been left in limbo.

Defensive end Joe Tafoya and wide receiver Jerheme Urban signed two-year contracts Wednesday, while defensive end Bo Schobel signed a one-year deal. That comes on the heels of wide receiver Ahmad Merritt re-signing on a one-year contract Tuesday morning.

The Cardinals are also close to a deal with former Steelers linebacker Clark Haggans, although nothing had been finalized as of Wednesday. The team has been looking for a linebacker after free-agent Brandon Chillar, whom the Cards were pursuing, chose to sign with Green Bay.

Haggans, entering his ninth season, had 71 tackles and three sacks for Pittsburgh in 2007.

Tafoya was mostly a special-teams player but when Bertrand Berry went down with a season-ending injury, Tafoya stepped into the starting lineup for the final seven games. Splitting time with the now-departed Darryl Blackstock, Tafoya had 21 tackles and two sacks.

Urban, who along with Merritt be one of the candidates to replace Bryant Johnson as the team's third receiver, had 22 receptions for 329 yards and two touchdowns last season.

Schobel played in just two games last season, recording two tackles.

Coach Ken Whisenhunt has mentioned the desire to re-sign a handful of other veterans, like defensive lineman Rodney Bailey, defensive back Matt Ware and safety Oliver Celestin.

LEINART READY

A lump of bone is still noticeable near Matt Leinart's neck, the remnants of the quarterback's broken collarbone suffered last season.

But Leinart showed up this week for the beginning of the offseason strength and conditioning program, and said he will be able to take part in all the team's offseason work.

"I wouldn't say I am 100 percent but I feel great," Leinart said. "I have been throwing 100 percent.

"I think with the bone still mending and healing, it will probably take all summer, but I am good to go. I don't have to take a hit until August so I still have four months to keep getting stronger."

The Cardinals still only have two quarterbacks on the roster with Leinart and Kurt Warner. The team may bring back Tim Hasselbeck; it is unlikely they will try to re-sign Tim Rattay. There is a possibility the Cards take a quarterback in the draft, although it likely wouldn't be until the later rounds.

BROWN REHABBING

Backup lineman Elton Brown, who signed his tender offer earlier this week, is recovering from knee surgery to repair the issues he played through last season. Brown is taking part in the offseason workout program, although he is unable to run right now.


Contact Darren Urban at askdarren@cardinals.nfl.net. Posted 3/26/08.

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