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Cardinals Land McFadden

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 Bryant McFadden (20), here making a play against Steve Breaston in the Super Bowl, is now Breaston's teammate after agreeing to a contract Sunday.

The Cardinals weren't going to chase a lot of free agents this offseason, but they had a priority list – and cornerback Bryant McFadden was at the top.

So Sunday, a few days after the team re-signed the most important free agent from its own roster in quarterback Kurt Warner, the team landed McFadden when the former Steeler agreed to a two-year contract worth $10 million. McFadden will receive $5 million in the first year of the deal, including a $3.75 million salary.

"It seems to be a good situation," McFadden said during his visit last week. "There are some guys I have been around in previous years. And it's an up-and-coming organization, which you'd love to be a part of -- a successful organization and (one) that is making strides and you want to be a part of."

McFadden will compete with veteran Rod Hood for a starting job opposite second-year man Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. The move bolsters the Cards' secondary, after a 2008 season when soon-to-be-departing Eric Green fell out of favor and the nickel position was manned by veteran Ralph Brown.

"He's coming in to compete, but much like the other veteran players we have brought in, he brings the mentality of what we have tried to have here," coach Ken Whisenhunt said.

The move also should allow Antrel Rolle to focus on playing free safety and not have to worry about filling the slot cornerback role.

McFadden played in 10 games for the Steelers in 2008, starting eight games and making two interceptions. McFadden missed six games after breaking an arm and needing surgery. But he returned to start all three playoff games for Pittsburgh, including against the Cardinals in the Super Bowl. In four seasons, McFadden has played in 51 games, making seven interceptions.

McFadden may have been the best cornerback available, but Whisenhunt said knowing McFadden -- not only from Whisenhunt's days in Pittsburgh but also facing McFadden in each of the last two seasons -- also drove the Cards into seeking McFadden's services.

"It always helps when you know someone personally, know how he works," Whisenhunt said.

Whisenhunt added that the Cards do have their own players to tend to but that the team's work in free agency isn't necessarily over. "We're never going to close the door on opportunities to make our team better," he said. "Our goal is to get back to the Super Bowl and win it."


Contact Darren Urban at askdarren@cardinals.nfl.net. Posted 3/8/09. Updated 3/8/09.

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