The Cardinals and running back Jason Wright (29) agreed to a two-year contract.
Running back is a position of need for the Cardinals, if for no other reason than sheer numbers going into the offseason, so the team made a step in that direction Monday.
Free-agent Jason Wright agreed to a two-year contract, a veteran who not only has a chance to replace the departed J.J. Arrington as the team's third-down back but also has proven himself on special teams.
Monetary terms were not disclosed.
The 5-foot-10, 215-pound Wright spent the last four seasons in Cleveland in a similar role. In 2008, Wright had just 23 carries for 85 yards but made 22 catches for 156 yards and a touchdown. He had 24 receptions for 233 yards in 2007, and said during his visit to the Cards' complex last week that one of the things he wants to improve upon is running deeper routes down the field.
"I want to become more versatile on what I can do on the offense," Wright said. "I want to give an option of splitting a running back out and put the other team on their heels."
Wright, 5-foot-10 and 215 pounds, said he has studied film on Philadelphia's Brian Westbrook and believes his game can be similar.
Wright also said he wants to become "dominant" on special teams.
"This is going to sound funny but I think I am strong almost everywhere," Wright said, laughing. "That will sound horrible when you write this -- it's going to sound horribly arrogant. But I think I am pretty strong everywhere."
The Cardinals needed a veteran presence in the backfield after losing Arrington. Edgerrin James remains on the roster but is a prime candidate to be released at some point this offseason. Tim Hightower remains, but he is only in his second season. The Cardinals are expected to use a high draft pick – perhaps their first-round choice – on a running back as well.
Wright can not only catch the ball but is known as a good blocker on blitz pickup – an important factor in the Cards' offense.
The Northwestern product is also smart and should bring a solid element into the locker room.
"That's part of what I enjoy about it, is the relationships of the guys in the locker room and part of what makes our jobs unique," Wright said. "I like to do my best to keep that a fun, family-connected environment and not something that is miserable. That's part of what makes football great, that you're not stuck in a cubicle and barely know the person next to you."
The Cardinals had already re-signed quarterback Kurt Warner and signed cornerback Bryant McFadden as a free agent. They are also closing in on a deal to re-sign linebacker Clark Haggans. Remaining priorities include extensions for safety Adrian Wilson and linebacker Karlos Dansby, as well as possibly re-doing wide receiver Anquan Boldin's deal.
Contact Darren Urban at firstname.lastname@example.org. Posted 3/16/09.