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Report: Alex Okafor signs with Saints

The Arizona Cardinals lost outside linebacker Alex Okafor to the New Orleans Tuesday, as Okafor reportedly agreed to a one-year contract with the Saints.

With two of the league's most prominent pass rushers in the league on their roster, the Arizona Cardinals can see the future at outside linebacker.

So too could Alex Okafor, a four-year NFL veteran who fell behind both Chandler Jones and Markus Golden on the Cardinals' depth chart last season.

With the Cardinals locking up Jones on a five-year contract this offseason and controlling Golden through the end of the 2018 season, Okafor elected to pursue an opportunity elsewhere, reportedly signing Tuesday morning with the New Orleans Saints.

According to Rand Getlin, Okafor agreed to a one-year deal that could be worth up to $3 million with New Orleans.


Okafor spent the first four seasons of his career in Arizona after the Cardinals selected him in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft. After playing in just one game as a rookie in 2013, Okafor exploded onto the scene with an 8.0 sack campaign in 2014 when he made 12 starts and played in 13 games.

The following season, though, Okafor's production took a step back, as he finished with just 2.0 sacks in 13 starts and missed the Cardinals' playoff run after an off-the-field incident.

Okafor returned to Arizona in 2016, but found himself behind both Jones and Golden on the depth chart. While playing through a torn bicep he suffered in training camp, Okafor served as the team's third outside linebacker and as a special teams contributor and notched 3.5 sacks.

Okafor's decision to sign with New Orleans will allow him to transition from playing outside linebacker to playing defensive end in the Saints' 4-3 scheme. Coming out of Texas, many draft analysts pegged Okafor as a candidate for a 4-3 scheme, but the Cardinals liked his potential at outside linebacker and took a chance on him in the fourth round.

With Okafor out of the picture, Arizona will likely add a depth option at outside linebacker in free agency. The Cardinals reportedly hosted former Pittsburgh Steelers' first round draft choice Jarvis Jones for a visit Monday, and Jones could be the leading candidate to replace Okafor should the Cardinals work to get a deal done quickly. 

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