If there's one attribute the Arizona Cardinals have prioritized in free agency, it's adding and keeping veteran players who qualify as leaders in the locker room.
That theme held up again on Friday, as Arizona announced it had agreed to terms with defensive lineman Frostee Rucker on a one-year contract that will keep Rucker with the franchise through 2017.
The 33-year-old Rucker has spent the last four seasons with the Cardinals, serving as one of the team's primary starters on the defensive line during the 2015 season while adding depth as a rotational linemen in each of his three other seasons with the organization.
The 11-year NFL veteran was a third round draft pick of the Cincinnati Bengals back in 2006 and spent the first five seasons of his career with the organization before bolting in 2012 to sign a five-year deal with the Cleveland Browns. Rucker was released by Cleveland after one season, and wound up signing with Arizona, where he has become an important member of the Cardinals' defensive line.
In 126 career games, Rucker has recorded 20.0 sacks and eight forced fumbles. Rucker's most productive season came in 2014 when he started seven games for the Cardinals and racked up a career-high 5.0 sacks.
After the Cardinals lost veteran Calais Campbell to Jacksonville in free agency, re-signing Rucker became an important move for Arizona as it hopes to give 2016 first round draft pick Robert Nkemdiche veteran presences to learn from on a relatively young Cardinals' defensive line.
Though Rucker likely won't slide into a starting role in 2017, the Cardinals needed to add one more piece on their defensive line in free agency and re-signing Rucker accomplishes that task.