Haggans Brings New Element to Cards' Defense

The Cardinals officially added another pass-rusher to the mix by signing linebacker Clark Haggans to a one-year contract on March 27. Haggans, who spent six years in Pittsburgh with coach Ken Whisenhunt, adds another sack threat and represents the final piece in the all-out transition to the 3-4 scheme.

Clark Haggans couldn't find the long-term security he was looking for in the free-agent market, and the Cardinals couldn't be happier about it. Haggans decided to settle with a familiar face in the desert, signing a one-year deal in hopes of playing his way to a bigger payday next offseason.

A nine-year veteran, Haggans has totaled 315 tackles, 32.5 sacks and 18 pass breakups in his career. His best season came in 2005, when he finished with 59 tackles and nine sacks in only 13 games.

Haggans, who is well versed in the 3-4 defense from his days with the Pittsburgh Steelers, is the second pass-rushing linebacker to join the Cardinals this offseason. Arizona earlier signed Travis LaBoy and both players could start on opposite sides of the defense on opening day.

The Cardinals pass rush will also benefit from the returns of Chike Okeafor and Bert Berry from season-ending injuries. Okeafor will compete with Haggans and LaBoy for a starting outside linebacker gig. Berry will now likely remain at defensive end, although he could be used from a standing stance on occasion.

Haggans becomes the second longtime Steeler to reunite with coach Ken Whisenhunt this offseason. Tight end Jerame Tuman, who spent nine seasons with the Steelers, joined the Cardinals earlier this offseason.


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