Arizona Cardinals Sign DE/OLB Travis LeBoy to Fill Space Left by Pace's Departure

Casey MoritzCorrespondent IMarch 4, 2008

The Arizona Cardinals have inked a deal with fourth year DE Travis LeBoy, formerly of the Tennessee Titans, despite pressure from his previous team to return to the Titans roster for the 2008 season.

LaBoy is slated to fill the roster spot left by the departure of Calin Pace to the NY Jets as a free agent. LeBoy was excited by the prospect of joining the Cardinals defense and playing the conversion DE/OLB spot where Calvin Pace enjoyed a career year last season. 

The terms of the deal were not disclosed in accordance with team policy, but it has been reported to be $22 million over five years with $7.5 million in guarantees. The pay out to LaBoy stands in stark contrast to the six-year, $42 million contract signed by Pace on Monday, which includes a signing bonus of $20 million and $22 million in total guarantees.

The 6-foot-3, 260-pound LeBoy is physically similar to Pace in size and athleticism. He looks to be a little faster around the corner than Pace, which should be a welcome addition to a Cardinals pass rush that was inconsistent during the 2007 season.

LaBoy was excited by the prospect of playing in Arizona in the unusual multiple-fronts scheme of defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast, in which he will be asked to play on his feet in space, as well as lining up with a hand down and rushing from the edge in a more traditional DE role. LeBoy is expected to play opposite Chike Okeafor and compete with Bertrand Berry for time at DE. 

The most welcome sign of change in the Valley of the Sun is the desire for players to be Cardinals—not a luxury the team has enjoyed in the recent past. Getting a talented player at the lower end of his fair market value is just one more sign that the Arizona Cardinals are heading in the direction of being more competitive in 2008.

The Cardinals have also visited with Rams LB Brandon Chillar, though the team will be restricted in the free agent moves available to them until the stalled talks with Larry Fitzgerald to restructure his $16.5 million dollar cap number have been resolved.