The Arizona Cardinals and free agent linebacker Joey Porter agreed to terms on a three-year, $17.5 million contract that could be worth as much as $24.5 million if all incentives are reached.
Porter was released by the Miami Dolphins on March 5 for numerous reasons, most notably his declining performance and terrible attitude.
Lets face it, at 33-years-old, Porter's best years are a ways back in the rear-view mirror. He's slowed down significantly, to the point that the Dolphins tried to pull him off the field for long stretches last season when he wasn't producing.
Miami's coaching staff wasn't able to get him to actually come to the sidelines on most occasions; Porter just simply refused to come out of games. It caused a lot of problems and seriously messed with the chain of command.
After the season, Porter went on the radio and blasted the coaching staff and franchise for the way they "mishandled" him. Some may say that led to his March 5 release, but the Dolphins would tell you otherwise.
Porter had 41 tackles, nine sacks, and one forced fumble last season; significantly down from the 17.5 sacks and four forced fumbles he recorded in 2008. He struggled with nagging injuries all season, and it was obvious he wasn't giving it his all.
He was benched for a reason—the same reason he was cut. Porter just doesn't seem to have it in him, physically or mentally. At this point in his career, he's a distraction in the locker room and a liability on the field.
He struggles against the run and in pass coverage. And as a pass-rusher, he'll almost assuredly never reach his All-Pro numbers from two seasons ago.
That's why the numbers attached to his new deal are puzzling. If he'd been brought in for a small figure, something close to the veteran's minimum, then there wouldn't be an issue. But $17.5 million, possibly even more, is a totally different story.
This is a team that let Karlos Dansby walk for $43 million, ironically to the Dolphins. Now obviously that's significantly more money, but Dansby is also a significantly better talent. At 28, he's just entered his prime, and his numbers last season are far more impressive.
Porter, on the other hand, had a down year on the wrong side of 30, and his stats are misleading on top of that. In weeks 11 and 12, he had 4.5 of his nine sacks and disappeared for long stretches throughout the season. He also failed to record a single game of double-digit tackles.
And yet his deal could pay him as much as $8.16 million per season, while Dansby will earn $8.6 million a year. That doesn't add up from a financial perspective.
Arizona needed a pass rusher, but Dansby is capable of playing outside linebacker if needed; 25.5 career sacks proves that. He was also the undeniable leader of the Cardinals' defense. Porter alienated himself from teammates and coaches in Miami.
So why essentially trade a younger, more talented, versatile, positive-influencing linebacker for a lesser one in every category?
The Cardinals cited financial reasons for letting Dansby walk as a free agent, but that point was muted by the Porter addition. If he meets his incentives, they'll be paying him as much as Miami is paying Dansby.
Which player will provide more on the field over the next three seasons, though?
It's very hard not to think it'll be Dansby.
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