Antoine Cason signs with Cardinals

TEMPE, Ariz. – The Cardinals likely completed the revamping of their cornerback position by signing former University of Arizona standout Antoine Cason on Friday. Kent Somers of The Arizona Republic first reported the deal, adding that it is for one year and roughly $2 million plus incentives.

Cason is coming off a 2012 season with the San Diego Chargers in which he posted two interceptions, 11 passes defended and 71 tackles, but according to Pro Football Focus, he was one of the worst cornerbacks in the NFL (PFF ranked him No. 108 out of 113 corners).

On the flip side, the 26-year-old Cason was one of the highest-ranked cornerbacks available, according to Scouts Inc. The 6-foot-1, 200-pounder has 12 interceptions in five NFL seasons and has played at least 87 percent of the defensive snaps in each of the past three seasons, including 96.7 percent last season.

“Cason is a big corner with good top-end speed and above-average short-area quickness, agility and body control,” a Scouts Inc. report read. “He has learned how to use his long arms to jam or re-route receivers at the line of scrimmage and looks more comfortable from a press alignment than he does in off coverage. He is a willing tackler but is not as strong or explosive as you’d expect for someone his size.”

His best year came in 2010, when he had four interceptions and 17 passes defended. The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that Cason had a better offer from the Jacksonville Jaguars but wanted to play in Arizona.

Cason won the 2007 Jim Thorpe Award at Arizona as the nation’s best college defensive back when he had 71 tackles, 14 pass breakups and six interceptions — two of which he returned for touchdowns.

Cason’s addition means the Cardinals now have five cornerbacks under contract, with Patrick Peterson, Jerraud Powers, Jamell Fleming and Justin Bethel the others. The team recently released William Gay, while free agent Greg Toler signed with the Indianapolis Colts. The club is not expected to re-sign free agent Michael Adams.

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