Jets deal Rhodes to Cardinals for 2 draft picks

It took the Arizona Cardinals one day to find a replacement for

Antrel Rolle.

The Cardinals acquired safety Kerry Rhodes from the New York

Jets on Saturday for a fourth-round pick in this year’s draft and a

seventh-rounder in 2011.

Rhodes is expected to move into the starting spot opposite

All-Pro Adrian Wilson that was vacated when Rolle, a Pro Bowl

selection last season, signed as a free agent with the New York

Giants on Friday – the day after he was released by Arizona.

“He fits a lot of the things that we do defensively,”

Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said in a statement, “and the

prospect of having him alongside a perennial All-Pro like Adrian

Wilson is very exciting.”

The Jets received Arizona’s original pick in the fourth round;

the Cardinals acquired another Friday night from Baltimore in

exchange for wide receiver Anquan Boldin.

The deal came a day after Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum

said he expected Rhodes to participate in the offseason program in

a few weeks, and play in New York this year and beyond “unless

something changes.”

Apparently, something did change – and Tannenbaum jumped at the

chance to deal Rhodes, whose future with the Jets was uncertain

after a shaky season in which he feuded with coaches over his

role.

Rhodes has four years left on his contract and was due a $2

million roster bonus next week. Expected to be one of the standouts

on coach Rex Ryan’s defense last year, Rhodes struggled and even

lost his starting job.

After trading Boldin and losing top free agents in Rolle and

linebacker Karlos Dansby, who agreed to terms with Miami, the

Cardinals got a player they feel can have an immediate impact.

“We all know that the safety position was a hole we needed to

fill,” Whisenhunt said. “To be able to do that so quickly and

with a proven starter off the NFL’s No. 1 defense is a tremendous

positive for our football team. Kerry has the experience and

ability to step in right away.”

After Ryan was hired as the Jets’ coach last year, he

immediately compared Rhodes to Pro Bowler Ed Reed. He said Rhodes

could fill the playmaking role Reed excelled in under Ryan for

several years in Baltimore.

The high praise was the result of the 12 interceptions, nine

sacks and five forced fumbles Rhodes had in his first four seasons.

But Rhodes struggled to live up to that hype, producing no

turnovers through the first 10 games.

The coaches began to have doubts about the desire of Rhodes, who

has aspirations of having an acting career after football. So Ryan

and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine pulled him from the base

defensive package in favor of Eric Smith.

Rhodes was on the sideline for New York’s opening defensive snap

against Carolina on Nov. 29, the first time in his NFL career that

he didn’t start.

He returned to the starting lineup at Tampa Bay on Dec. 13

following a meeting with defensive backs coach Dennis Thurman – one

of the conditions set by Ryan. Rhodes appeared refocused and

motivated the rest of the season and into the playoffs, finishing

with three interceptions and a career-high 13 passes defensed.

Rhodes acknowledged he was frustrated, but humbled by last

season. He had been noncommittal about whether he would want to

return to the team, but met with the coaches and had a different

outlook in the offseason.

“To be honest, I really do want to be here,” Rhodes said in an

interview with television station SportsNet New York in January.

“This is New York. This is the team that gave me my first shot.

They gave me the big contract. … I’m letting the fans know I do

want to be here to end my career as a Jet, but sometimes

circumstances happen.”

Rhodes, a fourth-round pick out of Louisville in 2005, has 15

career interceptions.

AP Sports Writer Bob Baum in Phoenix contributed to this

story.