Cardinals sign linebacker Alexander

March 13, 2013

The Arizona Cardinals have landed one of the NFL’s top special teams players and are on the verge of signing another.

As first reported by, a source told the Washington Redskins that linebacker Lorenzo Alexander has agreed to contract terms with the Cardinals. ESPN reported that it was a three-year deal.

Cleveland Browns wide receiver and kick returner Josh Cribbs is “most likely” to sign with the Cardinals as well, the source said.

Alexander’s 19 special-teams tackles led the NFL in 2012. He also was a key backup linebacker for the Redskins, where he had played since 2006.

Washington had interest in re-signing Alexander but was facing cap issues. Pittsburgh also was bidding for Alexander’s services.

Alexander’s presence will be missed in the locker room as well as Washington D.C. area. Alexander was a team leader who had considerable community outreach through his ACES Foundation charity.

Cribbs has spent all eight of his NFL seasons in Cleveland primarily as a special-teams standout and jack-of-all-trades offensive player. Cribbs was named to the NFL’s All-Decade team in the 2000s as a kickoff returner and is the all-time leader in Browns history in that role. Cribbs also is tied for the NFL all-time record in kickoff returns for touchdowns with eight.

Cribbs is expected to get used as both a wide receiver and returner by the Cardinals. Cribbs posted a career-high 41 receptions in 2011 but wasn’t a significant part of Cleveland’s passing offense in 2012. He finished with only 13 touches (seven catches; six rushes), marking his lowest production since Cribbs’ rookie campaign in 2005.

The Cardinals also signed former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall to a one-year contract earlier in the day.

The agent for ex-Indianapolis quarterback Drew Stanton also announced his client signed a three-year contract with the Cardinals. Stanton played under new Arizona head coach Bruce Arians while both were with Indianapolis in 2012. The Stanton signing could trigger the release of former Cardinals starting quarterback Kevin Kolb in the coming days. Arizona reportedly released free safety Kerry Rhodes on Thursday afternoon.