Nine years is a long time.
But since Bertrand Berry’s 14.5 sacks in 2004, the Arizona Cardinals haven’t had a single player record more than 10 in a single season.
Daryl Washington (nine sacks in 2012) and Darnell Dockett (nine sacks in 2007) have been awfully close to the mark, but it’s safe to say the team hasn’t had an elite pass rusher in recent years.
At 35, John Abraham might not be that guy on a down-by-down basis anymore, but the Cardinals’ newest linebacker — who signed a two-year deal Thursday — is by no means long in the tooth.
In 2012, Abraham recorded the fifth 10-sack season of his career, while also tying or setting career highs in forced fumbles (6) and pass deflections (7).
Dave Pasch was a guest on Arizona Sports 620’s Doug & Wolf Thursday, and when asked what recent move was bigger — the signing of Abraham or the signing of veteran offensive tackle Eric Winston — the Cardinals’ radio play-by-play voice leaned towards the NFL’s active sack leader.
“I think [the signing of Abraham] was bigger, because the Cardinals have been looking for an elite pass rusher,” Pasch said. “I know he’s older, but still.
“People make the comparison to the signing of Bertrand Berry, and nothing against Bertrand because he was a Pro Bowler when he came here from Denver, but this is a guy that has always been a star. And I think he still is.”
While Abraham is entering a new system under Todd Bowles, Pasch doesn’t believe the 13-year veteran will have any issue adapting to a change of scenery.
The way he sees it, the Cardinals’ latest defensive addition can wreak havoc on opposing offensive lines regardless of the setting.
“We’re going to use him differently, and I know he’s not going to play every down,” said Pasch. “Obviously the defense is different, but this is a guy offenses have to worry about it and game plan against when he’s on the field.”
Abraham is the fourth linebacker signed by Cardinals general manager Steve Keim this offseason, joining Jasper Brinkley, Karlos Dansby and Lorenzo Alexander.