Report: Cardinals interested in free agent LB Bruce Irvin

Mar 7, 2016, 3:59 PM | Updated: 4:13 pm
Seattle Seahawks outside linebacker Bruce Irvin (51) pressures Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson...
Seattle Seahawks outside linebacker Bruce Irvin (51) pressures Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)
(AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)
LISTEN: Brock Huard, ESPN College Football Analyst

Let the fun begin.

The “legal tampering” period has started in the National Football League — a time when free agent contracts can be discussed but not finalized. Contracts can be officially signed when the new league year starts Wednesday afternoon at 2 p.m. Phoenix time.

The Arizona Cardinals, who are looking to bolster their pass rush, are targeting a few players. Add another name to the list.

According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Cardinals are in pursuit of Seattle Seahawks outside linebacker Bruce Irvin.

Irvin, 28, has spent his entire four-year NFL career in Seattle and has registered 22 sacks, including 5.5 last season. Irvin had 11 quarterback hurries, which was tied for third-most on the Seahawks defense.

Seattle radio broadcaster Brock Huard was a guest of Burns and Gambo Monday on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM and verified Rapoport’s nugget.

“From what I know, and I’ve got a pretty good source close to Bruce, it’s Oakland and Arizona,” Huard said. “Those two have been the most aggressive in wanting his services.”

In discussing free agency, fit is always a question that pops up. Huard doesn’t believe it’s an issue concerning Irvin’s potential connection to Arizona.

“He would fit with Arizona,” he said. “Arizona, to me, is a group that loves speed. I know basically every scheme in the NFL defensively loves speed. But with as much blitzing as they do and asking people to play in space as much as they will through their blitz schemes and zone blitzes, he’s a guy that’s incredibly athletic and incredibly fast — and he’s still pretty young in football years.”

The next question could be financial in nature. How much would a solid pass rusher like Irvin set the Cardinals back?

“I don’t think he’s going to come cheap,” Huard said. “That’s why the Seahawks can’t afford to pay him. They paid Bobby Wagner, they paid K.J. Wright, they paid their entire secondary. They paid their two defensive ends in (Michael) Bennett and (Cliff) Avril. They just don’t have the assets defensively to continue to pour even more money into it and because of that, I think Bruce will be a casualty.”

Irvin was a first-round draft pick in 2012 (15th overall) by the Seahawks out of West Virginia. He had 22.5 sacks and 29 tackles for loss in 26 career games for the Mountaineers.

In the last couple months, Irvin has said that he can’t see himself playing anywhere other than Seattle and would consider giving the Seahawks a hometown discount. But considering the Seahawks’ salary cap situation on defense, that appears less likely, as pointed out by Huard.

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