The Arizona Cardinals Football Club today announced that the team has agreed to terms with linebacker JOHN ABRAHAM on a two-year contract and with tackle ERIC WINSTON on a one-year contract. In addition, the team has released linebacker O'BRIEN SCHOFIELD, placed wide receiver RYAN SWOPE on the reserve/retired list due to concussion issues and signed linebacker KENNY ROWE. In accordance with club policy, terms were not disclosed.
Abraham (6-4, 263) is a 14-year veteran who is the NFL's active leader with 122 career sacks which is tied for 13th all-time. A four-time Pro Bowler and two-time first-team All-Pro selection, he began his career as a first-round pick (13th overall) of the New York Jets in the 2000 NFL Draft out of South Carolina and spent six years with the Jets before playing the last seven years with the Atlanta Falcons. Abraham started 15 games last season for Atlanta and led the Falcons with 10 sacks to go along with 41 tackles, 15 tackles for loss and set a franchise record with six forced fumbles.
For his career, Abraham has played in 175 career games (160 starts) and has 122 sacks, 590 tackles (438 solos), 44 forced fumbles, six fumble recoveries and one interception. He has had seven seasons with double-digit sacks and he also set Falcons franchise records with 68.5 career sacks and a single-season record 16.5 sacks in 2008. Abraham is one of five active NFL players with more than 100 career sacks (Jared Allen, Julius Peppers, DeMarcus Ware, and Dwight Freeney).
Winston (6-7, 302) started all 16 games at right tackle last season for Kansas City and helped the Chiefs lead the AFC in rushing with 149.7 yards per game while running back Jamaal Charles set career highs with 285 carries for 1,509 rushing yards and five touchdowns. Winston has started 103 consecutive games at right tackle over the past seven seasons and has played in 108 games overall.
He played six seasons for Houston after entering the league with the Texans as a third-round pick (66th overall) in the 2006 NFL Draft out of Miami. While in Houston, Winston helped the Texans rank in the top four in the league in total offense in three consecutive seasons (2009-11).
Swope (6-0, 204) was drafted by the Cardinals with one of their two picks in the sixth round (174th overall) of the 2013 NFL Draft out of Texas A&M. He set Texas A&M school records with 252 receptions for 3,117 yards and 15 career 100-yard receiving games and finished second in school history with 24 career TD receptions.
"We knew Ryan has a concussion history in college and understood that it could possibly be an issue," said Cardinals General Manager Steve Keim. "But weighing all the elements – the medical information available, the particular position in the draft – it was a decision we were comfortable making. As it turned out, he had a setback after he got here. Over the course of the subsequent evaluations, we all decided that Ryan's long-term well-being was the number-one priority and this was the best course to take."
Rowe (6-3, 232) was with San Francisco the past two years in training camp after originally entering the NFL as a rookie free agent with the 49ers in 2011. He played collegiately at Oregon (2007-10) and saw action in 52 games and totaled 109 tackles, 23.5 sacks, and 37.5 tackles for loss. He had a career-high 11.5 sacks as a junior and followed that up with a team-leading seven sacks and 16.5 tackles for loss as a senior in 2010.
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