Nine-time Pro Bowl G Faneca strikes one-year, $2.5M deal with Cards

Veteran guard Alan Faneca agreed to a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Arizona Cardinals, a league source told NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora on Tuesday.

The deal is fully guaranteed, so Faneca, whom the New York Jets released last weekend despite paying him $5.25 million, will make $7.75 million next season. He would have made $7.5 million in total compensation from the Jets had they kept him.

"It's a great situation for me with a group of coaches I'm familiar with, especially to be back with Russ again," Faneca said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.

The Cardinals later confirmed that Faneca had agreed to a one-year deal, but they didn't disclose financial terms.

"We're excited to bring a player like Alan Faneca to our team," Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said in a statement released by the team. "We're obviously familiar with him from our time together in Pittsburgh (Whisenhunt was a Steelers assistant from 2001 to 2006), but we've also seen a lot of tape of him from the last two years with the Jets, and he's still the same tough, physical player who does a good job pulling and getting to the next level. There's a reason he's been selected to the last nine Pro Bowls, and at a time when we're facing changes on our offensive line, we're very fortunate to have a player of his caliber coming on board."

The Cardinals decided not to bring back starting left tackle Mike Gandy, but they're still stacked on the offensive line.

Lyle Sendlein is the incumbent center, and free-agent signee Rex Hadnot can play that position or guard. Levi Brown will move to left tackle, replacing Gandy, and Brandon Keith will compete for the right tackle spot. Left guard Reggie Wells will return, but right guard Deuce Lutui, a restricted free agent, hasn't yet signed his tender, possibly leaving a spot open for Faneca.

Whisenhunt told the Cardinals' official Web site that Faneca isn't guaranteed a starting job.

"It won't be given to him," Whisenhunt said of Faneca's shot at starting. "I don't think Alan would have it any other way."

"Part of this minicamp (this weekend) is seeing how this shakes out," Whisenhunt added. "We understand chemistry is an important component of the offensive line. We'll go through the process of competition, and it will sort itself out."

Faneca, 33, played under current Cardinals offensive line coach Russ Grimm, also from 2001 to 2006, when the two were with the Steelers. Faneca was a first-round draft pick by Pittsburgh in 1998 and spent 10 seasons with the team before going to New York as an unrestricted free agent in 2008.

"My family and I have had a wonderful time and experience here with the Jets," Faneca told the AP. "We look forward to what lies ahead, on and off the field."

Faneca joins kicker Jay Feely and safety Kerry Rhodes as former Jets to become Cardinals this offseason.

Information from the Associated Press was included in this report.

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