Cards give LaMarr Woodley chance to redeem poor 2014

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Maybe all LaMarr Woodley needed to do was get out of Oakland.

It seemed to work for Carson Palmer, Jared Veldheer and Matt Shaughnessy. They all left Oakland and went to the playoffs a year or two later. Like those three, Woodley left the Raiders to head to the desert, signing a one-year deal with the Cardinals on Tuesday.

A biceps injury last season -- against the Cardinals -- sent Woodley to injured reserve after six games. For the first time in his career, he didn't have a sack and averaged less than a tackle per game. The closest he ever came to that was his rookie season in 2007, when Woodley had 13 tackles in 13 games.

But that's all in the past.

Woodley reunites with Cardinals coach Bruce Arians, who was Pittsburgh's offensive coordinator during Woodley's first four years with the Steelers. He also reunites with Larry Foote, who he played with from 2007 to 2013, with the exception of 2009 when Foote spent a year in Detroit.

Woodley will also join former Raiders linebackers coach Bob Sanders, who was hired by Arizona this offseason.

With a familiarity already in place, Woodley will have a chance to be a major contributor to a defensive front that will look different compared to the last two seasons. Depending on how the rest of free agency and the draft plays out, Woodley could compete as a three-down linebacker, a role he played in Pittsburgh's 3-4 defense for years.

His edge presence will instantly improve the Cardinals' pass rushing, whether he ends up as a backup or a starter. With Sam Acho, John Abraham and Marcus Benard all free agents, the Cardinals need to restock their depth at outside linebacker and Woodley made for a logical addition.

And a one-year deal isn't a high-risk move by the Cardinals, who've thrived off these types of decisions since Steve Keim became general manager in 2013. If Woodley doesn't pan out, his role will decrease. It's a simple equation.

But Woodley was given an opportunity to make up for an injury-filled, lackluster 2014. And he'll be given plenty of chances to make the most of it.