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2013 Roster in Review: Outside Linebacker

3/5/2014

Starters: John Abraham, Lorenzo Alexander, Sam Acho, Matt Shaughnessy

Backups: Marcus Benard, Dontay Moch

Under contract in 2014: Abraham, Alexander, Acho, Dontay Moch and Alex Okafor.

Cash committed in ‘13: $7.39 million

Cap committed in ‘13: $5.75 million

Recap: Any plans defensive coordinator Todd Bowles had for the Cardinals’ outside linebackers were blown up in New Orleans. Within the course of one game, Arizona lost Sam Acho, Lorenzo Alexander and rookie Alex Okafor. The fretting over who would fill the roles of two starters and a seldom-used substitute lasted a week when John Abraham and Matt Shaughnessy filled in at left and right outside linebacker, respectively, and never looked back. Abraham added to his impressive résumé with 11.5 sacks in 2013 -- all coming after Week 6. That gave him 133.5 for his career and moved him into ninth on the all-time sack list. Healthy, Shaughnessy flourished as a 3-4 linebacker with is hand in the dirt, finishing with 62 tackles and three sacks. The Cardinals got a brief spark from Moch, who was promoted to the 53-man roster after Week 3 and then played well at Tampa Bay with two tackles and a sack. But he finished the season inactive for nine of the past 10 weeks. And Benard was signed after Week 4 and played a solid role coming off the bench with 17 tackles and 2.5 sacks. With Alexander, Acho and Okafor back, Arizona’s depth is set for 2014, but it’s unlikely that Alexander regains his starting spot with the kind of season Abraham is coming off.