Patrick Peterson was wholly ineffective as a punt returner last season -- he averaged just 6.0 yards per attempt, the 55th-best mark among all players with at least one return. For that reason alone the Cardinals signing of Ted Ginn Jr. to a three-year deal is understandable. Arizona announced the deal on Thursday afternoon, though no financial details were provided.
Ginn enjoyed an impressive all-around 2013 campaign for Carolina. He caught 36 passes for 556 yards and a career-high five touchdowns plus totaled more than 900 return yards (316 on punts, 595 on kickoffs). As mentioned, he could push Peterson off the field on one special-teams unit; Javier Arenas, the only Cardinals player with more than two kickoff-return tries in '13, is an unrestricted free agent.
Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians also should get some use out of Ginn as a deep threat in his vertical passing attack. Arians has a need for a No. 3 receiver, too, now that Andre Roberts (43 catches in 2013) is a member of the Redskins. Ginn's game is far from a carbon copy of Roberts', but his ability to stretch the field could pay off alongside Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd.
The loss of Ginn in free agency is yet another setback for a Carolina offense that is but a shell of its former self. Three members of the team's O-line have retired since the start of the offseason and longtime star WR Steve Smith was handed his walking papers on Thursday. Though Ginn is far from an elite player at receiver, he would have been far and away the most proven player remaining on the Panthers' depth chart there had he opted to re-sign for at least one more year in Carolina.
Instead, he'll bring another jolt of speed to an Arizona team stockpiling in that category. Grade: B-plus. This has the potential to work out very well, if Ginn can form any sort of rapport with QB Carson Palmer and/or can add some punch to the return game. The Cardinals probably would not mind removing Peterson from the latter role to keep him healthy.