Impending return of Okafor kept Cardinals out of trade market

Linebacker Alex Okafor had a team-high eight sacks last season. Mark J. Rebilas USA TODAY Sports

Although the Arizona Cardinals are among the league leaders in a number of defensive categories, but the team has one glaring weakness - an inability to get to opposing quarterbacks.

Cardinals coach Bruce Arians told the team's official website that the organization had no concerns about pursuing a pass rusher prior to Tuesday's trade deadline due to the impending return of outside linebacker Alex Okafor.

"I don't think there's a better one on the market," Arians said of Okafor, who is expected to return to practice Tuesday following Arizona's bye week. "I think he'll add a lot to our mix."

The Cardinals rank among the top five in the league in both total yards and rushing yards allowed and have registered an NFL-high 13 interceptions despite a pass rush that has produced only 13 sacks in eight games.

Dwight Freeney, who was signed when Okafor suffered a calf injury in Week 5, has recorded a pair of sacks in three games to tie Okafor and Frostee Rucker for the team lead.

Okafor, a fourth-round draft pick in 2013, appeared in only one game in his rookie season but showed promise as a pass rusher a year ago with a team-leading eight sacks.

"(Arians) has always believed in me," Okafor said. "There was never a doubt of that in my mind. ... Now I have to produce and make his words true."

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