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Cardinals are early FA winners

3/12/2014 - NFL
Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images

It took minutes, literally, for the Arizona Cardinals to strike a deal with free-agent left tackle Jared Veldheer once the 2014 NFL league year commenced on Tuesday afternoon at 4 p.m. ET. The Cleveland Browns were even faster to lock up a former Cardinal, as linebacker Karlos Dansby agreed to a four-year deal to become the centerpiece of the Browns' linebacker corps. In different ways, the Cardinals were one of the biggest early winners in free agency.

Let's start with Veldheer. At age 26, he represented perhaps the best value among free-agent left tackles in this year's class. He's younger than the other available options, including Branden Albert, and the case can easily be made that he is a superior talent to any other big-name offensive tackle who signed early in free agency.