Report: Arizona Cardinals to sign punter from Canadian Football League

Posted at 4:33 PM, Jan 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-03 18:38:45-05

Just two days after their 2016 ended in disappointment, the Arizona Cardinals are reportedly already working on plugging holes for next season.

On Tuesday, Vancouver-based reporter Farhan Lalji said the Cardinals plan to sign Richie Leone, a punter for the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League.

Leone played collegiately at Houston and was a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers' and Baltimore Ravens' practice squads before he signed with the Lions. He averaged a league-leading 49.3 yard per punt in the CFL last season, a better mark than every NFL punter in 2016 except the Colts' Pat McAfee, who had an identical average.

Leone, who also served as the Lions' placekicker for most of 2016 before being replaced late in the season, was also reportedly considering signing with the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Cardinals had problems at numerous special-teams positions this season, including punter. The team's two primary punters, Ryan Quigley and Drew Butler, had the worst and second-worst punting average in the NFL, averaging 41.6 and 42.2 yards per punt, respectively.

The Cards signed punter Matt Wile late in the season. He fared slightly better, averaging 43.7 yards on 10 attempts this season, and was the holder on Chandler Catanzaro's game-winning field-goal vs. the Seahawks in Week 16.