Cards sign veteran punter Berger

Updated: November 29, 2007, 2:21 PM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

The Arizona Cardinals, who released punter Mike Barr earlier this week, filled the vacancy on Thursday by signing 12-year veteran Mitch Berger, a two-time Pro Bowl performer.

Berger, 35, was one of three free-agent punters who auditioned for Cardinals coaches and personnel officials on Tuesday, joining Chris Gardocki and Tom Rouen in the workout.

It was expected that Gardocki might be the choice of the staff, since coach Ken Whisenhunt was familiar with him from their time together with the Pittsburgh Steelers, but Berger was the choice instead. Contract details were not available, but it is likely that Berger signed a one-year deal for the minimum base salary of $820,000, pro-rated over the rest of the year.

In 12 seasons, Berger has a gross average of 43.2 yards and a 37.8-yard net average. His net average was 38 yards or better in six different seasons. Berger also has 227 punts inside the 20-yard line and only 70 touchbacks.

The former Colorado star missed all of last season with the New Orleans Saints because of a pelvic injury and has not punted in a regular-season game since 2005.

Berger has long been noted for his leg strength and, at times during his stints in Philadelphia (1994), Minnesota (1996-2001) and New Orleans (2002-06), handled the kickoff duties as well as the punting chores.

Arizona released Barr after a poor performance in last Sunday's game. Barr was last in the NFL in both gross average (40.4 yards) and net average (31.7 yards). He had two poor punts in Sunday's loss to San Francisco, including one in overtime that cost the Cardinals important field position.

The Cardinals had claimed Barr on waivers from Pittsburgh at the start of the season. He replaced former Pro Bowl punter Scott Player, who fell out of favor with the new coaching staff.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.