AP Source: Prospects 'good' for Iupati deal with Arizona
Mar. 10, 2015
PHOENIX (AP) — A person familiar with the negotiations says prospects "look good" for a deal between ex-San Francisco 49ers left guard Mike Iupati (yoo-PAH-tee) and the Arizona Cardinals.
The person, who asked not to be identified because agreements officially can't be announced until Tuesday, said the two sides were in promising negotiations for a contract.
Iupati started 15 games at left guard for the 49ers last season and is considered one of the top run blockers in the NFL. His addition could mean a move to right guard for Jonathan Cooper, the former first-round draft pick who has struggled to regain his form after breaking a leg before his rookie season.
The 6-foot-5, 331-pound Iupati is a three-time Pro Bowl player and was first-team All-Pro in 2012. He has played all five of his seasons for the 49ers after being drafted in the first round — the 17th pick overall — out of Idaho in 2010.
He would add much-needed interior strength to an Arizona team that ranked last in rushing last season.
The team also is believed to be looking for a power back — either in free agency or through the draft — to ease the pressure on Andre Ellington, who took a beating last year trying to be the team's primary runner despite a season-long foot injury.
Cooper was slated to play left guard after being drafted seventh overall in 2013. But he was slow to come back from the leg injury and played only sparingly last season.
Although his pass blocking is not nearly as highly regarded as his devastating run blocking, Iupati would line up next to tackle Jared Veldheer, giving Arizona a formidable left side of the line.
There were reports that, in addition to the 49ers, Buffalo, Oakland, the New York Jets, Buffalo and Minnesota all were interested in signing Iupati.
Iupati, from American Samoa, played high school football in Anaheim, California, but was lightly recruited, choosing to go to Idaho, where he built his reputation as one of the nation's top collegiate linemen.
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