Kolb reportedly a Cardinal

Posted by Darren Urban on July 28, 2011 – 12:04 pm

Multiple reports have the Kevin Kolb trade finished, with the Cards getting the quarterback from the Eagles and dealing, as expected, cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a second-round pick in return. There has not been an official announcement from either team, however.

Kolb also reportedly will get a five-year contract extension. So there’s the QB the Cards wanted/needed. Given the debate that led up to this whole thing, I don’t doubt that Kolb will be topic 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 in training camp. He’ll have heavy pressure to succeed.

UPDATE: NFL Network is reporting Cards are also looking at San Diego WR Malcolm Floyd to replace Breaston. Floyd is a speed guy (averaged more than 19 yards a catch last season, and more than 17 the previous two years) who would look good opposite Larry Fitzgerald.

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Cards add G Colledge UPDATE

Posted by Darren Urban on July 28, 2011 – 9:15 am

Teams can’t announce any of their free-agent agreements until Friday at 3 p.m. Arizona time, but obviously, news has leaked out about many players. It’s not any easier to learn about a signing than when the player himself does it, like new Cards’ guard Daryn Colledge, who has agreed to come to Arizona after starting for the Super Bowl champ Green Bay Packers on the left side. Jason Wilde of reports it’s a five-year deal worth between $27 and $29 million. It’s a solid and necessary move after the retirement of Alan Faneca.

As of now, the Cards have Colledge for LG, Levi Brown at LT and either Jeremy Bridges or Brandon Keith at RT. C Lyle Sendlein and RG Deuce Lutui remain unattached and I would think the Cards would like both back (although Sendlein is more likely, while Lutui might be looking to move). Rex Hadnot could be the RG too. And I wouldn’t be shocked to see the Cards go after another OL, which would be necessary if Lutui and/or Sendlein leave.

UPDATE: Some comments from a Colledge interview on “Green and Gold Today” this morning. Colledge said Philadelphia, Washington and St. Louis were talking to him as well, but Arizona was closer to family in the West. He grew up in North Pole, Alaska, by the way. “I think (the Cardinals) have a lot of pieces there right now,” Colledge said. “It’s an exciting new project for me. It’s a chance to help them turn it around. When you have a chance to go from last to first, that’s a challenge.”

“Hopefully I can make an impact right away,” he added.

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Breaston moves on

Posted by Darren Urban on July 27, 2011 – 3:20 pm

Wide receiver Steve Breaston hasn’t agreed to a contract anywhere else yet, but a non-Cardinal source confirms Breaston won’t be coming back to the Cardinals. It’s not a shock, given the way the season closed out for Breaston and how the team was looking closely at Andre Roberts. Roberts will be the leading candidate to replace Breaston and be Larry Fitzgerald’s No. 2.

(UPDATE: Breaston agreed to a contract with Kansas City Wednesday afternoon.)

I have no doubt Breaston would have stayed, but it became clear that his worth elsewhere on a new contract was going to exceed what the Cardinals would be thinking. Heading into his fifth NFL season, this could be Breaston’s biggest deal, and he needed to take advantage of what was/will be presented to him. For the Cardinals, I could see them looking at a mid-range veteran in free agency, although the hope is still that Roberts and Early Doucet fulfill their promise.

As for Breaston, he went from a fifth-round return man who then-OC Todd Haley never thought had a prayer to become a viable NFL receiver (the irony that Haley and the Chiefs are rumored to be in the thick of the Breaston/free-agent race) to a 1,000-yard receiver in 2008 on the last offensive play of the regular season against the Seahawks. He scored a key punt return touchdown against his hometown Steelers in 2007, made that amazing forced fumble in St. Louis last year, and was a member of the always-interesting “Backpack Boys” in the locker room. Oh, and he was one of the patient team spokesmen last season after every loss, even as the frustration mounted.

Personally, he’s a guy I would have liked to stick around (and until he signs another deal elsewhere, I guess the hope remains). But if this offseason hasn’t driven home the point enough, business is business, and that includes the NFL.

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Undrafted rookie class includes two brothers

Posted by Darren Urban on July 27, 2011 – 11:13 am

Tight end Stephen Skelton of Fordham and safety Jared Campbell of Miami — brothers of current Cards John Skelton and Calais Campbell — are among the 21 undrafted rookies the team has signed for training camp.

The rest of the lengthy list includes:

  • Northern Arizona WR Daiveun Curry-Chapman
  • Fresno State CB Desia Dunn
  • Baylor P Derek Epperson
  • Wofford S Tommy Irvin
  • Elon WR Sean Jeffcoat
  • Florida LB Duke Lemmens
  • Kentucky DT Ricky Lumpkin
  • Oklahoma T Eric Mensik
  • Syracuse CB Da’Mon Merkerson
  • Oregon State WR Aaron Nichols
  • UMass G Greg Niland
  • USC C Kris O’Dowd
  • Kansas State RB William Powell
  • BYU S Andrew Rich
  • Florida State LB Kendall Smith
  • BYU T Jason Speredon
  • Kansas T Brad Thorson
  • N.C. State G Jake Vermiglio
  • Michigan State T D.J. Young

As has been mentioned before, all rookies are going to have an uphill climb this season because of the lack of offseason work. Undrafted guys usually have a tougher time anyway.

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Adding players, keeping players

Posted by Darren Urban on July 27, 2011 – 10:36 am

Slowly, information has come out on a handful of Cards’ early moves here in this tiny 2011 offseason. Again, because contracts can’t be signed until Friday afternoon, no official announcements are being made on free agents. But through multiple reports, it came out that the Cards had agreed to a deal with former Carolina tight end Jeff King, a good blocker who fits well the mold of what coach Ken Whisenhunt wants in a tight end. Stephen Spach is also expected to return, so with draft pick Rob Housler and holdover Jim Dray, we know what the position is going to look like in camp (and it doesn’t include Todd Heap or Zach Miller).

Kicker Jay Feely also reported on Twitter that punter Ben Graham has agreed to re-sign, although I expect the Cards to bring in another punter to compete with Graham in camp.

As for the QB situation, news is still on hold. Reports have Denver’s Kyle Orton possibly to going to Miami. With Matt Hasselbeck going to Tennessee, it seems it will be an upset if Kevin Kolb doesn’t end up in Arizona. For what price, it is uncertain. The song for QB musical chairs is about to stop however.

P.S. A quick training camp note: The Walkup Skydome is in the middle of renovations in Flagstaff, and while the Cardinals will still be able to practice inside if there is rain, fans will not be able to go in to watch practice. Something to keep in mind.

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Back with a hug

Posted by Darren Urban on July 26, 2011 – 1:51 pm

The return today by a handful of players to the team complex was a welcome change after the long, slow summer. Strength and conditioning coach John Lott was clearly happy to be back in his element, training players.

Nowhere was it more apparent, however, than this morning, while team president Michael Bidwill was presiding over the monthly staff meeting in the main auditorium. Usually empty, the auditorium serves as a thru-way for players coming from one part of the parking lot to the locker room. There are times when a player comes through the door and freezes, realizing a meeting was going on. Offensive lineman Jeremy Bridges was that guy this morning, until Bidwill waved him through.

As the affable Bridges walked down the side, the staff began to clap, bringing a smile to Bridges’ face. As he went to pass the main stage, he went to shake Bidwill’s hand — and it turned into a welcome-back hug.

“It was great to see all (the staff) and you do miss the people around here,” Bridges said. “This is our job too. We punch the clock like everyone else, and you miss your co-workers. It was funny, though. He had his arms out, and I didn’t want to leave him hanging.”

It wasn’t exactly Kraft-Saturday (at the seven-minute mark) — definitely more light-hearted — but the sentiment was the same.

It’s back to work. Back to football.

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For now, QB move a waiting game

Posted by Darren Urban on July 26, 2011 – 11:57 am

So many assumed the Cardinals would have a quarterback in place by today, the day trades could first happen (starting at 7 a.m. Arizona time) and the day players started to trickle back to the facility. Not gonna happen.

Coach Ken Whisenhunt said he does not expect any news today, and that the Cardinals are working on a number of different fronts in terms of a quarterback. That can’t be a surprise; you can’t put all the eggs in one basket in case it doesn’t happen. Various reports today link the Cards not only considering Kevin Kolb but Kyle Orton and Matt Hasselbeck. Granted, at this point agents are going to leak all kinds of things like that to puff up interest (and contracts) for their players.

Whisenhunt even commented on the various lockout reports that went on, each indirectly or directly putting quarterbacks like Marc Bulger, Kolb and Orton in a Cards’ uniform once the lockout ended. “At 7 a.m., all those deals vanished,” Whisenhunt said. (Whisenhunt, by the way, was careful never to name any quarterback in particular throughout his entire press conference.) Someone like Kolb would need a contract extension, and the prices for Kolb and Orton in a trade would obviously be different. Bulger and Hasselbeck, on the other hand, are free agents.

“We are looking at a number of different options,” Whisenhunt said. “I don’t know when we will get any kind of news on anything. … It’s not, you call up, ‘Hey we got a deal’ and it’s done. You have to negotiate and talk about different scenarios, then you have to go back and discuss it and then call you back. And other teams are in the mix. It’s a process.”

In the meantime, the quarterbacks still on the roster were throwing today — John Skelton, Rich Bartel and Max Hall (Derek Anderson, who is expected to be released once players can Thursday, was not here).

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Fitz is SI’s back-to-football cover boy

Posted by Darren Urban on July 25, 2011 – 7:18 pm

Receiver Larry Fitzgerald is Sports Illustrated’s choice to represent the NFL on this week’s the-NFL-is-back issue.

Speaking of football, with teams now contacting undrafted rookies, NAU is reporting the Cards will sign Lumberjacks receiver Daiveun Curry-Chapman, while @NFLDraftInsider is reporting the Cards will sign Michigan State offensive tackle DJ Young and Delaware quarterback Pat Devlin.  The Devlin signing is interesting; once the Cards get a veteran (and assuming Derek Anderson is released) that’s five QBs. With 90 on the roster, maybe they carry an extra guy for now. Or maybe Devlin replaces someone else — it’d come down to Max Hall or Rich Bartel. UPDATE: And @NFLDraftInsider is calling OL Kris O’Dowd of USC too.

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Official free agent list from the league

Posted by Darren Urban on July 25, 2011 – 3:44 pm

And the news just keeps flowing …

The NFL released it’s official list of free agents and their proper designations. For the Cards, three players are tendered restricted free agents. WR Early Doucet would produce a third-round pick as compensation if he were to be signed away. Running back Tim Hightower and tackle Brandon Keith would fetch second-round picks if they were signed away. Teams can have them sign offer sheets and the Cards will have a chance to match.

Players that will be unrestricted, either because of accrued seasons or because the Cards didn’t tender them offers, are as follows:

  • S Hamza Abdullah
  • CB Michael Adams
  • T D’Anthony Batiste
  • DT Alan Branch
  • FB Nehemiah Broughton
  • WR Steve Breaston
  • C Ben Claxton
  • DT Keilen Dykes
  • P Ben Graham
  • G Deuce Lutui
  • DE Kenny Iwebema
  • FB Reagan Maui’a
  • CB Trumaine McBride
  • TE Ben Patrick
  • NT Bryan Robinson
  • C Lyle Sendlein
  • TE Stephen Spach
  • S Matt Ware
  • NT Gabe Watson

There are a lot of free agents out there. The release, with the names listed single-spaced per team, is almost nine pages long for the unrestricted guys.

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NFL timeline released

Posted by Darren Urban on July 25, 2011 – 1:34 pm

Here is the first part of the NFL timeline that was just sent out from the league office (all times are Eastern, making them three hours earlier for Arizona). As of now, the Cardinals have not yet put out their own timeline for training camp, and reporting to “camp” on the league timeline doesn’t necessarily mean camp in Flagstaff. It may just be reporting to the Tempe facility. That’s all to be announced:

July 25                        NFL will publish the 2011 Free Agency List, which will become effective July 29, 2011 at 6 p.m., New York time.

July 26                        At 10 a.m., New York time, Club facilities open. Players may report for physicals and voluntary strength and conditioning.

At 10 a.m., New York time, Trading begins for 2011 League Year.

Rosters expanded to ninety (90) man limit.

At 10 a.m., New York time, Clubs may negotiate with and SIGN their own Drafted Rookies and any Undrafted Rookie. Clubs may have such players report to the Club’s facilities for physical examinations prior to signing.

All 2011 Contracts signed on or after July 26 shall be binding upon the player and the Club when signed, but shall not become effective unless a CBA is ratified by the NFLPA (August 4)

At 10 a.m., New York time, Clubs may NEGOTIATE with, but not sign, or extend Offer Sheets to, their own UFAs, RFAs, Exclusive Rights Players and Franchise Players and other Clubs’ UFAs, RFAs, non-exclusive Franchise Players and free agents.

July 26-27                   A Club may require a player to report for a mandatory physical examination in order for the player to qualify for any bonus in a preexisting contract if the “measuring date” for such a bonus has been changed pursuant to CBA Article 11 (Transition Rules for the 2011 League Year).

July 27                        Camp opens for ten Clubs whose first preseason game is on August 11 (ARZ, BLT, DAL, DEN, JAX, NE, OAK, PHI, SD, SEA)

July 28                        Camp opens for ten Clubs whose first preseason game is on August 12


At 4:01 p.m., New York time, waivers begin for the 2011 League Year

July 29                        Camp opens for ten Clubs whose first preseason game is on August 13 (BUF, CAR, CHI, CLV, GB, IND, MIN, NYG, STL, TEN)

At 6:00 p.m., New York time, Clubs may SIGN, or extend Offer Sheets to, all eligible players, in addition to Drafted and Undrafted Rookies.  Clubs may have such players report to the Club’s facilities for physical examinations prior to signing.  Eligible players may visit or try out at any Club facility.

Veteran players who sign Player Contracts on or after 6:00 p.m., New York time, on July 29 shall be required to report to, and remain with, their Clubs, except that, prior to the start of the 2011 League Year on August 4, such players may not participate in on-field activities, workouts, weight training or other physical activities, but shall be required to attend meetings, classroom instruction and any other non-physical activities scheduled during the Club’s preseason training camp.

The restrictions set forth above shall not apply to Drafted or Undrafted Rookies who are under contract, regardless of the date upon which such players signed their Player Contracts. If any such player is injured as the result of participating in training camp activities, the terms of the player’s contract shall cover such injury whether or not the CBA is ratified.

If a preexisting contract contains a “measuring date” related to Salary and/or the exercise or non-exercise of any Club option, which measuring date: (A) was expressed as a calendar date that fell between March 11, 2011 and July 25, 2011 or (B) was expressed solely as being related to a certain number of days from the start of the 2011 League Year, such measuring date shall be deemed amended to be 4:00 p.m., New York time on July 29, 2011, provided the player has undergone any physical examination required by the Club on July 26 or 27.  If the player fails or refuses to undergo such physical, as directed by the Club, the measuring date shall be extended by one day for each day the player fails to report for the physical.

July 31                        Camp opens for two Clubs whose first preseason game is on August 15 (NYJ, HST)

August 4                      First day of 2011 League Year at 4:01 p.m., New York time, assuming NFLPA has ratified the CBA

Top 51 begins at 4:01 p.m., New York time

All Clubs must be within the Salary Cap at 4:01 p.m., New York time

All 2011 contracts signed on or after July 26 become effective at 4:01 p.m., New York time, assuming NFLPA has ratified the CBA

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