General manager Rod Graves is hoping to make it up to Flagstaff today or tomorrow, after the whirlwind week that was. Now, there is the ability to step back a little bit and absorb what happened since a week ago today when the free agent process officially began.
Graves praised the support the front office had from president Michael Bidwill, noted the hard work put in by assistant Justin Casey, the scouting department led by director of player personnel Steve Keim and the pro personnel department fronted by director T.J. McCreight.
“We had the support to be aggressive and we all played a part,” Graves said. “We were organized from day one and we expanded the negotiating team. … But we had to be fluid every step of the way. We determined early we weren’t going to get caught up on one guy. We couldn’t afford to wait around.”
Said coach Ken Whisenhunt, “We had every position evaluated. We had players ranked. We knew where we wanted to go. If we weren’t going to be able to get in play for one guy, we’d move to the next guy.”
A good example of the smart work the group put in came at the guard position. The Cards wanted Deuce Lutui back, but when it looked like Lutui was going in a different direction, the team turned to Daryn Colledge, who it eventually signed.
No bridges were burned, however, even after Lutui agreed to sign with the Bengals. So when Lutui flunked his Cincinnati physical, the Cards and Lutui figured out a deal.
“The way that negotiation was handled allowed him to come back,” Graves said.
Whisenhunt said the group had a laundry list of ways to attack the past week. But as Graves said, the Cards were fluid, adding, for instance, a drive for a cornerback once it became clear the team was going to have to include Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in the Kevin Kolb trade. Yet the Cards had done their due diligence on cornerbacks already, making the eventual signing of Richard Marshall that much easier (and there were reports the Cards were farther reaching that normal, for instance talking with arguably the top free agent available, cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha).
“There’s always got to be a little bit of adjustment you have to make to navigate your way through that, and once again, it was a great team effort,” Whisenhunt said. “To be honest with you, it all starts with Michael. Michael set the mentality of going into this period to be aggressive. He’d said that. He’d said that publicly, and he stood true to that.”
Said Graves, “The whole process has been incredible.”
Tags: Daryn Colledge, Deuce Lutui, free agency, Justin Casey, Ken Whisenhunt, Michael Bidwill, Richard Marshall, Rod Graves, Steve Keim, T.J. McCreight
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