There is really no way to know how long the Cardinals have been thinking about Carson Palmer, but it’s clear it’s been a little while even if the official trade talks with the Raiders didn’t start until last Friday. The Cards were in a good spot, since it seemed obvious Palmer wasn’t going to go back to Oakland. The price wasn’t steep, not even if it had been straight up for a sixth-round pick, and the Cards got a seventh-rounder back. (The conditional pick next year is reportedly another seventh rounder, and since the conventional wisdom that a pick a year later is worth less than the current year, does that mean the Cards might have given up an undrafted free agent?)
The price for Palmer — about $8 million in salary, according to reports — is fair for a veteran QB with a decent resume. More importantly, the Cardinals were good with it.
“Not only with the draft compensation but with the restructuring of the contract, we had an area we felt comfortable with as an organization,” General Manager Steve Keim said. “We stuck to it and we were patient and it worked out.”
Keim said he and Team President Michael Bidwill had a long talk about the direction of the organization when Palmer’s availability came to light. Keim stressed the opportunity to get a franchise quarterback at this stage (which sounds even better given the prospects in the draft, which are clearly not exciting too many QB-needy teams league-wide given all the QB moves.) The Cards had gone for a franchise QB trade recently, and that didn’t work out all that well.
“I think there were many lessons we learned from that trade and from other trades that we brought collectively to the table,” Bidwill said of the Kolb deal.
The changes have come fast and furious over the past month or so. “All along we talked about being proactive and being aggressive,” Keim said. The Cardinals have. And now they have a new quarterback to run out there.
– It does feel like this is a perfect fit for what Bruce Arians does. I do think Palmer can still play well, and I do think he was the best option for the Cards. Is he the long-term solution? Of course not. Even if he has a Kurt Warner-like renaissance, the Cardinals are going to keep looking for long-term answers. They already were caught short once when Warner retired and they don’t want it to happen again.
– There was also cautious optimism from players today. “Any time you add a weapon, it helps your team,” running back Rashard Mendenhall said. “But we are all waiting to see how it shakes out.” As Fitz said, “I’m coming off the most disappointing season of my career and I’m in ‘Prove it’ mode.” Everyone on the Cards, especially on offense, probably needs to view it that way.
– It can’t hurt on the timing, which got Palmer to Arizona right when voluntary work started. He lost out on most of Tuesday as the deal was completed, but emphasized he is now in Arizona ready to work. I assume that means starting full bore Wednesday. (He did get a post-contract mini-workout in with John Lott, and talked a little with new teammate Dan Williams as you can see below.)
– Speaking of Warner, Palmer knows the parallel of coming to the Cards at this late stage of his career (Palmer is 33, Warner was 34 when the Cards got him.) “It’s hard to make those comparisons. Kurt was a phenomenal player. He came here and just lit people up. I’d love to be compared to some of the things that he did here when it’s my time to leave here.”
– In his opening statement, Palmer addressed the many stories about his leaving the Raiders, including the one out there that he declined to renegotiate his contract down from $13 million in 2013 even though the Raiders were reportedly still offering $10 million this season.
“There’s been a lot of rumors and stories and inaccuracies about my departure from Oakland,” Palmer said. “I want to clear the air on that. I was presented with a contract there and I was advised not to sign that contract, with no security, no guarantees. My agent told me he would never have me sign that contract. That opportunity led me here.”
Palmer said the Raiders were moving toward youth and he had no problem with that. He also called Head Coach Dennis Allen and General Manager Reggie McKenzie “stars” at their jobs.
– Arians was increasingly optimistic about his team. It lead to the funniest exchange of the day as Arians praised the players he saw for the first time Tuesday morning.
“Having walked into that room today, that’s as good a looking football team as I’ve seen in my 20 years of coaching, stepping in the first day,” Arians said. “There’s not a bad body in the room. It’s a great looking bunch of athletes, and we will never use talent as an excuse.”
Palmer didn’t hesitate. “You saying you’ve got a good body?”
“Yeah buddy. Yes indeed,” Arians fired back. “Sixty and sexy.”
Tags: Bruce Arians, Carson Palmer, Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Bidwill, Raiders, Rashard Mendenhall, Steve Keim, trade
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Matthew Stafford. Tim Tebow. Andrew Luck. And now Carson Palmer.
If Drew Stanton was hoping his path would finally be cleared to be an NFL starter, well, another name is in front of him. Palmer is officially a Cardinal. He’ll collect $10 million guaranteed on a two-year contract that the Cardinals can easily shed after one year if need be. He gives the Cards a veteran signal-caller and their most proven QB since Kurt Warner. He steadies the offense even if he isn’t quite the guy he used to be. Palmer is in the building, attending meetings with his team and isn’t even behind, since today was the first day the players were going to be able to talk football with their new coaches anyway. Palmer is starting in the same place on the learning curve as Larry Fitzgerald, so that’s good.
We’ll have much more on Palmer later. This is about Stanton, the man who less than a month ago was hoping to have a shot at being a starter.
Stanton knows the NFL business better than anyone. (And in fact, apparently was told when he signed a Palmer arrival could indeed be in the Cards’ plans.) Stanton was a second-round pick in Detroit who missed his rookie season with knee surgery and fell behind in his second year as a Lion (behind Jon Kitna and Dan Orvlosky) when a thumb injury kept him out of the preseason. By 2009, Stafford arrived as savior and permanent starter. Stanton hoped he could at least be the backup with the Jets when he signed as a free agent last year — and with Mark Sanchez’s issues, maybe an opening at some point — but the Jets traded for Tebow five days later and, writing on the wall, Stanton asked to move on. The Jets sent him to Indy, where he was inevitably going to sit behind Luck.
Stanton hoped the combination of Bruce Arians and the Cards’ QB situation might be a little different. Arians talked him up but left the door ajar, the space within which Palmer now walks through. Palmer is going to be the starter. But Stanton will be the backup, and who knows, maybe Stanton will — through injury or otherwise — get a shot to start at some point.
Tags: Andrew Luck, Bruce Arians, Carson Palmer, Drew Stanton, Matthew Stafford, Tim Tebow
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There is nothing new on the burgeoning Carson Palmer trade front at the moment, but it seems a lock to be completed at some point after the Cardinals officially released quarterback John Skelton Monday. So ends Skelton’s wild ride since arriving as a fifth-round rookie in 2010, getting a couple of starts in that year and then having an amazing way of playing poorly yet rallying the Cards to wins in 2011. Then he beat out Kevin Kolb to start the 2012 season before spraining an ankle in the opener, struggling mightily as the starter after Kolb got hurt. Clearly the relationship between he and former coach Ken Whisenhunt wasn’t good at the end, but even a coaching change couldn’t save Skelton’s roster spot.
Skelton tweeted out his goodbye:
C'est la vie. Had some good times in AZ along with more than a few bad. On to the next endeavor.—
John Skelton (@johnskelton19) April 01, 2013
The release wasn’t a big surprise after the team signed Drew Stanton, brought Brian Hoyer back and now are close to getting Palmer. All along it looked unlikely that Skelton would survive into May on the roster if this didn’t come sooner. Now it has. Not that it would’ve helped him, but recalling how Bruce Arians lamented the inability to talk to Kolb while watching video — to ask why and why not of certain plays — maybe Skelton lost out too. Then again, Skelton’s troubles were seen first-hand by general manager Steve Keim. Keim had a good sense of what he had in both Kolb and Skelton, and Skelton ended up — even with an 8-9 starting record — with 12 touchdown passes, 22 interceptions and a 61.9 passer rating in 17 starts.
– The Cardinals also announced that tendered free agents William Powell, Hoyer and Ronald Talley officially signed their contracts. The Hoyer and Talley news had already been out there.
Tags: Brian Hoyer, John Skelton, Kevin Kolb, Ronald Talley, William Powell
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After many years of saying he wanted to do it and never quite making it out to Tempe, Sports Illustrated NFL writer Peter King is finally taking part in Pat’s Run later this month. And with it comes a little something extra the night before.
(It’s all right within his column that also has King too thinking Carson Palmer-to-Arizona will happen, which makes sense to me in some way, shape or form.)
King will be hosting a super-sized Tweetup Friday night, April 19th, at Tom’s Tavern downtown. King has hosted a handful of Tweetups before (for the Twitter non-initiated, a Tweetup is a gathering set up with Twitter followers), most notably at the Scouting combine in Indianapolis the past few years. King wanted to do a Tweetup to somehow benefit the Pat Tillman Foundation if he was going to come out and run the race. The Cardinals are helping him do that.
King’s goal is to raise enough money to fund a Tillman Foundation scholarship. Tickets for the event are $40 — space is limited to 250 people — but it has an impressive lineup of Tweetup events:
– Food: Happy hour & carb-loading (pasta) stations
– Two drink tickets – redeemable for house wine & draft beer (other drink options available for purchase w proceeds benefiting Pat Tillman Foundation)
– Football discussion/Q&A moderated by King with Cardinals President Michael Bidwill, new GM Steve Keim and new head coach Bruce Arians
– Cardinals cheerleaders & Big Red to attend plus cameos from Cardinals players (Who exactly is still TBD)
– Auction items/raffles to benefit the Pat Tillman Foundation.
The Tweetup will be from 5-7 p.m. Got to get to bed early for the 7 a.m. race, right? (I’ll be running. Will you?)
Tickets go on sale this morning via phone (602) 379-0102 and at both Cardinals box office locations in Tempe and Glendale, with 100 percent of the proceeds going directly to the Pat Tillman Foundation. With phone orders through April 6th, tickets can be mailed out. After that, tickets must be picked up at a box office prior to 3 p.m. on April 19th.
If you want to follow Peter on Twitter, he’s at @SI_PeterKing. You can follow me at @cardschatter, and the team account is @AzCardinals. And if you want to take part in this Tweetup — whether you are on Twitter or not, if you are running in Pat’s Run or not, make the call.
Tags: Pat Tillman, Pat's Run, Peter King
Posted in Blog | 28 Comments »
The first domino to a Friday of speculation came earlier in the day, when news of a probable trade of quarterback Matt Flynn from the Seahawks to the Raiders hit the public domain. In itself, somewhat meaningless to the Cardinals. But the fallout was obvious — with Flynn, the Raiders no longer needed Carson Palmer, and if Palmer was on his way out in Oakland, it could mean a possible piece for the Cardinals. So last night, as I watched my son play some tournament basketball, the rumor mill hit high gear, with assorted unnnamed sources.
First came the idea the Cardinals could trade for Palmer. Then there was the notion the rest of the league would be surprised if Palmer would want to play in Arizona, unless of course the Cardinals were one of the teams Palmer wouldn’t mind playing for. As it stands at this moment, the Flynn trade has not even been completed, so until that comes to pass, nothing else will. But it always made sense that the Cards would consider Palmer if he came available.
(Yes, I understand there are plenty out there talking about what Palmer has left. This would be a relative short-term solution, however. I keep hearing the idea of, basically, do what you do with Drew Stanton in 2013 and if you lose, you lose and then draft a QB high in 2014. Understand that’s not how Bruce Arians and Steve Keim are going to think.)
From here though, there are questions. Trading for a player who seems likely to be released? Odd, although the Raiders can, in theory, hold on to Palmer indefinitely before cutting him, so maybe it would be worth the Cards giving up some kind of late, maybe conditional pick just to get Palmer in the fold. Many reports have Palmer turning down a $10 million salary (he is slated to make $13M this season) to stay in Oakland. No way I can see the Cardinals paying that. And if you’re Palmer, it would figure you’d rather be a free agent — after being released — to give yourself options/leverage if you so chose.
So clearly there are a lot of moving parts here. One caveat that could facilitate this: If the Raiders and Cards were going to try and pull off a trade, it makes sense the Raiders would give the Cards permission to talk contract with Palmer’s people first. That’s the only way this would get done (again, the Cards aren’t going to just inherit a $13M deal and the same headache the Raiders currently have) trade-wise. Lots of moving parts — remember, the Flynn deal isn’t even official right now — but it’s certainly a storyline to watch develop (or not develop) over the next week. Not sure it’s quite like Manning Watch 2012, but a quarterback is a quarterback.
Tags: Carson Palmer, Matt Flynn, quarterbacks, Raiders
Posted in Blog | 79 Comments »
The Cardinals have yet to announce where they will be holding training camp later this summer, but Flagstaff is no longer an option after Northern Arizona University has decided to move on from negotiations. The Arizona Daily Sun reported NAU president John Haeger rejected a one-year concept for the team to train there in 2013 and the school also rescinded an offer for a three-year contract.
Glendale remains an option and it would seem the leading option, but no site has been finalized yet. The Cardinals released their offseason dates Thursday, but that doesn’t include the training camp work. Camp dates aren’t usually released until late June.
Tags: training camp
Posted in Blog | 30 Comments »
Last week at the owners meetings, GM Steve Keim was anxious to get them over with. He was going straight to the airport after the meetings closed on Wednesday and flying right to Georgia’s pro day among other destinations. Free agency was the topic still but that was about to morph. Soon. “We will jump into the draft mode because I feel I am significantly behind,” Keim said.
At his core, Keim is about evaluating talent. There are different ways someone rises to the job of general manager, and Keim got there from years of scouting and doing a good job of it. It makes sense he wouldn’t want to turn back on his roots. What will eventually be interesting is whether Keim’s influence on the Top 120 board for the draft changes much than it was when he was VP of player personnel under GM Rod Graves. The point of the Cardinals having draft meetings is for scouts and coaches — and further up the food chain, Keim — to discuss and debate what they think of each player and then come up with a final grade. That’s the number the group will use to set that board and in the end, draft their players.
Mocks will come out constantly in April. The latest Todd McShay version echoes the narrative the Cardinals’ direction has taken overall, which is that the team seems unlikely to take a quarterback first (and in McShay’s picks, Geno Smith — the one guy who seems to make sense as a top 10 pick, is already chosen by No. 7). McShay has Oklahoma tackle Lane Johnson going in the first round to the Cards and then the team taking N.C. State QB Mike Glennon in the second round. Good discussion fodder. Beyond that, who knows.
Keim, though, forges ahead in his work. Nothing is set in stone right now. For a guy who built an NFL career through the draft, it makes sense that he’ll want his team built that way too. I still think a QB is going to be taken somewhere, but that comes with a caveat — I truly believe Keim would be willing to pass on a QB if the right one isn’t there. The Drew Stanton-in-2013 thing isn’t a lock — too much can still happen — but it’s not a smokescreen either. In the meantime, the Cards will look carefully at offensive linemen in a draft filled with them, try to get a key cog in the first round regardless of position, and go from there.
And while Keim might have felt behind last week, something tells me he will catch up very quickly.
Tags: draft, Geno Smith, Lane Johnson, Mike Glennon, Rod Graves, Steve Keim
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Free agency might slow down, but it doesn’t really stop. Wednesday, the Cardinals signed former Dolphin safety Jonathon Amaya to a one-year contract. Amaya has made his way through three NFL seasons as a special teams player. Last season, he played 12 games for Miami, compiling seven special teams tackles. It was Amaya’s second stint in Miami, after signing there as an undrafted rookie in 2010. His claim to fame was that he — along with a draft choice — was traded to New Orleans in 2011 in exchange for running back Reggie Bush. He played for the Saints in 2011 before being cut by New Orleans following the 2012 preseason, when he went back to Miami in late September.
In his career, Amaya has appeared in 38 games and has recorded 31 special teams tackles, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery in addition to 10 tackles on defense. He played for new Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles when Bowles was in Miami.
The team needed another body in the secondary, but obviously, this doesn’t change a ton. The Cardinals are still expected to draft a safety at some point. The Cardinals also have to make sure they replenish a special teams unit that looks like it will not have Michael Adams and LaRod Stephens-Howling, among others.
Tags: free agency, Jonathon Amaya
Posted in Blog | 27 Comments »
My question was about philosophy on tight ends, but the first response was about fullbacks, and that made everyone take notice.
“I’m not a fullback guy. I never have been,” Bruce Arians said, and anyone who knew the Cardinals immediately thought of Anthony Sherman. Sherman was the Cards’ fullback the past two years, a piece in Ken Whisenhunt’s offense as a blocker, really, and also a key guy on special teams. Sherman was good enough on teams to be named a captain, and that alone might provide hope for Sherman going forward, even after Arians’ blunt analysis.
This doesn’t have anything to do with Anthony Sherman, really, but how Arians likes to use his tight ends — as potential decoys.
“I want tight ends who are multiple,” Arians said. “If you are a defensive coordinator and I send a fullback in and take out a tight end, I will get your best call for that. If I have two tight ends (in the game), and you don’t know if one will play fullback or one could split out wide, you’re going to give me a down-and-distance (defensive) call. You don’t have a specific call. The more flexible tight ends can be, threats at receiver or dual in-line backfield blockers, the more pressure you put on the defense.”
Arians went on to say Rob Housler was a player who, when Arians was with the Steelers, Arians thought about drafting and making a big wide receiver. Arians sees him as a mismatch for defenses, while Jeff King and Jim Dray (assuming a tight end isn’t drafted) will do the “dirty work.”
Where does that leave Sherman? He played 236 offensive snaps a year ago in 13 games. That would probably dry up. He also played 156 snaps on special teams, and that’s a role he can excel within. Sherman had no rushing attempts all season and only five catches. As Sando noted, Arians did work with a fullback last year, but that guy was considered more of a big running back in Arians’ eyes. Whether Sherman can be the same for the Cardinals — and Arians — is yet to be seen.
Tags: Anthony Sherman, Bruce Arians, Jeff King, Jim Dray, Rob Housler
Posted in Blog | 24 Comments »
A) Your team needs a quarterback;
B) Your team has a top 10 pick;
So C) there is endless speculation about that team drafting a quarterback with their first-round selection.
The Cardinals are in that loop right now. Most of the early mock drafts (mockable totally in the sense that they are based on little but surface connect-the-dots) had the Cards taking quarterback with their first round pick, seventh overall. That seems to have slowed down of late, in large part because of coach Bruce Arians’ own words.
“I think all speculators look at need and not the draft board,” Arians said. “If you draft for need, you’re in trouble. Just because you need one you don’t take one, if there is a better player there who is going to help your football team.”
That doesn’t mean the Cardinals won’t take a QB first. I think that’s being sorted out right now in a draft that many believe isn’t top-heavy in talent and is deep in offensive linemen. But it’s easy to see a scenario where the Cards go elsewhere than quarterback in the first round and save a QB pick for round two or three.
“If there is a quarterback who fits the spot in the draft that you put him in at, that fits the value, then you take one,” Arians said. “That’s why I feel very comfortable with our situation with Drew Stanton in our mix. The need value is not there.”
It is clear that Arians likes Stanton. But it also behooves him to talk him up because there is a chance, in this totally fluid time when no one knows how the draft will go or if another interesting veteran could come available, that Stanton will be the starter and then Arians will have expressed confidence in Stanton from the jump. That makes sense. But I still think that no matter how the rest of the QB roster shakes out the team will draft a QB.
It was suddenly big news that the Cardinals are working out N.C. State QB Mike Glennon but that shouldn’t shock anyone either. The Cards are going to do due diligence on every one of the top QBs and just because there will be a workout doesn’t mean a) they will draft him or b) they will even decide they like him enough. Is he in the mix? I think he could be, but that’s what this time of analysis is for. GM Steve Keim went to N.C. State and has his ties there, and the former coaches at the school did pick Glennon as their “guy” over Russell Wilson (which is why Wilson transferred to Wisconsin), so Glennon must be decent. But I don’t see he or any other QB going in the second round stepping in to be a rookie starter even if Keim and Arians like to get QBs work early.
The speculation is going to play out over and over until the draft actually starts (IMO, by the way, Geno Smith is gone by the seventh pick, so what will really be available early anyway?) But in a world right now where the Cardinals haven’t even started their draft meetings nor come close to setting there Top 120 board (I know I’ve said that before), this is all fluid.
Tags: Bruce Arians, draft, Drew Stanton, Geno Smith, Mike Glennon, quarterbacks, Steve Keim
Posted in Blog | 48 Comments »