About those rookie contracts

Posted by Darren Urban on July 7, 2010 – 10:34 am

Ran into general manager Rod Graves yesterday before he was going to start a lunchtime workout and we had a brief chat. The Cards still don’t have any of their seven draft picks under contract, but I expect that to change sooner rather than later. A couple of tidbits when talking to Graves came up. One, even with all the talk and concern about the state of the labor talks, he doesn’t think that will have a significant impact on the signing of first-round draft picks. There figure to be a handful of guys who go down to the wire (or even a few days into camp), but no more than normal.

The Cardinals also are changing the way they are approaching contract length. In the past, the first-rounder has always had a longer deal (usually six years), the second-rounder got a four-year deal, and everyone else signed for three seasons (with the team knowing the player would be a restricted free agent at that point and he could be tendered for one year, extended or just let go). Graves said the lower picks will now get four-year deals. It’s the wave of the NFL and few teams are still doing it the way the Cards have been, so the Cardinals are just going to go with the league’s flow.

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Dollars and sense

Posted by Darren Urban on May 5, 2010 – 11:32 am

There’s been a lot of talk about contracts the last couple of days. The 49ers gave an extension to linebacker Patrick Willis, the Saints re-upped guard Jahri Evans. The totals are reported to be $50 million or more for each (although we all know that’s what former Cards’ coach Dave McGinnis once called “Roger Rabbitt money,” since much of the back end of the deal will never been seen). Still Willis is getting $29 M guaranteed, and Evans figures to do well in that regard too (the details haven’t leaked — yet. UPDATE: Evans will get almost $26 M in the first three years).

Inevitably, guys sign deals and that perks up the ears of others looking for money (I would guess Deuce Lutui, looking for a long-term deal and still unsigned, noticed Evans’ news). Markets are set and the watch for the next guy begins. And sometimes the watching comes from the guy himself. Obviously defensive lineman Darnell Dockett is hoping for a new deal and it’s not surprising he not only has noticed new contracts but in general, tends to have money on his mind.

But Dockett seems to have dealt with his current issues better this offseason. Maybe it’s because fellow disgruntled teammate Anquan Boldin is no longer a teammate. Maybe it’s because Dockett and agent Drew Rosenhaus have had multiple chats with management this offseason and, even if they aren’t agreeing yet, both sides at least have an understanding where the other one is coming from. Maybe it’s because Dockett sees how the Adrian Wilson extension happened, and realizes there may be no reason to give himself an ulcer about it.

Dockett, although he had left his stance vague, has remained here the last couple of days doing the voluntary workouts, which hasn’t happened the previous two years. He came to the charity golf tournament Monday and, even though he doesn’t really golf, at least hung out a while and took a cart out on the course to see and be seen. I still think the Cardinals will give him the money he has earned. It may not come quite on the timetable he wanted, but I think it will eventually happen. I heard Dockett on XTRA 910 last week say (despite all his rhetoric on the subject) he’d like to stay in Arizona, be a career Cardinal, be with this coaching staff and leave a legacy.

Who knows? Maybe, the longer he stays here, he’ll eventually gain a golf game.

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Inside some contract numbers

Posted by Darren Urban on March 31, 2010 – 4:32 pm

When the Cardinals signed their current crop of free agents — linebacker Joey Porter, quarterback Derek Anderson, linebacker Paris Lenon and guard Rex Hadnot — much was made about the size of their contracts. But, especially for Porter and Anderson, both are clearly set up to give the Cardinals some leeway after one season if the team goes in a different direction.

According to the NFL Players Association, Porter’s three-year contract — worth a reported $17.5 million — provides Porter with a $1.25 million salary in 2010 and $5.75 million salaries in 2011 and 2012. Assuming the $17.5 million is correct, that gave Porter $4.75 million in bonuses or other non-salary money. Even if all that money is up front, that’s $6 million for 2010, not an out-of-whack up-front commitment. (UPDATE: Hat tip to Mike Sando, who saw the post and let me know Porter’s signing bonus was $4 million with workout bonuses of $250,000 each season. Seeing Porter work out the first couple days, I am guessing he’ll collect that money, but it also means “just” $5.5 million in 2010.)

Anderson’s deal was worth a reported $7.25 million for two seasons. His salary for 2010 is just $650,000 (with approximately $2.7 million in bonus money) before jumping to $3.9 million in 2011. Again, a fair split for a quarterback, and also workable if the Cards decide to quickly go elsewhere at the position. Much has been made about how much Matt Leinart will make in 2011 if he stays under his current deal (north of $12 million for sure, and more if he plays really well) but the Cards are clearly trying to stay flexible at the position.

Lenon is schedule to make $900,000 in salary this season before $1.4 million salaries in 2011 and 2012, while Hadnot’s salaries on a three-year deal break down to $1 million this year and $1.5 million in 2011 and 2012.

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Cards, Whisenhunt talking extension

Posted by Darren Urban on February 12, 2010 – 5:27 pm

Kent Somers broke the news today that the Cards and head coach Ken Whisenhunt are in the early stages of talking contract extension for Whisenhunt. It isn’t surprising, given the success of the Cards the past two seasons (23-15, including playoffs, and a Super Bowl appearance). Of course, talks don’t necessarily mean a deal will absolutely get done, but it’s always a good sign. No one is talking about it on the record, again not a surprise given how the team and how Whisenhunt have tended to such matters. Whisenhunt is under contract for 2010 and then there is a team option for the 2011 season. It’s the first piece of an offseason puzzle that will certainly be interesting around this team.

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On Warner’s signing bonus

Posted by Darren Urban on January 30, 2010 – 9:00 am

There has been plenty of speculation about what happens to the balance of Kurt Warner’s signing bonus now that he retired. Andrew Brandt of the National Football Post (and a former front-office exec with the Packers) clears that up pretty simply: The Cards and Warner prepared for this day last March when he signed the contract in the first place. Warner won’t get half the signing bonus ($7.5 million) because he walks away. That means, as I have written a few times, his choice yesterday cost him $11.5 million (including the $4 million salary he also misses out on). You know you have strong conviction in a retirement decision when you do that.

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No suspension for Wilson

Posted by Darren Urban on September 15, 2009 – 1:33 pm

It may not have ever been a serious consideration anyway, but any thought of safety Adrian Wilson being suspended is gone now. An NFL source confirmed that, while Wilson’s big hit on 49ers tight end Vernon Davis is being reviewed for a fine, Wilson is not being considered for a suspension. Any fine is usually confirmed by the NFL on Fridays (although A-Dub will know before then if his bank account has been dinged).

Speaking of Wilson, he also apparently has restructured his contract in order to create cap space. Although, like Larry Fitzgerald earlier (and probably a handful of other Cardinals) the restructuring simply means they get salary as bonus, meaning they get the same amount of money they were supposed to in an up-front lump sum. Win-win for everyone.

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