The Cardinals have re-signed their practice squad players to futures contracts, according to the New Year’s Day NFL transactions list. That’s not a surprise as the Cards begin the process to building the offseason roster. A futures contract simply locks up the practice squad players — who would be free agents once the league year ends in early March — to contracts for 2014.
The players are:
— C Philip Blake (spent much of the season on practice squad injured reserve)
— WR Dan Buckner
— LB Kenny Demens
— C Tommie Draheim
— TE Darren Fells
— RB Robert Hughes
— S Orhian Johnson
— DT Anthony McCloud
— LB Kenny Rowe
Tags: Anthony McCloud, Dan Buckner, Darren Fells, Kenny Demens, Kenny Rowe, Orhian Johnson, Philip Blake, practice squad, Robert Hughes, Tommie Draheim
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Every year, Larry Fitzgerald holds about a month’s worth of work at home in Minnesota. There is a little bit of throwing and mostly hardcore conditioning and weightlifting, all designed to help in the “downtime” an NFL player has right before training camp. I was fortunate enough to take a trip up to visit last year (here is the story and the resulting video of that trip.) The time there is great for these guys. Hard work through noon or 1, and then everyone is usually invited daily back to Fitz’s house to hang out or go jet-skiing on the lake. I’d take that life this time of year. This year, both Fitz and new quarterback Carson Palmer talked a few times how they were going to hook up during the workouts, and Palmer, a man of his word, is indeed up in Minnesota right now.
Apparently, most of the throwers and catchers are, for that matter. Fitz will take anyone across the league who wants to come — last year, Jaguars receiver Cecil Shorts and Seahawks running back Leon Washington were among the guys there when I was there — but it’s never bad when Cardinals come. This year, there are a ton of Cardinals there. Fitz put out the picture below earlier today on social media (thanks for letting me “borrow” it, Fitz). From left to right, starting in the back, it is Michael Rios, Jaron Brown, Dan Buckner (I hope, always tougher with the undrafted rookies), Tyler Shaw, QB Ryan Lindley, LaRon Byrd, Kerry Taylor, QB Carson Palmer, Michael Floyd and QB Drew Stanton. In the front, it’s Andre Roberts, Charles Hawkins, Fitz and Robert Gill. (Here is a story from a local TV station with a little video.)
It’s a huge turnout, and seems to bode well. Then again, if you are a QB and Palmer is going to be there, or you are a receiver and Fitz, Floyd and Roberts are going to be there, it’s tough to say no. Either way, I think of Bruce Arians saying when the Cards come back for camp there can’t be regression — that at worst the Cards have to come in where they left off after offseason work, and maybe even a little ahead.
It’s hard not to think that the QBs and receivers will accomplish that goal after working in Fitz’s backyard.
Tags: Andre Roberts, Carson Palmer, Cecil Shorts, Charles Hawkins, Dan Buckner, Drew Stanton, Jaron Brown, Kerry Taylor, LaRon Byrd, Larry Fitzgerald, Leon Washington, Michael Floyd, Michael Rios, Robert Gill, Ryan Lindley, Tyler Shaw
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I know everyone has been waiting, so here are the Cardinals’ undrafted rookie agreements for 2013:
— WR Jaron Brown, Clemson
— WR Dan Buckner, Arizona
— T Joe Caprioglio, Colorado State
— ILB Kenny Demens, Michigan
— OLB Dan Giordano, Cincinnati
— S Javon Harris, Oklahoma
— CB Josh Hill, California
— S Tony Jefferson, Oklahoma (pictured below)
— T Jamaal Johnson-Webb, Alabama A&M
— ILB Korey Jones, Wyoming
— WR Javone Lawson, Louisiana-Lafayette
— WR Michael Rios, Marist
— NT Padric Scott, Florida A&M
— WR Tyler Shaw, NW Missouri State
— CB Prentiss Waggner, Tennessee
— CB Ronnie Yell, San Jose State
Tags: Dan Buckner, Dan Giordano, Jamaal Johnson-Webb, Jaron Brown, Javon Harris, Javone Lawson, Joe Caprioglio, Josh Hill, Kenny Demens, Korey Jones, Michael Rios, Padric Scott, Prentiss Waggner, Ronnie Yell, Tony Jefferson, Tyler Shaw, undrafted rookie free agents
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Some quick wrap-up notes after the draft, before I take my neglected sons to dinner:
— The Cardinals, obviously, did not take a quarterback. Keim admitted he had talked long about about subscribing to the theory he wanted to draft a QB every year. “I really still believe in that,” Keim said. So what happened?
“The difference is that our two draft choices came through free agency with Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton,” Keim said. “So we didn’t feel like that was a necessary move that we needed to make. Quite frankly, the way the board shook out, the quarterback at no point was the top player on our board. So it made the decision quite easy.”
That means Brian Hoyer and his potential $2 million salary is safe for now. I’d think a trade might still be possible for the Cards, but post-draft, it’d be tough. Of course, if the Cards were to sign an interesting undrafted rookie QB, that could change.
— Speaking of the undrafted rookies, that list will grow into the evening and names will leak. (I won’t be keeping constant watch; the official list will likely be released Monday.) Already, Oklahoma safeties Javon Harris and Tony Jefferson have tweeted out they are coming to the Cardinals. San Jose State cornerback Ronnie Yell tweeted the same as did Florida A&M defensive lineman Padric Scott. Tony Pauline reports the Cards also got Arizona receiver Dan Buckner. Keim said he expected to sign 15 undrafted rookies.
— The Cardinals want to get another nose tackle/defensive tackle. That didn’t present itself in the draft, so Keim said the Cards will not only look at it among the undrafted rookies but also with veteran free agents and possible cap casualties as we head toward training camp.
— The weekend gave the Cards some options at return men. They have Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu, Andre Ellington and maybe Stepfan Taylor.
— As for the overall haul Saturday? It’s always wait-and-see for me. I can’t get very emotional because it’s impossible to know. On the surface, I like getting the speed receiver Ryan Swope assuming he can stay healthy. I like adding fresh bodies to the running back room. I definitely like the possibilities of interviewing tight end D.C. Jefferson, assuming he can prove he can play. I hope Okafor can do some things as a pass rusher because that’s still a segment of the Cards’ defense that leaves some question marks. But that’s enough for now. We have a whole offseason to analyze.
Tags: Brian Hoyer, D.C. Jefferson, Dan Buckner, draft, Javon Harris, Padric Scott, quarterbacks, Ronnie Yell, Ryan Swope, Steve Keim, Tony Jefferson
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