Back in February at the Scouting combine the idea was first floated of the NFL changing up its offseason schedule. Today it sounds like that’s a lot closer to happening. Adam Shefter first reported a 2014 draft that would take place in May. That really isn’t a shock. To move the TV-ratings-rich draft into the sweeps month of May makes sense. The report is that, come 2015, the new league year (i.e. free agency) would then start before the combine (with the combine getting moved into March). It makes sense — the NFLPA could gain by getting free agency sooner. Veteran movement would be going on for a couple of weeks before the rookies even have their workout-day-in-the-sun.
What does this mean, football-wise? Besides the shift in when fans will be consuming this stuff, it definitely will make it harder on rookies — or better for veterans, depending on how you look at it. Vets will in theory know their teams sooner, and more importantly, rookies will be drafted perhaps three weeks later than they are now and getting started with their teams late much later. Certainly, it can be overcome (and if you are a Stanford product, it actually can help.) It should be noted that NFL spokesman Greg Aiello cautioned that nothing has been done yet. I won’t be surprised if (when?) it does though, and the NFL will be spread out even further into the offseason.
– Linebacker Daryl Washington pleaded not guilty today on the two counts of aggravated assault stemming from a May 1 incident. His next court date is scheduled for July 3. Before you ask, nothing has been decided yet and nothing has changed for Washington in terms of football.
– If you missed the offseason TV special Flight Plan this weekend, you are in luck: All four parts can be seen right here.
Tags: Daryl Washington, draft, free agency, Greg Aiello
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When we last saw Karlos Dansby in a Cardinals uniform at University of Phoenix Stadium, he was scoring a game-winning playoff touchdown against the Packers. Now there is a chance he’ll come back to UoP wearing Cardinal red.
Dansby is scheduled to visit the Cards Wednesday, first reported by Mike Jurecki, and, as with any free agent visit, you have to think for a veteran to come out means there could very well be a deal soon. Many have suggested, even before Daryl Washington’s latest issues, that the Cards go after Dansby. I didn’t see it happening. I was wrong. Even if Washington’s problems aren’t the catalyst — you can make the argument the Cards still need depth at linebacker, even with the additions of Jasper Brinkley and Kevin Minter inside — having Dansby come back works on a lot of levels. Fans liked him and he was always productive, even if he is still chasing that elusive first Pro Bowl.
The biggest question, I would think, would be money. Dansby was being paid handsomely in Miami as part of that free-agent contract he got when he left the Cardinals. It was also one of the reasons the Dolphins cut him. As with many veterans out there, though, the free-agent (or cut player) market has become a cold place with fewer options than expected and usually at a much lesser salary. I’m sure Karlos didn’t expect to be available for this long, with relatively few sniffs from teams. And if Washington is in the lineup, I’m not sure how both co-exist on the field at the same time because they play the same position (Don’t forget Washington was drafted specifically to replace Dansby).
Regardless, it’d be interesting for sure to have him return if that were to happen. That possibility, as Dansby always liked to say, that’s huge, man.
– If you want to talk Dansby, or the draft, or whatever, I’ll be hosting a live chat tomorrow on this link here. It’ll start at 1 p.m. Arizona time (4 p.m. EST). Who knows? Maybe Dansby will be a Cardinal by then.
Tags: Dary Washington, free agency, Karlos Dansby, live chat
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The draft is over. Rosters for most teams have ballooned to the max of 90 or near it (the Cardinals, right now, have 88 on the roster.) And yet there are still a ton of veteran players out there without jobs that you wouldn’t think would be without jobs.
Some players you can understand why it might be happening. Both Michael Adams and Paris Lenon played significant time last season for the Cards, but both were free agents and their time had run its course in Arizona. Adams was always a Ken Whisenhunt favorite — with both Whiz and former special teams coach Kevin Spencer in San Diego, I expected Adams to end up with the Chargers, but it hasn’t happened yet — but his size isn’t great for a cornerback. Lenon played well but at his age, teams are looking to go younger and cheaper.
Of the players cut, Kerry Rhodes still hasn’t been picked up, nor Early Doucet or Beanie Wells. It’s not surprising with Beanie, unfortunately. His knees aren’t in good shape and he’s going to have to pass a physical for someone. But I thought Doucet would have a spot by now and Rhodes too. The Cards wanted Rhodes to take a pay cut, yes, but they wanted to find a way to extend his contract too and apparently he passed. So now what?
Those aren’t the only “names” on the market. Profootballtalk.com actually has compiled an “All-Unemployed team” of players still looking for jobs, and it’s a pretty impressive list. (The Cardinals have been linked to defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis, by the way, and they still need to sign a couple of players.) Some of these veterans are looking for money they probably aren’t going to get. Former front-office guy/agent Andrew Brandt pointed out this morning some vets may not be in a hurry to sign because the same minimal offers out there now will be there closer to camp (and then the vet doesn’t have to show up and work in the offseason.) That may be true. For some, you have to consider the risk/reward. Even if Lenon, for instance, was paid minimum, is that worth it at age 36 for the pounding his body takes?
Tags: Beanie Wells, Early Doucet, free agency, Kerry Rhodes, Michael Adams, Paris Lenon, Sedrick Ellis
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The Cardinals brought in a few players on a tryout basis coming into their voluntary minicamp, and have decided to sign four of them: TE Alex Gottlieb, T Paul Fanaika and wide receivers Jarett Dillard and Robert Gill. Dillard has three years in the NFL, making 35 receptions in 21 games with Jacksonville. He was cut by the Lions after 2012 training camp. Fanaika, who went to Arizona State, was a seventh round draft pick in 2009 and has spent time with the Eagles, Redskins and Seahawks. Gill is an arena football veteran who ran track in college at Texas State. Gottlieb was cut by the Lions last year as an undrafted rookie out of William & Mary.
The additions bring the Cardinals’ roster number to 65. There are scheduled to be seven draft picks, and likely somewhere between 12 and 15 undrafted rookies, that would put the Cards around 84 to 87 players, leaving about three to six spots for veteran additions after the draft.
A couple other notes:
– New Era is holding a contest through May 17 with the chance for a fan from each team to win a trip to New York. Just put in a photo of yourself wearing a cap and show in the picture how you “speak with your cap.” All the details are right here at speakwithyourcap.com. The winners get a chance to be in a New Era ad along with their trip.
– Strength and conditioning coach John Lott is holding a football camp May 4 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Gilbert. Open for kids from first through eighth grade, the camp covers football fundamentals as well as nutrition and strength and conditioning. Money raised goes to buying needed mosquito nets in Africa to prevent the spread of disease. Among the players scheduled to attend are Larry Fitzgerald, Calais Campbell, Lyle Sendlein, Ryan Williams, Levi Brown, Sam Acho, Rashad Johnson and Jay Feely. For more information, call 480-883-3733.
Tags: Alex Gottlieb, free agency, Jarett Dillard, Paul Fanaika, Robert Gill
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Each free agent signing brings with it immediate reaction, and that’s understandable. But the proper context isn’t always immediately there for the player and what will turn out to be his eventual role (see Stanton, Drew.) And even at the time, a signee was always seen as a reserve, and that is by design from General Manager Steve Keim.
“We not only got some starters but some key role players, guys who can come in and play 15 to 20 snaps, help keep fresh legs, and in a 60-minute game, to me, it’s extremely important to have quality depth,” Keim said.
He particularly noted the defensive line, to help with guys like nose tackle Dan Williams or defensive tackle Darnell Dockett if they get gassed. Keim likes the idea of bringing in Matt Shaughnessy and Frostee Rucker without having much of a dropoff. Looking at the veteran free agents the team has signed there definitely seems to be a mix:
– RB Rashard Mendenhall, starter
– QB Drew Stanton, reserve
– S Yeremiah Bell, TBD
– CB Jerraud Powers, TBD
– LB Lorenzo Alexander, TBD
– LB Jasper Brinkley, starter
– CB Antoine Cason, TBD
– DE Matt Shaughnessy, reserve
– DE Frostee Rucker, reserve
– S Jonathan Amaya, reserve
– G Chilo Rachal, reserve
Obviously either Powers or Cason will be a backup/nickel guy, because Patrick Peterson will be in there. I’d guess Alexander will be a reserve but he’ll get snaps on defense. Bell could end up as a backup if a high-end safety is drafted, but he’s slated to start for now and Rachal’s spot could be impacted with the draft too depending on how the offensive line ends up shaking out.
Ultimately, not every name signed in free agency draws the “Wow” response, nor is it intended to. That famous board Keim built for free agency had more than star(ter) power in mind.
Tags: Antoine Cason, Chilo Rachal, Drew Stanton, free agency, Frostee Rucker, Jasper Brinkley, Jerraud Powers, Jonathon Amaya, Lorenzo Alexander, Matt Shaughnessy, Rashard Mendenhall, Steve Keim, Yeremiah Bell
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The Cardinals have signed a pair of defensive backs: safety Curtis Taylor (who we mentioned was coming last night) and cornerback Bryan McCann. Taylor has played in 12 NFL games since he was a seventh-round pick of the 49ers back in 2009. He hasn’t played in an NFL regular-season game since 2010. He was on the 49ers’ practice squad throughout the 2012 postseason after the Raiders cut him following the 2012 preseason.
McCann played eight games for the Dolphins last season (10 tackles and a sack) after the Raiders cut him following the preseason. He was an undrafted rookie with the Cowboys in 2010, and even scored a pair of touchdowns as a rookie (on a 101-yard interception return and a 97-yard punt return). In 2011, he played in 12 games with the Cowboys, Ravens and Raiders. He can return both punts and kickoffs.
The Cards also announced running back Alfonso Smith signed his one-year exclusive rights free agent tender.
Oh, and here’s a grainy iPhone shot of Larry Fitzgerald and Carson Palmer talking shop this morning during the Cardinals’ workouts. I assume they are talking shop. Maybe Palmer is asking Fitz where to live. Or about the latest episode of “The Walking Dead.” But you get the picture.
Tags: Alfonso Smith, Bryan McCann, Carson Palmer, Curtis Taylor, free agency, Larry Fitzgerald, salary cap
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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
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At the owner’s meetings earlier this week, general manager Steve Keim said after a hectic 10 days of free agency, it was time for the Cardinals to turn toward the draft and begin prep there. Keim and coach Bruce Arians, in fact, were going to hit a couple of pro days, starting with a trip to the South today as they witnessed the University of Georgia’s work (where Jarvis Jones and Alec Ogletree performed.)
It doesn’t mean free agency was completely kicked to the curb, of course. The Cardinals will still be looking to add here and there if they feel it makes sense, as Bruce Arians noted yesterday (and Mike Jurecki is reporting the Cards have signed veteran DE Frostee Rucker, I’m sure for not a lot of money). The prices for many of these players continue to drop, and that too could change equations. At this point, the Cardinals are in pretty good shape. After their cuts and signings binge of the past few weeks (before the Rucker move), the Cards have somewhere north of $13 million of salary cap room.
Of the nine free agent signings the team has made (including Rashad Johnson’s re-signing), only three account for more than $1.5 million of cap space: Rashard Mendenhall’s $2.5M cap hit, Drew Stanton’s $3M cap hit, and Jerraud Powers’ $2M cap hit. Those nine together only add up to less than a $15M cap hit. The Cards cleared $13.5M of cap space along by releasing Kevin Kolb and Kerry Rhodes.
There has been a lot of talk about needing money for the draft class/rookie pool, but because of the offseason top 51 rule — only the top 51 salary cap numbers on the roster count toward the salary cap in the offseason — not every rookie finds his way on to the “real” cap. Given where the Cardinals are drafting, the team will need around $3.5M of cap space toward the draft class (because some draftees won’t be in the top 51.)
Tags: Drew Stanton, free agency, Frostee Rucker, Jerraud Powers, Rashard Mendenhall, salary cap
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When the notion first came up of the Cardinals possibly signing free agent Josh Cribbs, it also created the question, just exactly how did he fit? Ostensibly he would be a receiver; Cribbs’ desire to play more offense in Cleveland was not a secret.
But Cribbs’ market isn’t large. His knee surgery has delayed a deal in Arizona. But at least the possibility is out there enough for Bruce Arians to talk a little about it. It was clear that Arians still sees Cribbs as a special teamer first. There are other possibilities though – if he signs – as Arians sees it.
“Having tried to tackle him all these years on returns, that’s the first thing,” Arians said. “He could take it to the house at any point and time. To put him and Patrick (Peterson) back there together would be fun. The ability he brings as an offensive player is unique. It’d be a nice addition if it worked out.”
Cribbs (or Peterson, for that matter) won’t be used at QB in the wildcat formation — “I’m not a wildcat dude,” Arians said — but Cribbs reminds Arians of the offensive versatility of a player he had in Pittsburgh, Antwaan Randle-El.
“I like having those types of guys,” Arians said.
Cribbs had just four catches last season as he fell out of favor with Browns coach Pat Shurmur.
“I’d be anxious to look at his skill set as a receiver,” Arians said. “What could he do to get into our receiver mix?”
Peterson would still be a return man, Arians emphasized. And first Cribbs has to heal, pass a physical and the Cards still have to have interest by then.
But, Arians said, “it would be fun having them both back there. Patrick is dynamic and maybe put them back together and say, ‘Where are you going to kick it?’ “
Tags: free agency, Josh Cribbs, Patrick Peterson
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Well, apparently the Josh Cribbs physical didn’t go as well as it could have, which probably isn’t a surprise by now since there was still no news about the Cardinals making a contract offer. This morning, there was a Will Burge report that he failed his physical.(Another report said he didn’t “fail” the physical, but we may be talking semantics here.)
Then Mike Garafalo got in touch with Cribbs’ agent, who said the free agent wide receiver/special teamer had just had an arthroscopic procedure to repair the meniscus in his knee and it wasn’t yet healed. More interestingly was Garafalo’s tweet of the agent saying that the Cardinals are expected to give Cribbs another physical “in a few weeks” and if he is healthy then, Cribbs should sign with the team.
A few weeks in the NFL is a long time. That will be after offseason work has started. Is it after the draft? Could the Cardinals make a move in the meantime to fill that role, making Cribbs the odd man out? Would that open the door wider for LaRod Stephens-Howling to return? (And for the record, I’m not saying Cribbs and the Hyphen are absolutely tied together. I’m trying to connect dots with skill sets.)
For the short term, though, the Cribbs questions can stop.
Tags: free agency, Josh Cribbs, LaRod Stephens-Howling
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