The Cardinals have a lot of players — and key ones at that — who are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents in March. Among those whose contracts will expire: Karlos Dansby, Matt Shaughnessy, Eric Winston, Yeremiah Bell, Frostee Rucker, Javier Arenas, Antoine Cason and Rashard Mendenhall. (For those wondering, John Abraham signed a two-year contract.)
The Cardinals will have varying degrees of interest in bringing each of those guys back. And again, I’m sure the deals will have to fit the Cards’ philosophy. The wheeling and dealing General Manager Steve Keim did in the offseason to bring in so many short-term vets had an upside that it worked for the Cards and the salary cap yet quickly rehabbed the roster. The downside is this. A player has a good year, and he has some leverage to take to the open market (See Dansby, Karlos.)
But Keim said during his weekly radio appearance on the “Doug and Wolf show” on Arizona Sports 620 that he has already begun the process of trying to get some extensions done. Keim didn’t name names.
“We are going to aggressively approach several of these guys,” Keim said. “I have already to some degree. We are going to try and put something in place to try to keep some continuity here, particularly for the guys who are playing well. But in some regard, the fans and media are going to have to understand, sometimes the market dictates what happens.The agents and the players sometimes want to see what’s out there.”
Translation: Some of these guys are gonna want to get paid. Dansby, for instance. Asked last night about getting a new contract. “Why not?” Dansby said. “I can do this three, four, five more years. I am playing at a high level right now and I don’t see anyone outplaying me right now.”
That doesn’t sound like a guy willing to play for $2.25 million like he is this season. But we will see. And even if he might want to make it work in Arizona — and I do think ‘Los would like to stay — it might behoove him to wait to see what other teams want to pony up. Last offseason was ugly for most of the vets listed above when no one came knocking on their door offering what they wanted. I’m sure they’d like to see what is out there one more time. So it could be tough to get many deals pre-March done.
“We just have to be smart about the deals we put in place with the cap situation and make good decisions,” Keim said. “But we will definitely be aggressive in addressing some of the players we feel are core guys.”
Tags: Antoine Cason, Eric Winston, free agency, Frostee Rucker, Javier Arenas, Karlos Dansby, Matt Shaughnessy, Rashard Mendenhall, Steve Keim, Yeremiah Bell
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General Manager Steve Keim talked about the organization’s ability to stay patient with certain offseason moves, and that has never been made more clear than the recent signings of tackle Eric Winston and John Abraham. The contract details are now leaking out, and they affirm what had basically been a given — both moves were financially smart for the Cards.
Overthecap.com has all the details here, but here are the basic facts: Winston not only has a $840,000 salary but only a $160,000 signing bonus. He also has a $250,000 roster bonus and a bunch of incentives (likely tied to playing time, which are going to be hit if Winston stays in the starting lineup. That could add another $750,000. Still, $2 million for Winston is a good deal if he is starting. Abraham gets a $1 million salary, a $1 million signing bonus and a $100,000 roster bonus — again, $2.1 million for a solid pass rusher. A good deal. (Abraham is scheduled to make $2.5M in salary next season plus possible escalators and none of it is guaranteed.)
Again, the Cards end up with good players at the right price and the flexibility to move on in 2014 if need be. Keim will stay proactive with their players on short-term deals. “We have a lot of guys who are on one-year deals who we’ll need to actively approach,” Keim said, “and try and get long-term deals done with them and reward them like we have talked about.”
According to the latest salary cap report, the Cards still have $7.8M in salary cap space. I’m not sure that yet includes Jonathan Cooper’s estimated $2.6M cap number.
Tags: Eric Winston, free agency, John Abraham, salary cap, Steve Keim
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The Cardinals have two open roster spots after roster moves Tuesday. Today, Mike Jurecki is reporting the Cardinals are bringing in veteran pass rusher John Abraham for a visit. In a lot of ways, it makes sense. Abraham, despite being 35 and seemingly always being threatened by injuries, has 32.5 sacks the past three seasons while playing all but two games for Atlanta at defensive end. Here, he would be an outside linebacker, and probably not in an every-down role.
I’m sure the Cards will be careful in looking into Abraham. Steve Keim was here when the Cards signed Joey Porter in 2010 after Porter had a good run in Miami; Porter had pretty much nothing left by the time he arrived in Arizona. But the Cards don’t have an edge rusher with a track record of getting to the quarterback consistently. Certainly no one like Abraham, who had 10 sacks last season.
Part of the equation, of course, is what Abraham would want in a contract. There is a reason he is still on the market, like many veterans who figured to be playing right now. Are Abraham, or Richard Seymour, or Kerry Rhodes, or Eric Winston, willing to take less or a short-term deal right now? Do they wait to see if a team gets desperate in training camp after an injury? The Cards have $10.6 million in cap space with rookie Jonathan Cooper still to be signed. I can’t see Keim doing an expensive deal in this case. But if Abraham likes the fit, and the Cards like what he could bring to the table at what I would guess was a reasonable price, this move would be a good one.
Tags: free agency, John Abraham, Steve Keim
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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
Posted in Blog | 30 Comments »
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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