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Blogs

Jenkins visit and the shrinking roster of March

Posted by Darren Urban on March 18, 2014 – 10:07 am

Running back Alfonso Smith — who had been a restricted free agent to whom the Cards did not tender an offer — tweeted out this morning the Cardinals had told him they would not be bringing him back. It’s the other side of the fluctuating roster of March.

The long anticipated visit of free agent cornerback Mike Jenkins is happening (Kent Somers noted the visit, and Mike Jurecki was the first to report interest in Jenkins before free agency even started). Nothing new has come about with free agent cornerback Antonio Cromartie, and as we all know, GM Steve Keim usually puts an offer out there and if it is rejected, he is prepared to move on to the next option. Cromartie obviously hasn’t been amendable to the deal the Cards offered, so Jenkins is now up. He’s not Cromartie, but he’d provide depth.

Meanwhile, I’d guess Smith isn’t the only ex-Card to be told he’s definitely an ex-Card. Every year at this time there are a handful of players from the previous year’s team that have a chance to return until they don’t. As needs and circumstances change, so do the possibility they could come back. The Jonathan Dwyer signing probably ended any possibility of a Smith return. That’s why some unsigned players remain on the roster, at least for now, and sooner rather than later, that will change.

In the meantime, free agency is an ongoing process. As of this morning, the NFLPA lists the Cardinals with $5.13 million (UPDATE: NFLPA now has the Cards with $8.1 million and one less contract, so I am guessing they mistakenly added in a non-Cardinal, like the other day) in cap space for their top 51 of the offseason. That should include everyone’s contracts that have signed as of now, including cornerback Bryan McCann yesterday. That’s not a ton of room. But there are some points to make when it comes to that.

– The Cardinals do need space to sign the rookie class. But remember, half the draft class — which for the Cards need about $4.2M total cap space to sign — won’t count on the cap until the regular season, because the players who aren’t in the top two or three rounds won’t have a first-year cap hit big enough to qualify for the top 51. The Cards will likely need about half that.

– And that rookie cap money will come available June 1 anyway when half of the released Daryn Colledge’s cap number comes off the books as a June 1 cut.

– Any player can usually be fit under the cap, for those worried about signing more free agents. It’s all about how you structure the deal. So yes, the shrinking cap doesn’t mean Cromartie isn’t coming here. It doesn’t mean he is, either, but the point is, a team can make a lot of things work if they want to enough.


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Posted in Blog | 44 Comments »

Cards add a cornerback (no, not him)

Posted by Darren Urban on March 17, 2014 – 1:54 pm

Everyone is waiting for news on free agent Antonio Cromartie. There is nothing new to report there. But the Cardinals did re-sign cornerback Bryan McCann to a one-year deal Monday, which gives them options both on special teams and with depth in the defensive backfield. McCann came back last year after the Teddy Williams injury to help on special teams, but he nearly made the active roster coming out of camp.

This does not preclude the Cardinals from adding another corner, whether it be Cromartie or someone else. (Mike Jenkins, someone whom the Cards reportedly have interest in, was scheduled to visit the Buccaneers today.) That position definitely remains in play in the draft too, especially high, if no one of import is signed in free agency.

With Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie signing with the Giants today, the price of Cromartie — the best cornerback remaining in free agency, just went up. Which might have been why Cromartie was waiting in the first place.

– The next episode of “Tenacious,” the occasional video series chronicling the rehab of safety Tyrann Mathieu is coming this week.

– We also, with it being the bracket-picking time of year, have our second annual Cardinals Bracketology page looking at the top plays of the past season as they battle for the respect of the fans through votes. The No. 1 seed?  Michael Floyd’s TD catch in Seattle. Last year, the 16th-seeded play, guard Senio Kelemete’s freak catch in the season finale, upset everyone en route to a title. Let’s see how it plays out this year. Click here to watch the plays and vote every day.

McCannBackUSE


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Posted in Blog | 32 Comments »

Tweets between friends (PP-Cromartie edition)

Posted by Darren Urban on March 15, 2014 – 6:35 pm

Nothing has happened on the free agency front for the Cardinals since Thursday, when they signed Ted Ginn. There will be other signings at some point. The Cards, as I have mentioned, want a cornerback, and everyone is waiting for the puff of white smoke announcing that perhaps Pro Bowler Antonio Cromartie is that guy. We’ll see if that happens. Again, it might even just be on a one-year deal, if Cromartie can’t get the kind of money he’d like. But there was an interesting trade of tweets today between incumbent Cardinals Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson and Cromartie Saturday evening.

First came Peterson:

Answered Cromartie:

To which Peterson replied:

Peterson isn’t the one negotating the deal for the Cards of course. But Cromartie certainly sounds open to coming to Arizona.

UPDATE: As you can see above, Cromartie has deleted his tweet (although you can still see above what he wrote.) Maybe his agent let him know putting that thought out there wasn’t good for free-agent business.


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Posted in Blog | 43 Comments »

In the wake of the free agency week

Posted by Darren Urban on March 14, 2014 – 4:00 pm

A quiet day, finally, around the Cardinals. I know many were hoping for Antonio Cromartie free agent news but there isn’t any. Until he signs somewhere though, I wouldn’t rule out the Cardinals. Again, if he comes, it’ll be on the Cards’ terms. Beyond that, I think the Cards will keep looking at options but the market is going to be a buyer’s market now. That’s right up Steve Keim’s alley.

– The Cardinals have about $11 million in cap space. I don’t know if that yet includes Ted Ginn’s deal. It’s definitely not going to count the new contract for LB Matt Shaughnessy, since Shaughnessy hasn’t actually signed yet, and there might be a couple other lesser deals yet to be counted. That will come soon. Still, it’s plenty of room to work. It doesn’t hurt the space that Jared Veldheer’s cap number in the first season is just $2.5M and Ginn will be a mere $1.75M.

Overthecap.com, which broke down the Ginn deal, notes that $2 million of Ginn’s $3.25M salary for 2015 is guaranteed if he is on the roster on the third day of the league year next year. In other words, if the Cards decide to release him it will be right around the time free agency begins.

– The Cardinals exercised the option bonus they needed to pay linebacker Daryl Washington this week. Washington’s assault case is still ongoing — his next court date is scheduled for April 23 — but he’s a cornerstone of this defense and isn’t going anywhere. There is still a chance he is suspended depending on the outcome of the court case, but the Cards will deal with it.

– It was a fruitful and smart start to free agency for the Cardinals. Get a left tackle, get a speed receiver/return man, get some interior OL depth, get running back depth. Re-sign a key linebacker like Shaughnessy, and as much as they wanted Karlos Dansby back, let him walk when the money got crazy. I also think, the way Keim operates, that from this point forward is even more important for the Cards. They have an excellent sales pitch right now and two guys in Keim and Bruce Arians who know how to sell it. There will be another Dansby-Abraham-Winston or two this offseason.

– As I pointed out on Twitter last night (@cardschatter, if you want more immediate updates from yours truly), we will have a video on azcardinals.com soon about Fitzgerald’s trip up in an F-16. Until there, here’s a taste of Fitz in the cockpit.


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Posted in Blog | 52 Comments »

Adding a cornerback. Maybe Cromartie

Posted by Darren Urban on March 13, 2014 – 6:00 pm

It’s been well reported by now former Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie is visiting the Cardinals. Kent Somers reported Cromartie will stay until Friday, which was the original plan. Negotiations are ongoing. Will he sign? I don’t know. I’m guessing there is a chance the Cards have at last set parameters about what they want to offer, and Cromartie has to decide if that is good enough. GM Steve Keim and his group spend a lot of time breaking down their free agent targets and what they are worth. They go into every negotiation with a player with a number in mind. I don’t see why Cromartie is any different.

The Cardinals need and want to add a cornerback. Cromartie might be at or near the top of the list, but I’m sure he’s not the only one on the list. As Keim has said a few times, they will extend offers they think make sense. If the player decides it doesn’t work, the Cards move on. Sometimes it can be revisited — I think Karlos Dansby was in that boat last offseason — but the Cards and Keim won’t be rash and they won’t panic into spending more than they should or want to.

If he did sign, you’d think he’d drop right into the other starting spot with Patrick Peterson. Reserves would be Tyrann Mathieu, Justin Bethel and Jerraud Powers, and there is still the draft and guys you could look at later in free agency. If he doesn’t sign, there are others on Keim’s board. (No, other than the much speculated upon Mike Jenkins, I have not heard any names.) Cromartie would be a nice addition, but it’ll be on the Cards’ terms if it happens.


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Posted in Blog | 46 Comments »

Ted Ginn is officially a Cardinal

Posted by since1898 on March 13, 2014 – 3:12 pm

Ted Ginn Jr.

BACK TO #since1898


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Posted in Since1898 | 11 Comments »

Ginn and the elusive “speed receiver”

Posted by Darren Urban on March 13, 2014 – 12:59 pm

Free agency churns on today with the news — confirmed by General Manager Steve Keim on Sirius XM NFL radio — that wide receiver Ted Ginn is visiting the Cardinals today. Ginn makes a ton of sense for the Cards, assuming Keim gets his price. He is fast, he can stretch the field and he is an expert kickoff return man. You aren’t adding Calvin Johnson or even Mike Wallace, but Ginn would serve a need and seems to have improved on the drops that have plagued him from time to time.

(Free agent cornerback Antonio Cromartie, who still is playing pretty well, is also visiting the Cards. The Cards need a cornerback with Antoine Cason and Javier Arenas both free agents. Cromartie would be an interesting upgrade at the position and could really make this FA period impressive for Keim. Again.)

Ginn’s visit got me thinking about asking Bruce Arians at the Scouting combine about what he is looking for in that much-discussed speed receiver. The coach has never made any bones about his desire to have a pass catcher that can take the top off a defense.

“A 40 time is a good measuring stick but sometimes a guy runs a 4.3 in shorts and then plays like a 4.6,” Arians said. “I want a guy who plays the game fast. A guy who runs 4.3 and plays the game 4.3, then you have something special.”

Ginn, when I have seen him, plays 4.3. His hands just haven’t always cooperated. But again, he’d fit a role in two key areas, and that’s important. This could be a big day in Tempe. UPDATE: The Cards signed Ginn to a three-year deal.

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Posted in Blog | 49 Comments »

Welcome Jared Veldheer to the birdgang

Posted by since1898 on March 12, 2014 – 2:52 pm

Jared Veldheer

BACK TO #since1898


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Posted in Since1898 | 1 Comment »

Welcome back Jake Ballard

Posted by since1898 on March 12, 2014 – 9:37 am

BALLARD-FA


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Soon, Veldheer should be left tackle

Posted by Darren Urban on March 11, 2014 – 3:30 pm

No, nothing is official. Free agent left tackle Jared Veldheer is not officially signed, instead headed here for an visit that will allow the Cardinals medical staff to check him out and for General Manager Steve Keim, team president Michael Bidwill and coach Bruce Arians — among others — to talk to the guy face to face. But multiple reports not only have Veldheer agreeing to a contract with the Cardinals but also details of a five-year deal. The main numbers are $17 million guaranteed and a $6.5 million bonus, and if true (and assuming Veldheer is the solid left tackle everyone expects) Keim once again weaved his magic for a reasonable deal that would be cheaper than the other top tackles on the market. All for a 6-foot-8, 320-pound behemoth who turns 27 in June.

Here is a contract breakdown (already) of Veldheer’s deal, courtesy of overthecap.com.

I don’t think there is any question quarterback Carson Palmer — who played with and was protected by Veldheer in Oakland — endorsed his former teammate. Bruce Arians has said the Cards get input on players from players once in a while. And there is no question Veldheer was an intriguing possibility because of his age and price tag. If all goes right in the visit (and there is no reason it shouldn’t) Veldheer should be holding a press conference sometime Wednesday. Certainly Veldheer is confident. Not only did he tweet a goodbye to Raider fans, but he also changed his Twitter description and avatar:

VeldheerTwitterUSE

– In case you missed it, wide receiver Andre Roberts is headed to Washington on a four-year deal that reportedly has $8 million guaranteed. The wide receiver market hasn’t exactly opened with a bang like the tackle or defensive back positions have, so Roberts looks like he came out way ahead. Good for him. He’ll get a better opportunity to catch passes in Washington than he would have here behind Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd.


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Posted in Blog | 77 Comments »