The last preseason game is upon us. None of the starters will be playing, and neither will some key backups. There are, in reality, very few spots left and while the game could mean something in a spot or two decision-wise, most of the choices could already be made now. The Cardinals know what they have. These next few days are about adjusting the roster, comings and goings that will be impacted by waiver claims, signings and maybe a trade.
— Lot of questions about whether the Cardinals would chase soon-to-be free-agent CB Joe Haden. I don’t expect it to happen, and there is a simple reason why. Haden isn’t close to the same player he was just a couple years ago, when he deserved to be in the same discussion with the Patrick Petersons of the world. He struggled last season and has struggled a lot this preseason. I’ll be interested to see what he can get on the open market, since the Browns do have a $4 million offset, and we’ll see if he signs for more than one year. But his body has been breaking down over the last couple of seasons. As with every player, I fully expect the Cardinals to at least evaluate the possibility. The likelihood of the Cards chasing him, when there are probably going to be many suitors, I would think would be low. Mostly because he isn’t the player he once was.
UPDATE: Adam Schefter reports the Steelers are signing Haden for a 3-year, $27M deal including $7 million this season. So that’s that.
— There is the punting battle between Matt Wile and Richie Leone, knowing that veteran Jeff Locke has been cut and reports say still-effective veteran Andy Lee could traded by Carolina. Lee took a pay cut, which makes his salary more manageable, and if the Panthers are willing to take a low-round pick, maybe that is a path the Cardinals consider.
— Other stuff to watch in the game, especially when the final roster, at least at the bottom, may come down to who will be active on game days (which means a lot for guys who play special teams.): Rookie Rudy Ford on special teams, since he is likely battling Harlan Miller for a final safety spot. Wide receiver Aaron Dobson on offense, against Brittan Golden on special teams. How well do guys like Cole Toner hold up on the offensive line? Can the Cardinals be comfortable with their offensive line depth?
— There will not be an injury report until a week from today. That gives three key players — G Mike Iupati (triceps), DT Robert Nkemdiche (calf strain) and LB Deone Bucannon (ankle) — one more week before we really get a sense of whether they will be ready to play the regular-season opener.
— Speaking of the waiver claims and trades that could happen (remember, any player claimed off waivers must remain on the 53-man roster for at least three weeks), in the Keim era, the Cardinals have been awarded three players on waiver claims (Thomas Kaiser, Alameda Ta’amu and Bradley Sowell) and aquired two players in trades (Marcus Cooper and Matt Barkley) during final roster cutdown time.
— I’ll post a guess at the 53-man roster soon after the last preseason game.
Tags: Aaron Dobson, Brittan Golden, Broncos, Cole Toner, Deone Bucannon, Joe Haden, Matt Wile, Mike Iupati, Richie Leone, Robert Nkemdiche, Rudy Ford
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First of all, Patrick Peterson isn’t going to hold out. If that was a question, Peterson stepped on it and killed it when asked about his contract extension situation yesterday.
“There won’t be no holding out for me,” Peterson said. “I want to continue playing football at a high level. … I have two years left so there’s no sense holding out.”
Peterson was holding a presser yesterday to talk about his charity dinner and foundations (all details are at patrickpeterson.org) but inevitably it turned into a discussion about the Pro Bowl cornerback’s contract status. Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman just got a big contract extension, Browns cornerback Joe Haden just received one Tuesday morning, and these days, most consider Sherman, Haden and Peterson the top three young cornerbacks in the game. Peterson is going to need an extension, and while the Cardinals have some time after exercising Peterson’s 2015 team option — hence the “two years left” — it’s coming sooner rather than later.
Peterson, though, understands the process. He talked of working on something “bigger” than just a contract, and insisted he’ll be patient.
“I think I’m definitely well-deserving of a new contract, but at the end of the day it’s a business,” Peterson said. “You’ve got (salary) cap numbers, you’ve got other guys you need to take care of, the rookie pool. All that stuff falls into perspective, but at the end of the day I know (GM) Steve Keim, coach (Bruce) Arians and Mr. (Michael) Bidwill, they want me here for the long haul.”
That’s true. Ask Keim and he couldn’t act more confident that Peterson’s situation will eventually get worked out. Will it get messy? I don’t see it. Peterson is a smart man. He works in the big picture, not unlike teammate Larry Fitzgerald. Fitz has had a couple of uncomfortable contract situations (always with the leverage over the team, but still) and he has deftly worked around any bad feelings it might have caused not only with the team but the fan base. Peterson knows a holdout wouldn’t go over well with anyone and it probably wouldn’t make a huge impact either given how much time is left on his deal.
Instead, he’ll work within the system. And in the end, like Sherman and Haden, he’s gonna get paid.
“They drafted me for the long haul,” Peterson said. “I want to be that Adrian Wilson of the organization, that Larry Fitzgerald, that Darnell Dockett. I believe I’ve done some great things here early in my career, and I want to be here for a while.”
Tags: contract, Joe Haden, Patrick Peterson, Richard Sherman, Steve Keim
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Very quiet around the complex today. That really shouldn’t surprise anyone. As we move into the weekend, a couple or three things to chew on:
— I am all for speculation about the quarterbacks, because in part I’m going to need to engage in some of it myself as we go forward as long as the labor situation is unsettled. But keep one thing in mind with whatever you hear reported — there haven’t been any talks between the Cards and any other team about a quarterback trade or potential trade, at least not in the last couple months. Even when there was that brief window last week to allow players to work out and speak to coaches, the rest of business was still on hold. As I have said before, I expect the Cards to explore a lot of QB options (kind of like how Sando breaks it down here; I like the analogy to the progressions on a pass play) but such exploration has been and will remain in a holding pattern until this is all sorted out.
In short, speculation is just speculation right now.
— I had someone ask me where Larry Fitzgerald will fit in the NFL Network’s current countdown of the top 100 players in the NFL today. I guessed somewhere in the 20 to 25 range. Profootballfocus.com did the top 101 players in the NFL last year, ranking them (the best they could) on metrics and the like. In its list, Fitzgerald was 52nd best in 2010, between No. 51 Tramon Williams, the cornerback from Green Bay, and No. 53 Joe Haden, the rookie cornerback from Cleveland. Yes, it took into account poor quarterback play, with which “lesser men would have crumbled.”
— The New York Times’ Fifth Down blog breaks down, briefly, the Cards from last season.
Tags: Joe Haden, Larry Fitzgerald, trade, Tramon Williams
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