The NFL Players Association tweeted out a document this afternoon listing every NFL team’s cap space, and, with everything fluid this time of year (cap space changes as soon as players are added or subtracted) the Cardinals have about $8.2 million in salary cap space for their top 51. That’s not a bad situation to be in after trading for Carson Palmer. (UPDATE: There seems to be some question if that is before the Palmer deal factored in.
Obviously if it hasn’t been, that will make a big difference It included Palmer already.)
The Cards did add a small piece today in former 49ers safety Curtis Taylor (the team has yet to officially announce it). I’d expect a few more similar signings over the next couple of weeks as the Cards prep for their first (voluntary) minicamp beginning April 23.
The Cards still only have 57 players after adding Palmer (and before Taylor) and they need to grow that number. There will be seven draft picks and a bunch of undrafted rookies, but again, the Cards eventually want to get to 90 players
– The Bengals claimed quarterback John Skelton, cut by the Cards Monday, off waivers Wednesday. Here’s hoping Skelton catches on as a backup. I still believe he’d already have a win in Cincinnati if Early Doucet hadn’t fallen down.
– I never wrote anything because of when it happened (and in case you were living under a rock) ex-Cards QB Kevin Kolb agreed to a deal with the Bills a few days ago. He has a chance to start there, at least as of right now.
Tags: Carson Palmer, Curtis Taylor, John Skelton, Kevin Kolb, NFLPA, Roster, salary cap
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By the time the Cardinals actually play a game that counts, six months-plus from now, today’s revelation that linebacker Daryl Washington was suspended the first four games of the 2013 regular season will be old news. Even how coach Bruce Arians deals with it will be old news. There is a whole offseason to prep a replacement. The other players know. There’s no sugar-coating that losing arguably your best defensive player (and I said arguably, Patrick, Calais and Darnell) doesn’t help on the field. But on the field is probably the easiest place to work with this absence. By September, by the time games start, this is no different on the field than a guy who suffers a badly sprained ankle and misses a month. It happens.
(A quick aside: I don’t know who the Cards will get to fill the role. Early guess is the team makes due with what they have as opposed to getting a “name” fill-in. Karlos Dansby’s name has been mentioned often, and I suppose you can’t rule it out, but what to do with him when Washington comes back? Is Dansby ready to be a backup? I’d guess no right now and that’s assuming he’d be willing to come in for cheap.)
But Washington won’t be allowed at the facility for that month (or five weeks if the Cards are unlucky enough to have an early bye) and misses out on that time with his team and coaches. He’ll lose $564,705 in salary based on the $2.4 million he is supposed to earn this season. Based on the NFL’s policy, the only way Washington could get suspended is if he had violated the policy previously, so Washington also has to show he can get straight in that regard. To be suspended a player is in Stage Two of the league’s Substance Abuse policy and stays there for two full seasons. Another longer suspension comes if he violates the policy again.
UPDATE: This was not a violation for performance-enhancing drugs. People seem to be missing that point.
Washington, who signed a huge new contract last season, was due a $10 million option bonus at the end of the season but Mike Sando reports that bonus was moved last month to the end of the 2014 season (Apparently for salary cap purposes). Either way, the Cardinals still have a very talented player who they want on the field, and they are paying him to be there. Washington promised, both in a statement through the team and via his Twitter account he was sorry.
I apologize to all my fans, teammates and to the Cardinals Organization. I promise to work even harder and to not let you guys down anymore.—
Daryl Washington (@DWashington58) April 03, 2013
The Cards need Washington to be true to his word.
Tags: Daryl Washington, Karlos Dansby, salary cap
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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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The moves today to release cornerback William Gay and linebacker Stewart Bradley aren’t really shocking. This is what happens when salary exceeds production, as general manager Steve Keim was talking about just a couple of weeks ago. Bradley’s story is well known, and after he didn’t do much last season and with his salary back to $5 million, his future was all but written. Gay’s 2012 playing time escalated his salary from $1.475 million to $3.225 million, and that too probably cost Gay any chance of returning. With around $7 million of cap savings, the Cards are under the cap now.
There is still work to do, of course, the most glaring the contract of quarterback Kevin Kolb. There has been no word yet of any talks or movement in that area. The Cards have fit his giant $13.5M cap number in for now, but nothing has changed from the fact something has to happen. Kolb is due a $2M roster bonus soon (do not know the date, but anticipate it being the start of the league year on March 12 or right around there) and I can’t see it being paid unless a new deal is in place.
The Cards were about $1.2M over the cap prior to the cuts today according to Adam Schefter, so the savings should put them a little more than $5M under — decent breathing room in the short term, although a tender offer to QB Brian Hoyer would eat up some of that space if one were made. Are further moves, aside from Kolb, coming in the form of a cut or a restructure? Perhaps. Don’t forget, a restructure basically means giving the player more money now for the privilege of pushing cap space on to a future year’s cap. Eventually, it has to be paid. And if there is anything we have learned about the new collective bargaining agreement and the salary cap is that it was set up to no longer have giant spikes from year to year — making cap management for every team a little more challenging year-to-year. Bradley and Gay were not the only NFL veterans cut today, that’s for sure.
It also underscores another NFL reality — for all the gnashing of teeth that goes on when free agency starts about why the Cards (or any team) didn’t sign this guy or that guy — that the draft is the way to build a roster. Ultimately, teams don’t let players get away that they think they can’t afford to lose.
Tags: Brian Hoyer, Kevin Kolb, salary cap, Steve Keim, Stewart Bradley, William Gay
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Are some difficult decisions coming with the roster for general manager Steve Keim?
“Absolutely,” Keim said.
In itself, that is no surprise. There are the reports the Cards are currently about $3.5 million over the salary cap (teams must be compliant by March 12) but that in itself isn’t a big deal. Contracts can easily enough be manipulated to make it work, especially that close to being OK. For instance, the Cards could work it just by, for example, releasing Kevin Kolb, because while Kolb will still count for $6 million of “dead” cap space if cut, his cap number currently is $13.5M so there would be a $7.5M savings on the cap alone. (Again, I expect the Cards to try and work out a new deal for Kolb, so if he came back, that too will clear space.)
But it’s the “tough” part of the tough decisions that Keim is considering that impacts the equation.
“Anytime you get attached to certain players it’s not only a tough decision from a business standpoint, but it’s a tough decision from a personal standpoint,” Keim said. “But you have to put personal feelings aside, and you have to do what’s best for the organization. But there are going to be some tough decisions, but at the same time, there will be some decisions we are excited about moving forward. Put young players in a position to grow and succeed.”
Keim, obviously, isn’t naming names right now. The first connect-the-dots that pops into your head when thinking about this is veteran safety Adrian Wilson, who carries a $5.4M cap number in 2013 and who himself wondered at the end of last season if his days in Arizona might be coming to an end. There is no player Keim is closer to than Wilson, after both attended North Carolina State and Keim was the one who scouted and pushed for Wilson in the 2001 draft.
As of now, the Cardinals have 10 players scheduled to have salary cap numbers in 2013 of at least $5M: Kolb, Larry Fitzgerald ($10.3), Calais Campbell ($8.8), Darnell Dockett ($7.7), Daryn Colledge ($7.3), Stewart Bradley ($6.5), Levi Brown ($6.4), Kerry Rhodes ($6.0), Wilson and Daryl Washington ($5.4). There are a host of moves any team can make, including extensions — for instance, with Rhodes, who is down to the final year of his deal — that can lower the cap number too.
But this is about more than just money and cap space. It factors in a new coaching staff, a new general manager, a team that went 5-11 and the reality rosters sometimes are purged in such a transition.
“Anytime you are in a position where you are dealing with the salary cap, you have some tough challenges financially, but at the same time, starting with (president) Michael Bidwill giving us the opportunity to do what is necessary to win, we won’t make decisions solely based on finances,” Keim said. “Now, what is hard in this business is that you have players making quite a bit of money and their production level doesn’t match their financial package.
“Those are the decisions where we’ll weigh the pros and the cons and make the tough decisions based on what are we getting out of this player. Does he schematically fit what we do? Are his finances in line for what we are getting from him?”
Tags: Adrian Wilson, Calais Campbell, Darnell Dockett, Daryl Washington, Daryn Colledge, Kerry Rhodes, Kevin Kolb, Larry Fitzgerald, Levi Brown, salary cap, Steve Keim, Stewart Bradley
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With the news, reported multiple places, that the Cards are a little more than $3 million over the salary cap about a month away from needing to get in compliance, general manager Steve Keim still has some maneuvering to do. Knowing now that new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles is sticking with the 3-4 base defense, the linebacker corps remains a crucial part of the equation.
What that means going forward is the question as free agency/cap compliance/the offseason gets closer.
Daryl Washington, the Pro Bowler and burgeoning star, isn’t going anywhere. He got his new contract last year and is the cornerstone of the position. But beyond that? The biggest part of the to-do list is got to be the other inside linebacker spot next to Washington. Paris Lenon is an unrestricted free agent, but he is also going to turn 36 in November. With a new staff, those are often the kind of players that are left to move on, or brought back later in the offseason. But Lenon has been playing, which in Stewart Bradley’s two Cardinals’ seasons hasn’t been the case. Bradley took a reduction in salary last season of 50 percent and still didn’t play much on defense at all, relegated to mostly special teams. Again, that could change with a new defensive coordinator, but up against the cap and with Bradley owning a $6.5 million salary cap number for 2013, his return under that deal doesn’t make sense. At best, renegotiation/pay cut would be coming, although the Cards may just part ways. UPDATE: I’m not sure why I forgot to mention Reggie Walker, who played solidly this season. Walker is under contract for another season and surpassed Bradley on the depth chart.
(That’s the dangerous part of this process, however. Bradley would still cost $3M of dead cap space if released, which is still a savings of $3.5M, but it’s not like it’s zero impact. The cap hit has always got to be considered with moving on from any player or trading him. Sometimes it can be spread out over a couple of years, but it’s still a hit of worthless space.)
O’Brien Schofield and Sam Acho, your outside starters, still have to prove themselves to the new staff too, although the decision to go with a 3-4 base helps both tremendously. They might have a much harder time in a 4-3 setup finding a place to play.
Tags: Daryl Washington, O'Brien Schofield, Paris Lenon, Reggie Walker, salary cap, Sam Acho, Stewart Bradley
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Team president Michael Bidwill is in New Orleans for the Super Bowl, and during a visit to Radio Row, touched on a subject a lot of people are wondering about: Where training camp will be held in 2013. It’s no secret the team’s contract with Flagstaff ran out after next year, and the team is currently exploring options.
Bidwill talked about some of the issues the Cardinals have had with NAU, with construction and being displaced and issues of various accommodations, and he said NAU plans to address those things. “That’s real good for them,” Bidwill told “Bickley and MJ” on XTRA 910, “because there are other competitors out there we are speaking with.”
One of those competitors is Glendale, where University of Phoenix Stadium resides. That could end up being the place the Cards go for camp, using the stadium and other possible new facilities to be built.
“They are (a viable option),” Bidwill said. “We are considering both (Flagstaff and Glendale), that’s for sure.”
As for what that might mean to the fans, Bidwill said fan access will still be important, regardless of where the Cards end up.
“The whole idea behind training camp is both a football activity where we are getting players ready for the season, but it is also a fan activity where we want to bring fans in,” Bidwill said. “There are many elements where it is great about doing it in Flagstaff, but there are also great possibilities of doing it at University of Phoenix Stadium. It could be a really a fantastic site. There are a little bit of tradeoffs, but there is no doubt (the camp experience) gets better and better each year and that is something we want to continue to focus on.”
– Bidwill had an interesting quote when talking about drafting a quarterback. He reiterated that the team needed to address the quarterback situation, but was going to leave those specifics up to GM Steve Keim and coach Bruce Arians. But he talked about the things he had witnessed in the draft room over the years. “Every time we have reached, we have made a mistake. I don’t want to reach. You start reaching for a guy rather than going for best player available, you make mistakes.”
– As for free agency, he also is leaving that to Keim, but as for being tight against the salary cap, “I know we have some flexibility and there are things we can do around the cap to make room to get better,” Bidwill said.
Tags: draft, Michael Bidwill, salary cap, training camp, University of Phoenix stadium
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While the reports are out there that VP of player personnel Steve Keim is negotiating to become the next Cardinals’ general manager, the next GM — whether it was going to be Keim or someone else — will have some work to do.
According to figures reported by John Clayton, the Cards are currently set to come in around $720,000 above the 2013 salary cap. That means at the very least there will be some restructuring to do. To have any flexibility for free agents or the like will take some paperwork. That’s why, beyond Kevin Kolb’s injuries, it will be important to try and restructure his deal (his cap number is around $13 million this coming season), or extend safety Kerry Rhodes ($6M), or make a call on linebacker Stewart Bradley ($6.5M). The cap numbers of Larry Fitzgerald (more than $10M), Darnell Dockett ($7.7M) and Adrian Wilson (more than $5M) also could be looked at in some way, shape or form.
Cap space can be found quickly if necessary, and it doesn’t have to be at the cost of losing a player outright, necessarily. Sometimes it just is a matter of shifting contract language. But there is little question there is work to be done.
Most cap space to come, according to Clayton? The Bengals, with more than $55 million. The least? The Jets, at more than $19M on the negative side.
Tags: Adrian Wilson, Bengals, Darnell Dockett, Jets, Kerry Rhodes, Kevin Kolb, Larry Fitzgerald, salary cap, Stewart Bradley
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Now that the roster for training camp is (virtually) set with 90 players, the Cardinals are in a decent place with their salary cap space. Thanks to a list from profootballtalk.com, we know the Cards have about $4.55 million in cap space right now. It’s not a ton, but 13 teams have less and since the Cards have signed all their draft picks, it is a reasonable amount of space heading to Flagstaff.
Even if the Cards don’t make another move, the cap space will change depending on their final roster. Right now the number is the top 51 cap numbers on the roster; when the regular season starts that will include all 53 on the roster as well as anyone on injured reserve and the practice squad.
Tags: salary cap
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No, nothing new is brewing on the Calais Campbell contract front. Right now, the franchise-tagged defensive end remains unsigned and isn’t around. To refresh the details, the tag means he will be a Card in 2012 for sure, but until he signs, he’s under no obligation to come to anything.
(Technically, the Cards could also pull the tag at any point before it’s signed, but that would never happen.)
The Cards, by last report out there in cyberspace, had about $2.5 million of cap space. There has been a lot of speculation that a new long-term deal for Campbell would create more, and that’s true. How much, though, is the question. Campbell’s current cap number (tagged players count even as they aren’t signed) is around $10.7M. Now, there are a million ways to structure a contract, and many of them would shave that number down. But let’s say, for instance, Campbell gets a five-year contract. Given the amount of “guaranteed” money — normally, money in those first three years of the deal — he’d probably command (it’s going to be north of $20 million), that’s a good chunk that comes up early in the deal. Whatever you take away from the current cap number, it’s going to be pushed into the next couple years, pressing future caps anyway. It’s not like signing him will suddenly create $10M of cap space.
Of course, just trimming Campbell’s cap number to, say, $7.5M gains more than $3M of space, and at this point, given the roster, that probably would be fine heading into the season. The deadline to sign Campbell to such a deal is a little more than two months away.
Tags: Calais Campbell, salary cap
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