Expiring minds want to know

Posted by Darren Urban on June 30, 2010 – 10:02 am

If the NBA has the Summer of 2010, the NFL – right now – is staring at the Summer of 2011.

The lack of a new collective bargaining agreement and the possibility of a work stoppage after the 2010 season has slowed the talk of contract extensions throughout the league. Judgments aside, that’s just a fact. Teams and players don’t know what free agency will look like next March (or later; until a new CBA is put in place, there will be no free agency movement). It’ll affect every team around the league. That is also a fact.

Closer to home, though, it looks like it’ll make for one, um, let’s say interesting offseason for the Cardinals. Here are the key players on the team right now who are not under contract past 2010 and are scheduled to have their contracts expire after this season:

  • P Ben Graham
  • WR Steve Breaston
  • S Matt Ware
  • CB Michael Adams
  • RB Jason Wright
  • RB Tim Hightower
  • LB Monty Beisel
  • C Lyle Sendlein
  • G Alan Faneca
  • T Brandon Keith
  • G Reggie Wells
  • G Deuce Lutui
  • DT Alan Branch
  • WR Early Doucet
  • TE Anthony Becht
  • TE Ben Patrick
  • DE Kenny Iwebema
  • DT Bryan Robinson
  • DT Gabe Watson

Obviously, some players are more important that others. Some may not even make the roster this season. And some figure to be still under restricted FA status next season even with a new CBA (guys like Doucet, Keith and Iwebema, for instance). But again, you don’t know how it turns out. That also doesn’t include three major key players who, while all under contract through 2011, will need extensions by next offseason to make sure they stay in Arizona: WR Larry Fitzgerald, DL Darnell Dockett and (assuming he plays as the Cards hope) QB Matt Leinart.

It’s quite the list. I find it hard to believe, if there is a delay in free agency that there won’t be some short moratorium to let teams get their FA ducks in a row before the market is flooded with UFAs. But you never know.

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Posted in Blog | 16 Comments »

16 Responses to “Expiring minds want to know”

  1. By Eric on Jun 30, 2010 | Reply

    Honestly, this is disturbing.

    I usually side with the Cardinals on their dealings with player contracts, especially extenstions to players who just want more money after just signing long-term deals (Q, Dockett).

    But it’s getting ridiculous here. Dockett should have been extended this offseason. I wouldn’t have done it last year or the year before, but the time has come. If they let it get past the point of no return, like they did with Q, then shame on them. Breaston has been playing on a rookie 5th rounder salary and is now the #2 WR on the team. How can he not be under contract past this season? Doucet is competing for the #3 spot and he isn’t under contract either?

    And 60% of the starting o-linemen from last season are not under contract? And potentially our starting RT Keith? And the starting RB? I understand Lutui, I think he’s gone after this season. Hadnot will likely cover his spot. Faneca will either retire or take a paycut to play. I thought the coaching staff placed such a high value on continuity on the o-line? It appears as though we’re going to have three different o-lines in three years (if they even play football in 2011)!

    I sincerely hope the Bidwills and Graves get this thing in order quickly, because it really looks gloomy.

  2. By darrenurban on Jun 30, 2010 | Reply

    Eric —

    Well, it’s daunting, yes. But as for your points, some perspective:

    Dockett can be franchised after 2011. Not ideal, but he isn’t going anywhere for a long time if the Cards don’t want him to be (but yes, I think he should be extended. And I still think that happens). Breaston is making more than $2 million on his RFA tender offer. Doucet would be an RFA after this season (his third), like Keith, and both in the past would have likely ended up with RFA tender offers for 2011 anyway. Bottom line with those two, they still haven’t proven themselves. They aren’t going to get long-term deals anyway right now, CBA issues or no CBA issues.

    And I still believe Lutui could end up with a long-term deal eventually.

  3. By Peter in Canada on Jun 30, 2010 | Reply

    Darren –
    Do you have any idea how this compares with other teams? i.e. is this really bad or are lots of other teams in the same boat?

  4. By darrenurban on Jun 30, 2010 | Reply

    Peter —

    I’d have to look it up, but I am fairly certain many teams are in the same situation. I recently read an article that Tom Brady isn’t thrilled he doesn’t have an extension. His contract is up after this season.

  5. By bigredrage on Jun 30, 2010 | Reply

    But at the same time, cant we just re sign all these players and build through the draft if an agreement is not reached? I am assuming we just go back to the pre free agency days.

  6. By darrenurban on Jun 30, 2010 | Reply

    Bigred —

    Until a new CBA is reached, once it expires, every player is in limbo. They may or may not even be free agents, depending on the new CBA rules.

  7. By cardattac on Jun 30, 2010 | Reply

    Man this is kind of a scary topic. I hope this wont be a big distraction for the players and that the new CBA is fair. I dont see why it is so hard for an organization like the NFL to figure this out. its kinda comin down to the wire now man. I dont know vary much about the CBA…. But obviously someone needs to throw some money at it or sign the papers necessary. So all the players can still be over paid, bitchin, playin, benched, dealt, traded and sometimes just down right childish. Cuz its my favorite sport and I dont know what i would do without it!!! 🙂

    Oh hey Darren… Off topic I was wonderin if you knew how Fitz’s camp is goin and if any cards have gone up there to take part???

  8. By darrenurban on Jun 30, 2010 | Reply

    Cardattac —

    I know there will be some Cards up there. Not sure who though.

  9. By AndyStandsUp on Jun 30, 2010 | Reply

    With the retirement of Warner and Berry, the release of Okeafor, Gandy and other teams signing Rolle, Dansby and Rackers releases the Cards of at least 30 milllion smackeroos.But if the 2011 season is going to be wiped out, why would you pay extensions to Dockett or Breaston or Hightower to see them sit out and still get paid? The NFLPA isn’t as strong a union as basketball or baseball, players can be cut at anytime, and I envision a collarborative effort on both sides with the owners getting major concessions. Almost all NFL teams are playing this the correct way-see how the CBA is reworked before signing longterm deals.
    Darren, the Cards own the rights to Fitz through 2013. If franchised tagged in 2012 he receives 23 million onions. Is that the total contract or a signing bonus added on top of his salary?

  10. By darrenurban on Jun 30, 2010 | Reply

    AndyStands —

    First of all, Fitz’s contract is through 2012, but the final year is a player option and Fitz will never opt into it, making him free after 2011. I don’t remember the specifics of the franchise tag. IIRC, the idea was to make his salary big if franchised but that contract was not allowed by the league so I think he simply cannot be franchised. UPDATE: I just checked and indeed, Fitz cannot be franchised.

  11. By TBru on Jul 1, 2010 | Reply

    I am guessing every team has the same question marks until the CBA situation is resolved.

    They need to figure it out and soon. A labor stoppage would surely kill the goose that lays the golden eggs.

  12. By brad oneill on Jul 1, 2010 | Reply

    i live in dreamworld so i will just say i hope they pour more money into the pension system for the old guys that really gave a lot to this league but didn’t reap the financial benefits.

    I think the key will be owners giving guaranteed contracts and players accepting less money in the tradeoff.

    Right now players like boldin and others end up locked up in a contract before their potential is really known. so they end up angry when they are out producing other players that are being paid twice as much or more than they are. they have no recourse other than to complain and then they look like whiners. if a player isn’t living up to the contract they just get cut. It is a boom or bust system that just doesn’t make sense.

    the haynsworth contract is going to stick in the mind of owners for years. no one wants that kind of bust.

  13. By darrenurban on Jul 1, 2010 | Reply

    Brad —

    No way the owners give up on guaranteed contracts.

  14. By Scott H on Jul 4, 2010 | Reply

    Sure are an awful lot of players on this list…including two thirds of our starting WR’s. With that in mind, I was also thinking about when they will have to deal with Fitz’s contract again. I swear, it seems like he just signed the last one!!! So, it appears that will be after the 2011 season. Darren, granted we don’t know exactly how well Breaston and Doucet will fare as full-time starters here, but assuming they turn out to be what they appear capable of being, what are the chances that them and Fitz will all still be here in 2012?

  15. By darrenurban on Jul 4, 2010 | Reply

    Scott H —

    Bottom line, 2012 is SO far away. A lot can happen between then and now.

  16. By signDDnow on Jul 6, 2010 | Reply

    From the list Darren I see that there is a lot of starters on there. Starting with the OL, I believe |Sendlein will be gone… we had about 4 or 5 better centers available in FA this year, but I alos know the 2011 draft is likely to have 3 or 4 centers go in the first 3 rounds. Alan Faneca either retires or possibly becomes a asst line coach with Grimm. Reggie Wells |I think is gone, we have HADNOT signed for a few yrs. |Deuce, like u Darren… I believe will get a extension or new contract possibly a 4 or 5 yr deal… and Brandon Keith, like u said; he will have to play well this year to warrant another contract…. or mebbe in the 2011 draft the |CARDS finally get their 10 year LT and Levi goes back to the right side.

    TE’s and WR’s… Anthony Becht has exp. but I believe will be gone. |Ben Patrick must have a good yr. to warrant a extension, but I think is our best option at TE for now. How |Breaston isn’t already under a new contract is crazy… he’s a legit 2WR and is a amazing KR. Doucet had a nice last few games last yr. but needs to still prove a lot b4 we extend him, at least in my mind.

    STRAIGHT UP SIGN BEN GRAHAM, snubbed by Pro Bowl last yr… |Hightower and BEANIE are a great combo, extend the Tower, and Jason Wright only should stick around if he can become a FB.

    |Kenny |Iwebema will be better somewhere else, what has he done here|? B-Rob will also prolly retire, would love to see him coach some DL he can really inspire the young lineman. Alam Branch and |Gabe Watson both will hafta play very well, I believe Watson may not make cut this yr???… cuz |DAN WILLIAMS is gonna be a beast!!!

    Matt Ware and Michael Adams are both nice ins. policies, but I really think a high draft pick at DB is in order in our 2011 draft!

    … Just my thoughts…. THANKS DARREN

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