Let me start by saying this, in the interest of full disclosure: I am a big fan of Steve Breaston, both the player and the person. Maybe more the person. Watching him create his spot in the NFL after very little was expected of him — then-OC Todd Haley admittedly didn’t think Breaston would ever be more than a return man after his fifth-round selection, and I had media friends in Michigan who were leery he could make it on this level — was impressive. I had no doubt he would fill the receiver void left when Anquan Boldin was traded, and I think, even with injuries and uneven-at-best QB play, he has.
But Breaston is scheduled to be a free agent after the season (and assuming the new CBA doesn’t drastically change the free agent process, he’ll be unrestricted). Then Breaston played much less than usual against the Cowboys in lieu of Andre Roberts, and naturally, it raised eyebrows. Kent Somers covers all the ground very well today in a story about the situation.
Breaston’s knee is a concern, clearly. He had his right knee repaired earlier this season after meniscus damage. There have been many weeks he has been limited in practice, and the Cowboys’ game was about not overworking his knee. Breaston also had a right knee issue early in 2009. These things are factors when talking about seven-figure salaries. There is a time crunch here; players can only sign extensions until March 4. That’s when either free agency will start or, if there is not a new CBA by then, free agents go into limbo and cannot sign anything. Like most free agents, the closer a guy gets to the open market, the better chance he will test that market first. CBA uncertainty — and the threat of losing football games (and income) in 2011 — does not help.
I don’t doubt the Cardinals want to keep Breaston. I’m not sure that means making sure he doesn’t test the market. That’s always a major risk; that was the situation with both Antrel Rolle and Karlos Dansby last year, players the Cards did make large offers to but not larger than their current teams. Breaston is the last guy who will ever spout off about such things — earlier this year, Larry Fitzgerald teased Breaston in the locker room in front of the media, trying to get Breaston to say something about his contract, and Steve had zero interest — but you can bet he knows Darnell Dockett got an extension this season and he has not.
It’s impossible to know exactly where this is headed. I know I am hoping Breaston is a Cardinal in 2011. I was hoping I’d be sure about this time of year, but in reality, no one can be.
Tags: Antrel Rolle, free agency, Karlos Dansby, Steve Breaston
Posted in Blog | 57 Comments »