Considering change

Posted by Darren Urban on March 7, 2011 – 11:29 am

One faithful reader e-mailed me this weekend, asking for details on restricted free-agency rules and what it would mean to have tendered more of the possible restricted guys. His concern was the amount of turnover there could be on the roster.

A quick recap: Seven players were tendered RFA offers. Of those, four have already played four NFL seasons, meaning if the new collective bargaining agreement reverts back to its pre-2010 form as it regards to free agency, the tender offers will not matter and those players (Breaston, Lutui, Sendlein, Branch) will be unrestricted. Bringing them all back in that scenario is not a lock by any stretch.

There’s also the analysis of the rest of the list and those RFAs who weren’t tendered, which will make them UFAs when a new CBA is reached — guys like Ben Patrick (a four-year guy) and Stephen Spach at tight end, Kenny Iwebema at defensive end and cornerback/special teamer Michael Adams. I’d expect some of them to come back, although not all. It’s impossible to know what the salary comparisons were to tender or not to tender because that is all TBD with the new CBA.

Regardless, there is potential for major roster change. That probably shouldn’t be a shock after a 5-11 season. Churning the bottom of the roster always is possible after every season, and with so many free-agents-to-be NFL-wide, it may be even more likely this offseason (once the CBA is determined). What that will mean specifically for the Cards is impossible to know. They’ve already plotted out free agency — they, like every team, needed to be ready by last weekend when free agency was originally supposed to start — and have players targeted. Does that mean current players would be on the backburner in case replacements are signed? Sure it could. It will also be interesting to see the demand on certain lower-tier players in a flooded market.

UPDATE: Bob in the comments has asked me to explain tender offers. In a nutshell, a tender offer to a restricted free agent gives teams the right of first refusal or at least compensation for a player if he leaves. For instance, take tendered Tim Hightower. We don’t know exactly what level he was tendered, but for the sake of argument, let’s say he was tendered at a second-round level. That means, for a set salary (last year it was in the  ballpark of $2 million, if I recall correctly) the Cards hold his rights. If Hightower signs as a free agent elsewhere, the Cards have two options: Match the contract he signed, or let Hightower go and receive a second-round pick in return. If he didn’t sign anywhere else, he can sign the tender offer for the scheduled salary (or, in theory, sign a long-term deal).

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33 Responses to “Considering change”

  1. By D on Mar 7, 2011 | Reply

    Agree-but with Faneca being his age, Deuce and Lyle maybe able to sign else where and Keith too, why would AZ risk having most of the line change-we all know without the O-Lineman being used to each other, Beanie and Hightower can’t expect to do any better next year…

  2. By Darren Urban on Mar 7, 2011 | Reply

    D —

    RE: Keith/Kolb

    1) Keith isn’t going anywhere. He’s restricted.

    2) Are the Cards considering Kolb? I think it’s been well established they are at least mulling the possibility. Doesn’t mean anything will happen.

  3. By D on Mar 7, 2011 | Reply

    Are one of these teams AZ???
    @Adam_Schefter Hard to pinpoint specific teams interested in Kevin Kolb, but every NFC West team except St. Louis has to consider him and deal with Eagles. 20 minutes ago

    @Adam_Schefter Teams still can discuss deals, just can’t complete them (like NBA in June). At least three teams debating deals for Eagles QB Kevin Kolb. 32 minutes ago

  4. By Bob Ellis on Mar 7, 2011 | Reply

    Please help me understand where this leaves the team with Hightower. He was tendered a contract, but does not have 4 years in. Does this mean the teams has assigned a draft pick for him? What if he doesn’t like the tender offer, what can he do? What happens if another teams wants him?
    Thanks for the help in understanding tender offers.

  5. By Darren Urban on Mar 7, 2011 | Reply

    Bob Ellis —

    RE: What tenders mean

    I will update the post above.

  6. By JOHN on Mar 7, 2011 | Reply


    Is there any chance of picking up TE Donald Lee? I think he’s ok and maybe a step up for ben patrick and stephen spach.

  7. By Darren Urban on Mar 7, 2011 | Reply

    John —

    RE: Lee

    Haven’t heard. We will see when the CBA is resolved.

  8. By D on Mar 7, 2011 | Reply

    Your right..if CBA gets done this week and we have FA next weeek, AZ could compete with SF for Kolb for compensation, because I don’t think they will give up the #7 pick. But, the other team that may give up a first rounder this year and land him would be MN…probably will all mean nothing and he stays in Philly

  9. By Bill L on Mar 7, 2011 | Reply

    Re-tooling is required. Hopefully SOMEONE has a plan, other than what ever Fitz wants. QB and OL have to be given priority. That mean they can’t be giving up 1st and/or 2nd picks for Kolb. This year they have to re-build the OL. Hopefully somebody can evaluate OL and someone can turn the top 3 or 4 picks into something like Castonzo and Sherrod……bookend TACKLES for the future. Then get lucky and Luck, Jones and Barkley come out next year and the Cards atleast get a choice of #2 or #3…..or, someone else who steps up….or REALLY LUCKY. QB, LT will be taken care of. If they can also get an outside pass rusher in 2012 then the top 3 needs of any team will have been taken care of. Miller would be VERY nice this year, but whoever is responsible for the current MESS made that a step to far/early. God save us from another Brown and whoever wanted him.

  10. By Brandon on Mar 7, 2011 | Reply

    Hope they do everything they can to bring back Stevie B. If not Fitz will see tons of double coverage without a real #2 to take advantage..

  11. By Ottis Anderson Fan on Mar 7, 2011 | Reply

    Interesting how major roster changes in 2010 are going to result in the need for major roster changes in 2011. Not sure that worked out so well in 2010.

  12. By Ottis Anderson Fan on Mar 7, 2011 | Reply

    …meaning they should have found a way to keep Q and Dansby.

  13. By Jon L. on Mar 7, 2011 | Reply

    I really hope that the cards pick up Patrick Peterson. Having watched some of his games and seeing his ability to shut down receivers I really think he would be a great addition. Darren, who needs a good pass rush when you have three corners that are good and the opponents receivers never get open.

  14. By Darren Urban on Mar 7, 2011 | Reply

    Jon L —

    RE: Pass rush

    I’d argue it’s more important to have a good pass rush than good corners, if you have to pick and choose. With no pass rush, I don’t care if you have Revis, Nnamdi and Champ Bailey, teams will find ways to pass against you.

  15. By Jerry on Mar 7, 2011 | Reply

    I dont understand all the mumblejumble being fairly new football after 46 years of my life but whatever happens Cards has my support to whoever we get and whoever stays to rebuild are team to be winners

  16. By bluepitt on Mar 7, 2011 | Reply


  17. By Chris Lewis on Mar 7, 2011 | Reply

    This past season was so frustrating to watch in almost every aspect, but I want to touch on the RB situation. I like both Hightower and Beanie, and I think we can utilize them both at the same time in some situations. I like Beanie as our feature back, and he’ll be a pro bowler if he can find a way to hold onto the ball. I’d like to see Hightower run more outside plays and utilize his speed instead of running up the middle, which is Beanie’s forte. More importantly, I think we should use Hightower like we did 2 or 3 years ago as a receiver. He was great as a receiver on short yardage plays when he first came into the league. That’s only going to give our offense another weapon, similar to Roger Craig and Marshall Faulk, and as a result it’s going to make our offense more dynamic. I just don’t like the way we used them both last year, as neither one were really able to excel and utilize their strengths. I would appreciate any feedback from Darren or any other fan.

  18. By Darren Urban on Mar 7, 2011 | Reply

    Chris Lewis —

    RE: Backs

    I think the offense was on the field so little last year you can argue everyone was underutilized.

  19. By tyman on Mar 7, 2011 | Reply

    The O-line has tobe a huge concern. With the running game being the only real upside of our offence last year. Hopfully we can lock some of the line long term. Faneca is still one of the best pulling guards in the leage. I hope hell come back. All in all there is a ton of concern that the teams going to fall apart soon. Hightower had a good year, despite fumbles he looked like a top 10 back in the nfl. If we loose him, Wells is good but does he have the ability to last the whole season. It will be interesting to see what happens. And who will the Qb be next year? thats the big question.

  20. By seven q on Mar 7, 2011 | Reply

    Kolb can save us!!!!!!!!! then build a line around him!!!!

  21. By ross on Mar 7, 2011 | Reply

    Hightower is a star. Ask Darren, I know these things. Beanie can be a star, he just has to stay healthy and run hard like he does when he wants to. Timmy plus a healthy and focused beanie and a bottle of stickem would be close to best tandem in the league. How’s that Darren?

  22. By VS-Cardinals on Mar 7, 2011 | Reply

    Pardon the interuption but why is Derrick Anderson still on the roster ?

  23. By Chuck 1 on Mar 7, 2011 | Reply

    Jon L,

    BINGO, Darren,

    When an NFL QB has all the time that he needs because he is getting no pressure from the front three or LBs, you can have All-World DBs and the they won’t be able to cover NFL receivers indefinitely.

  24. By former AZ.resident on Mar 7, 2011 | Reply

    Darren what if the cards were to trade down to get more picks which team do you think they would trade with if they decide they need more to fill some needs on both side of the ball?
    Because of the player that they can’t resign and if the cba won’t work out?

  25. By Darren Urban on Mar 7, 2011 | Reply

    Former Az —

    RE: Trade partners

    That’s the ultimate hypothetical. I have no idea.

  26. By brad oneill on Mar 7, 2011 | Reply

    i would also like to see beanie and hightower on the field together at the same time especially on third and short. I know its a bit of a misuse of his talents but i think beanie is powerful enough to be a fullback in some situations.

    imagine 3rd and 1 with beanie and tim both in the backfield. is beanie going to punch through the middle is timmy going to take it to the outside. or will beanie punch a hole for tim in the middle? add cam newton to that mix and the defense would be in big trouble!!!! he he he….

    we all know ken is going to call a pass behind the line of scrimmage in that situation. ok sorry, i will let it go i swear.

  27. By Daniel Christensen on Mar 8, 2011 | Reply


    Do you think they are going to sign breaston and fitz again?

  28. By Darren Urban on Mar 8, 2011 | Reply

    Daniel —

    RE: Fitz/Breaston

    I do think Fitz will eventually sign an extension. We will see on Breaston.

  29. By tyman on Mar 8, 2011 | Reply

    Daren I keep hearing you talk about pass rush. Do you not think the problem last year had more to do with the scheme than it did with the athletes on D we have? Thats how i see it. And there are not a ton of elite pass rushers in the NFL, so its a gamble in the first to pick a LB so high. Those guys most often are the busts of drafts. We have to good corners in DRC and Toler, but to add an all-star slot corner is what I think you need to stop the spread. I see where you are coming from though, loosing Berry was huge. I agree that we need an edge rusher that can dip the shoulder, but more than anything we need to confuse the other teams line. I think Joey, Haggens, Davis, and some of the other young LBs we have are some of the best at playing a system. If you list to the new d coach, he said the steelers where not the most talented on D but they played within the system. Pick 5 in the draft we need the best player on the board, go back to the dennis green days and make sure you get tallent whiz!

  30. By Darren Urban on Mar 8, 2011 | Reply

    Tyman —

    RE: Pass rush/scheme

    No, I don’t see it that way.

    You are right, there are not a ton of elite pass rushers, so I flip your comment — if you have a chance to get one, you need to try and get one. Is Miller, for example, a risk? Yes. So is Gabbert/Peterson/Quinn etc. No one know if these guys will pan out.

    I like Berry, but losing him was not huge — he was no longer an impact pass rusher. They haven’t had one. And with all due respect to coach Horton, I’d think to say Woodley and Harrison are simply products of a scheme isn’t correct.

  31. By carlo7000 on Mar 8, 2011 | Reply

    would you trade beanie wells for carson palmer and a 3th round pick???

  32. By Darren Urban on Mar 8, 2011 | Reply

    Carlo —

    RE: Palmer trade

    Not sure the Bengals are going to want anything but picks if they decide to deal Palmer.

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