As free agency begins, bring the brown paper bag

Posted by Darren Urban on March 13, 2012 – 4:24 pm

Ninety minutes before free agency began Tuesday came this tweet from the New York Times’ Judy Battista: “Remember to breath into the brown paper bag regularly. FA winners are rarely SB winners.” Better advice was never spoken.

It’s hard in free agency for fans. I get that. Once, when the league (for some reason) was starting free agency at midnight Eastern time (which was usually 10 p.m. here in Arizona) such things got lost at first because, you know, people actually went to bed. This year they moved the time to the middle of the day, which is a brilliant strategy for attention — tell me the NFL isn’t the center of the sports universe today. Add in the match-to-the-dried-forest effect Twitter has on instant news and speculation, and it’s simply insane.

A few hours into free agency, here’s what is known: The Cards are clearly looking at receivers. Multiple reports have them expressing interest in Cowboys receiver Laurent Robinson, who is a 6-foot-2 vertical threat who is planning on visiting the Jaguars. Kent Somers reported that he ran into Raiders receiver Chaz Schilens in the parking lot as he arrived for a visit, another big (6-5) guy who had 23 catches last year. Jim Thomas in St. Louis reported Titans guard Jake Scott — a former Peyton Manning teammate — is going to visit Arizona. Raiders running back Michael Bush said something on Twitter about coming to Arizona, but he just said the place and made no mention of the Cards or a visit, so it’s tough to know if he’s here because it’s Arizona in March or if the Cards actually have interest. (Turns out, Mike Jurecki says, Bush is not visiting.)

The Cards just made the one cut Tuesday to get them under the cap — tackle Levi Brown, as expected — and yes, more could/will come as free agents are signed. No reason to dump a player before you have to dump one. Again, this is all fluid. As it should be.

Then there is the Peyton Manning watch. Again, the Cards are waiting to see what happens. There is a decision to be made Friday by 1 p.m. on Kevin Kolb and if Manning doesn’t choose by then it’ll be very interesting to see what the Cards do. But two days-plus in this equation is an eternity when it’ll take a moment’s notice for Manning to say, “I’m in” or not. A lot can happen between now and Friday.

And no, I don’t have a gut feeling or inside knowledge or anything on Manning. I find it hard to believe anyone does.

UPDATE: CB Richard Marshall said on Twitter Tuesday night he was taking a free-agent visit to Miami.

So keep some perspective, enjoy some of the odd choices being made (an apparent ton of money for Pierre Garcon, along with Josh Morgan and probably Eddie Royal, as the RG3 receiving corps? Really?) and let’s have this play out a little.

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Posted in Blog | 56 Comments »

56 Responses to “As free agency begins, bring the brown paper bag”

  1. By AZ Cardinals Rock on Mar 13, 2012 | Reply

    I was hoping the cards would takea look at Robert Meachem from the saints, think he would make a great duo with Fitz, and he is fairly fast as well as tall. Any inside rumors on possible interest from the inside?????

  2. By Darren Urban on Mar 13, 2012 | Reply

    Az Cardinals —

    RE: Meachem

    Doesn’t sound like it.

  3. By azfaninwa on Mar 13, 2012 | Reply

    I think I’m missing something… If they had to cut Brown just to get under the cap and they still have to sign Campbell, Marshal, a WR, draft picks and tackles… how is a Manning contract even a realistic discussion?

  4. By Darren Urban on Mar 13, 2012 | Reply

    azfan —

    RE: Cap moves

    You can always get creative with contracts. I am sure they have a plan to do so.

  5. By Jzoully on Mar 13, 2012 | Reply

    Jake Scott is the best I have heard to come down, thank goodness we have an offensive lineman coming down. Anymore lineman coming down as far the free agency first day?

  6. By Darren Urban on Mar 13, 2012 | Reply

    Jzoully —

    RE: Visits

    You are as up to date as I am. For immediacy, follow me on Twitter at @cardschatter.

  7. By Ehdee on Mar 13, 2012 | Reply

    Hey Darren,

    I just want to know why the Cardinals wouldn’t be interested in Meachem? Is it a money factor or what? Also who would you like to see come visit or sign? I wouldn’t mind spending a ton of moeny on Grubbs or Nicks to me guards are just as important as tackles aren’t they?


  8. By Darren Urban on Mar 13, 2012 | Reply

    Ehdee —

    RE: Meachem

    Might be money. Maybe they just don’t think he’s as good as Robinson or someone else.

    As for looking at others, they aren’t going to nor have the space to get a high-end G. Starts with PM, goes from there.

  9. By Ron on Mar 13, 2012 | Reply

    I hope we don’t sign Schilens. I live in Northern California and he was injury prone with the Raiders and would be for us. Keep on moving.

  10. By Jzoully on Mar 13, 2012 | Reply

    Marcus McNeill looks like a competitive offensive lineman. Bring him in!!!

  11. By Chris Lewis on Mar 13, 2012 | Reply

    I see your point “azfaninwa”, but I think by cutting Kolb’s big contract, that will free up some money to get Manning, but like you said, we still won’t have a lot left over to get very many quality FAs. I just know that we have to sign Calais Campbell, I’d hate to see him slip away, he’s a BEAST!!! If we don’t get Manning, let’s pray that Kolb will only get better and at least take us to the playoffs. GO BIG RED!!!

  12. By maham on Mar 13, 2012 | Reply

    Daren am I reading into your picture too much? Or have you too caught the manning fever?

    I am surprised his commitment/signing is taking so long. I don’t know why he felt pressured to take these courtesy visits the past couple of days. I think he’s worried about people will talk negatively and trying to point out that he has been in bed with the Cardinals the whole time. I guess it potentially prevents a few conspiracy comments about his Super Bowl dinner with Fitz.

  13. By Darren Urban on Mar 13, 2012 | Reply

    Maham —

    RE: PM decision

    I would like to see the Cards get him, yes. I have always said if he was healthy, I’d like to see him on the team.

    As for taking so long, realistically, I always thought it was actually going to take longer than this. The guy is coming off a major injury.

  14. By Louisville Card on Mar 13, 2012 | Reply

    Darren, isn’t Bush a restricted free agent? Who would you think would be odd man out if they were looking at bush. He would be a great pick up, he’s beanie without the fumble or health issues.

  15. By Darren Urban on Mar 13, 2012 | Reply

    Louisville —

    RE: Bush

    Bush is unrestricted.

  16. By Eric Randall on Mar 13, 2012 | Reply

    They need to cut Bradley, Stuckey and Kolb……Sign Campbell to a long term contract…

  17. By Trevor on Mar 13, 2012 | Reply

    need to sign Campbell, restructure fitztgerlad’s contract as well as Stewart bradley, then cut kolb, after that we will have some good cap space, then pursue robert meachum, some offensive lineman and a outside linebacker and hopefully manning, then in the draft go after either Melvin Ingram or Jonathan martin in the first round.

  18. By Shaun Church on Mar 13, 2012 | Reply

    I love that Jake Scott is visiting. Need to make it more than that. He was the No. 6-rated pass-blocking guard in the NFL in 2011. Peyton would love to have him back blocking for him. Major bait for 18

  19. By Bob Diesel on Mar 13, 2012 | Reply

    You can’t cut Kolb until they know they have Manning. They will Probably franchise CC twice, accept to push Kolb’s cap penalty to next season, cut Bradley, Kolb, either Rhodes or Wilson, and Levi has already been cut.

  20. By Dre 1368 on Mar 13, 2012 | Reply

    I think Chaz would be great fit for the cards tall fast big i said it a month ago less expansive with Roberts in the slot and fitz he needs a new home and change for the good

  21. By AndyStandsUp on Mar 13, 2012 | Reply

    I thought Kolb had to be cut by Saturday, the 17th, in order to void his signing bonus. Is it because the league office is closed on weekends or because Kevin is part Irish?
    And what the hell is “colloquial”?

    And who the hell is Chaz Schilens? Isn’t he a possesion receiver, much like the team already has? Please tell me Cards are not going to lead off their FA period with Chaz Schilens.

  22. By Scott H on Mar 13, 2012 | Reply

    Can’t help feeling that the Dolphins trading away Brandon Marshall today could be significant here. With him gone, what do they now need? A top flight WR. And who just happens to be available as a FA? Reggie Wayne. And who would Manning probably LOVE to be re-united with? Reggie Wayne. It makes sense…just sayin.

    PM is now visiting another team tomorrow. That takes up another day. And for the Cardinals, the number of days left until they gotts decide is rapidly dwindling. One more friggin team enters the fray, and we could get bumped right out of this thing. That Kolb roster bonus date is looming as a real pain in the butt right now. These other teams can wait. We can’t.

  23. By Paul H on Mar 13, 2012 | Reply

    I’m hallucinating. I’ve read more twitter entry’s in 2 days than I did in 2 years. Peyton, please decide soon and make it AZ.

  24. By Rich on Mar 13, 2012 | Reply

    I hope Marshall doesn’t go.

  25. By TSHIF on Mar 13, 2012 | Reply

    -all fans

    Campbell is franchised so he isnt going anywhere. He will be negotiated with until the long term deal is done. With as much money that we spent in FA last season did you guys expect us to have as much cap as we did last year? Big name free agents is something this organization has rarely done. With a guy like Robinson or Chilens in a balanced offense can strive. Robinson had a huge year last year an would be an upgrade to any receiver we have… Well accept for 1 guy. If we get a big name this year fans it will be PM if not him then look for our team to make improvements if possible. You sign a guy and cut a guy for cap, its how the business works. Our team will be looking great next year will some minor improvements and some good draft pics.

  26. By wayne on Mar 13, 2012 | Reply


    Why would the Cardinals bring in RB Michael Bush for a visit, when the team has much more pressing needs? OLB, Tackle and WR and not Chaz Schilens, he’s never healthy and would be a drastic downgrade from what he have or had, I do like Robinson, he could open up the middle of the field with his speed and size.

    Thanks, Wayne

  27. By Darren Urban on Mar 13, 2012 | Reply

    Wayne –

    RE: Bush

    As I mentioned, we weren’t sure why he was in Arizona and it turns out he was apparently here for a visit.

  28. By John on Mar 13, 2012 | Reply

    Do you see it as a good idea that Peyton’s receivers go to other teams so that it limits his options and team options? I see as good as Elway can’t drop a bunch of cash and grab someone.

  29. By Darren Urban on Mar 13, 2012 | Reply

    John –

    RE: Peyton “receivers”

    As I said, I don’t have a food idea of what will impact Peyton.

  30. By John the Draft Guy on Mar 13, 2012 | Reply

    you said it Darren, it sounds like the brown paper bags need to be broken out.

    FA begins and ends around Peyton. The rest of the FA’s brought in are going to be 2nd and 3rd tier guys like Jake Scott and Chaz Schilens.

    Funny about Robinson being cut and looking for a team last year and now is highly sought after.

    Take a moment and think about last years team. Up and down QB play, a poor start by a learning defense, inconsistant play by any WR not named Fitz,, and 2 tackles who struggled against speed rushers.

    Now Peyton solves the QB problem, The defense could use another edge rusher and get Marshall back but will pick up where they left off, adding another wr like Schilens or Robinson into a mix of Sampson. Roberts, and Williams and a 3rd to 5th round draft pick., and the Tackle issue would be taken care of with a 1st round pick and a guy like Winston or even Brown coming back to play RT.

    Besides Manning, the rest is not flashy, but that is a team that can win the west and possibly go to the SB. Ease up on Mario Williams or Carl Nicks’s of the world. We will be just fine if our only splash in FA is Manning.
    After all, that is a huge splash.

  31. By CaliCard on Mar 13, 2012 | Reply


    I read somewhere the Cards elected to carry over only 2 million out of a possible 7 million unspent from last year’s cap space. What do you think is behind leaving 5 million on the table?

  32. By Darren Urban on Mar 13, 2012 | Reply

    Calicard –

    RE: carrying cap space

    I haven’t had a chance to ask if it was true or why that would be.

  33. By BIG RED on Mar 13, 2012 | Reply

    The Cards even if they don’t get Manning, should try to get Orton and still let go of Mr. injury prone Kolb.

  34. By Thomas77 on Mar 13, 2012 | Reply

    I really don’t mean to be a downer or pessimist here, but…
    I believe Peyton Manning was attracted to AZ and probably wants to play here. But I don’t think he wants to play in the NFC. Just look at the teams he’s shown any kind of interest in. He has given, what appears to be, no consideration for any other NFC team other than the Cardinals. All other teams he’s been legitimately linked with are AFC. His interest in the Broncos seems to me to be largely based on their sales pitch. They probably made a very good case and have alot of cap space to accomodate any personnel requests he might have. However, I don’t think he’s completely sold on them yet either. If he was, he wouldn’t be entertaining other offers. Initially, every NFL insider worth their salt said he was gonna make a decision by Tuesday, following the visits from this past weekend…now, he’s stalling and talking with other teams. I think AZ has fallen from favor. I don’t believe the Dolphins are in it at all. But I do think a case could be made for Tennessee….

    In the end, I could be wrong. But if I’m not. The flip side of that coin would be that we have plenty of cap space to go after a better O-Line. Which, I believe, would help our current QB’s drastically. I’d still see us as legit NFC West title contenders.

  35. By in fitz we trust on Mar 13, 2012 | Reply

    why the heck is richard marshall going to talk to miami!!! if he was our so called mvp on defense why havent we locked him up!!!! this is bs…

  36. By Javi on Mar 13, 2012 | Reply

    is mario manningham still an option?

  37. By Darren Urban on Mar 14, 2012 | Reply

    Javi —

    RE: Manningham

    Don’t know if he was ever an option, especially if is looking for the kind of money that was speculated about.

  38. By David on Mar 13, 2012 | Reply

    Excited about Laurent Robison possibly visiting. Unsurprised that we would take a visit from a right guard, but perplexed as what we are going to do for tackles.

    Is D.J. Young or Batiste ready for a bigger role, or are we going for broke to trade up to #3 for Kalil?

    Does Manning want someone specific and we are waiting on him to decide?

  39. By Darren Urban on Mar 14, 2012 | Reply

    David —

    RE: Manning specific

    I don’t know if he wants anyone in particular. There is an element of waiting for Manning, however.

  40. By pedsazfan on Mar 13, 2012 | Reply

    I agree. Why hasn’t richard marshall been a priority? Guys who are important to the team could slip away while we are waiting for PM to decide. I am as excited about PM, I just hope we don’t lose the pieces of success what we built last year.

  41. By Darren Urban on Mar 14, 2012 | Reply

    pedsazfan —

    RE: Marshall

    I think Marshall is a priority. But he has Drew Rosenhaus for an agent, and I am guessing they wanted to try and drive up his price rather than re-signing before FA.

  42. By in fitz we trust on Mar 14, 2012 | Reply

    hey darren, whats this beanie wells trade stuff going around to cleveland ??? rumors???

  43. By Darren Urban on Mar 14, 2012 | Reply

    In Fitz —

    RE: Beanie

    There isn’t any Beanie trade stuff.

  44. By Brandon on Mar 14, 2012 | Reply

    Darren do you think that the cardinals might have a look at tracy porter?
    also do you know what state larry will be coming to visit in Austalia?

  45. By Darren Urban on Mar 14, 2012 | Reply

    Brandon —

    RE: Porter

    I don’t expect a corner in free agency unless Marshall leaves. I don’t know where Larry is going.

  46. By cardsalltheway on Mar 14, 2012 | Reply

    ESPN’s Adam Schefter says Peyton Manning is more likely to go to Denver or Tennessee because of their coaching. Hmmm, who’d of thunk it? We lose out because of Ken W., surprise! Not.

  47. By Scott H on Mar 14, 2012 | Reply

    Feels like this team can’t do anything until it either lands PM or doesn’t. Meanwhile, FA’s are dropping off the available list left and right – particularly the WR’s, which seems like our biggest need. Why does this feel like another lousy off-season in the making? But, hey, at least Chaz Shilens visited our parking lot…

    Hate to say it but given how they are approaching this thing, it looks like we either win the lottery with Manning ( MAYBE, if the guy can actually still play for a few more years ) or we are scrambling to pick up whatever scraps may be leftover. Kinda sobering to think that whoever signs Manning will probably do so WITHOUT EVEN WORKING HIM OUT. Manning ONLY makes us better IF he is physically good to go. How do we even know if he is or isn’t???

    Last year, waiting on Kolb…

    This year, waiting on Manning…

    Meanwhile, so many other teams – including those in our division – are off and running with several players already signed, several areas of need already addressed. Why does it seem like our planning / organization just isn’t what it shoule be?

  48. By clssylssy on Mar 14, 2012 | Reply

    I was also hoping that the Cards would get Meacham from the Saints …same song different day but here we go again! There is a lot of talent out there and Iit’s frustrating to see us sit by while these players get snapped up knowing it could be the difference between a Superbowl run and another “almost made it to the finals” year. Looking around our division we seem to be the paupers…or the cheapskates… and I have to wonder how these other organizations manage to excel in “creative finance”. Maybe we need to draft a financial manager to get us in the race with the big boys.
    How were they planning to pay Manning? If we supposedly could afford him let’s move on and spend that money on quality FA’s that will get the job done with our exisiting quality players. What’s the story on Brandon Marshall?. This year’s free agency has more talent than any year so why are’t we shopping in the grown-up section? Inquiring minds want to know Darren:)

  49. By Darren Urban on Mar 14, 2012 | Reply

    Clssy —

    RE: FA moves

    Someone — Clayton maybe — reported the Cards topped the NFL in cash outlay. The team is chasing Peyton Manning, which isn’t going to be a bargain. They are near the top of the salary cap. Yet because they didn’t sign a free agent on the first day, they are cheapskates.

    Not sure what to say to you.

  50. By johnnybluenose on Mar 14, 2012 | Reply

    what will be, will be and thankfully this whole peyton manning dog and pony show will soon be over. i really think manning will probably be asking for more than it would be wise for our guys to spend. after all, everyone knows that there are other players to be signed too. it concerns me a bit that we may be missing out on other opportunities to improve our team while we await manning’s decision. i’m still not sure i want him to come here but, at the same time, if i’m peyton manning, there is only one place i would want to come and that is ARIZONA.

  51. By clssylssy on Mar 14, 2012 | Reply

    …not much to say I guess. Meacham gone, Marshall gone, I hear the SEAHAWKS are going after Mario Williams. That old saying about striking while the iron is hot had to be in reference to the football free agency!
    I would be willing to bet that Manning is not coming to Arizona because we can’t afford him. What frustrates me most is watching the competition (Seahawks and 9ers) build their teams while we are in a holding pattern. I read that we were OVER the cap except for our share of the penalty money from the Skins and Cowboys. How do the Seahawks and 9ers have so much money? I know that last year the Cards supposedly had the highest payroll in the NFL ($119M) but prior to the Fitz deal and the Kolb deal we went years paying next to nothing. What kind of “creative finance” have the Seahawks, 9ers, and Rams got going? I think we have some great players and just want to see them on a level playing field against some big guns. It seems I am not the only one who is frustrated so, what will be will be and I’ll continue to support my Cards win or lose…

  52. By Darren Urban on Mar 14, 2012 | Reply

    clssy —

    RE: “Next to nothing”

    See, again, there is the misinformation.

    Yes, in 2010 the Cards cut payroll considerably as the lockout approached. But the five years before that they spent near the cap every year.

    Could they get more creative? Probably. Have they made bad decisions? Sure. Every team has. But this idea that they never spend, is, frankly, lazy commenting. It’s not true. I know you’re going to say ‘You work for the team, etc.’ but ask Kent Somers. Ask Mike Jurecki. They will back this notion that it’s not about spending.

    The Packers haven’t gotten a “splash” free agent since current GM Ted Thompson got in charge a few years ago. They never “strike when the iron is hot.” How’s that worked out for them? How about Master Striker Dan Snyder in Washington? He wins free agency every year.

  53. By cards62 on Mar 14, 2012 | Reply

    Interesting period and interesting points being made.

    I of course am still hoping for Manning. He solves our QB and Offensive Coordinator openings with one move if healthy.

    I wonder who Cardinal Fans would rather see us sign at RT if the money is the same. Brown or Winston

    I of course do not know all of the NFL rules, but I do not understand how the Cowboys and Redskins are in trouble for overspending during an uncapped time period. I thought it was uncapped ha ha. Couple of you have brought up the point that we could have moved $ 5 million in salaries last year, which would give us $ 5 million more this year. It will be interesting to see if true and if so why we dropped the ball.

    Remember everyone C. Campbell top 5 pay funds are in our cap numbers right now
    so if we sign him long term it can gain us more cap room. I think CC is waiting on seeing if we sign Peyton so that he can structure his deal to help the team, but also get more money long term for himself.

    Go Cardinals and Rod Graves you are on the clock.

  54. By azfancolo on Mar 14, 2012 | Reply

    Good ol’ cardsalltheway doing his whiz bash let it go already

  55. By clssylssy on Mar 15, 2012 | Reply

    In light of the monstrously outrageous contracts that have been given this past week, do you foresee the league putting any kind of a “cap” on positions in the foreseeable future or will player salaries continue to escalate out of control making it impossible to achieve a level playing field for all teams? I think all fans see ticket prices rise to the point where it’s not affordable to be season ticket holders for a family. When I say, “next to nothing” even the contracts given to Fitz and KK last year pale in comparison to the ones this week given to Williams, Chris Johnson, and Nicks…and, in my opinion, these players are no better than some of our guys. After the league’s accusations and penalties against the Redskins, Cowboys, Saints, and Raiders, it does seem a little hypocritical, plus the media is reporting all these “incentives…lifetime contract, partial ownership, etc (I know that is not allowed) to PM, which smells like corruption. What are your feelings on this subject because clearly the Cards don’t have a shot at the “highrollers club”?

  56. By Darren Urban on Mar 15, 2012 | Reply

    Clssy —

    RE: Contracts

    Man, you are all over the place. One day, the Cards are cheap, now the league isn’t controlling salaries.

    That’s what the lockout was for, to control costs. But the bottom line is the league makes A LOT of money and the CBA is set up so the players, deservedly so, get a big chunk of that. Wait until 2015 when the new TV contract kicks in and the salary cap skyrockets.

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