Cap space and Campbell

Posted by Darren Urban on May 8, 2012 – 11:12 am

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.

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38 Responses to “Cap space and Campbell”

  1. By Jesse on May 8, 2012 | Reply

    I hate that the NFL is run by deadlines…

  2. By AL on May 8, 2012 | Reply


    I heard ex-bengals Saftey Chris Crocker is visiting the Cards. Is this true and why do you think this is so? I guess the Front Office must be pretty sure with the group of linebackers we have to not bring in any more Free Agents.

  3. By Darren Urban on May 8, 2012 | Reply

    Al —

    RE: Crocker

    No reason to think LaCanfora is wrong. Crocker played for the Bengals and DB coach Louie Cioffi. Coaches often like to take looksees at players with whom they are comfortable.

  4. By Chris Hughes on May 8, 2012 | Reply

    Darren ~ So after the draft I would have to say we are not going to bring anyone else in besides possibly Haggans and 3 more undrafted rookies that eventually wont make the cut theyll just get us to our 90 (basically there will be no more Contracts being signed that will go against our Cap besides Haggans). I think Vonnie saw his first and last year in cardinal red. Going foward if this is the case there should be nothing holding the cards back from going all out on resigning Campbell (besides that 2 month deadline). So this tells me we are either waiting for the deadline to approach or we went all out already and Campbell didn’t like our “all out” offer. After wake’s signing that leaves Long and Clemons who should command more money than Campbell but WHY wait until either one get’s a Huge deal done and then Campbell wants the same amount of money putting us deeper in the hole? I understand Campbells production isn’t near Long’s or Clemons but his Team Value is very similar to both. we don’t use campbell the way they use Long and Clemons to get him his numbers and I think Campbell’s side is arguing that point. Basically I think now is the time to push for the contract go off of wakes sign him for a tad less and move on! Or are we going to wait until both Clemons and Longs deals are done thinking that somehow we will lower the money we have to pay campbell?

  5. By Darren Urban on May 8, 2012 | Reply

    Chris Hughes —

    RE: Holliday/Haggans

    My guess is that Haggans and Holliday do have a good chance of coming back. And both would probably get paid the minimum or very little, so it wouldn’t really impact the cap much.

    As for Campbell, you are completely guessing on the scenario. For all you (and I) know Campbell wants to be the highest paid defensive end in the league. Or not. No way to know what the hold-up is, nor which side should be bending.

  6. By Chris Hughes on May 8, 2012 | Reply

    Exactly Jesse! What are we waiting on… I’m worried we are not going to pay him….

  7. By ben on May 8, 2012 | Reply

    Darren do you think that this is another carlos dansby situation where the athlete is so in love with himself that he is just going way overboard on his own value. as i recall dansby went to the highest bidder after two years of jerking the Cards around.
    Just saying maybe he wants to be in miami.
    Last thing. is he really that important to a 3-4 defense or is his true value as a special teamer, its not because he’s a locker good room guy he doesnt come for voluntary stuff.

  8. By Darren Urban on May 8, 2012 | Reply

    Ben —

    RE: Campbell

    First of all, Calais is ALWAYS here for voluntary stuff. That’s changed this year because of his contract situation, but he is one of the guys who is seemingly always around the facility, even in the dead times. As for his importance, he’s a very good player who has the chance to be great still. You can’t just toss those guys aside, regardless of their position. He makes an impact on defense.

    As for Dansby, I don’t know how this will turn out. Calais has told me more than once he wants to be here, and I believe he is genuine. We will see how this plays out. I don’t know what he is asking for nor what the Cards are offering. So it’s impossible to fully analyze why we sit where we are today.

  9. By WhySoSer on May 8, 2012 | Reply

    Darren you guys hiring for anything in digital media? The video portion of the Cardinals website is seriously lagging behind others. I have experience.

  10. By Darren Urban on May 8, 2012 | Reply

    WhySoSer —

    RE: Digital

    No, we are not hiring.

  11. By Kurt on May 8, 2012 | Reply


    What is Kerry Rhodes cap number for this year and into the future?

  12. By Darren Urban on May 8, 2012 | Reply

    Kurt —

    RE: Rhodes

    He has a cap number of $5M this season and $6M next season.

  13. By John on May 8, 2012 | Reply

    If Campbell signs his franchise tender, will the Cardinals be able to sign him to a long term deal shortly thereafter, or is it binding once he signs it?

  14. By Darren Urban on May 8, 2012 | Reply

    John —

    RE: Tender/signing

    They can still sign him to a new deal as long as it is before the July deadline. Otherwise they have to wait until after the season.

  15. By Sir60 on May 8, 2012 | Reply

    How many times has a game been won or lost on the last play of the game? Those that give that great effort are playmakers and you don’t give them up unless they want to leave. I don’t think Campbell wants to leave.

    I’m not worried about it. They will sign him. If NFL contracts go anything like corporate contracts, they are hoping to get him to sign for less and will finally get it done near the deadline.

  16. By Chris Hughes on May 8, 2012 | Reply

    10-4 thanks!

  17. By joe holst on May 8, 2012 | Reply

    Darren, the Cards did not draft a DE nor have any on the horizon. Do you think they are fairly confident the Calais will resign?

  18. By Darren Urban on May 8, 2012 | Reply

    Joe Holst —

    RE: DE

    Well, since he can’t go anywhere while tagged, yes I think they are confident. He was never going to leave.

  19. By Jahstone on May 8, 2012 | Reply


    I truly believe Campbell is more important than Dansby. We need as much pressure as we can get, and let’s not forget that P. Lenon and D. Washington are certainly filling in admirably in his place. C.C. is crucial to our success on D-fense!! If we can get him signed to a 4 year, 40 million ($22 mil guaranteed), then both sides win.

  20. By Scharf on May 8, 2012 | Reply

    Honestly, I thought Campbell was a better player than that. I thought he would show up to start getting in reps with the defense. Starting learning it now rather than later. I mean really, if he sits out most of the offseason because of his contract, he is going to suck this year and I hope he does if he continues to act like this. The Cardinals have given him millions, that right there is a million reasons why I would participate in any activity regarding the team. You know what I could do with that kind of money? Not be lazy and attend camp is 1 thing.

  21. By Darren Urban on May 8, 2012 | Reply

    Scharf —

    RE: Campbell out

    Campbell had a Pro Bowl-type year in 2011 without an offseason. Just sayin’ …

    Can’t take this personally, everyone. This is the business.

  22. By D on May 8, 2012 | Reply

    Just can’t cover story-

    I wonder if DRC would get mad if I sent him this link?

  23. By cardsalltheway on May 8, 2012 | Reply

    NFL’s Turning Tabloid, Turning Tabloid, Turning Tabloid. Did Fitz really say the Saints needed suspensions?
    “Arizona Cardinals’ Larry Fitzgerald: Saints needed suspensions”
    “I think Roger Goodell, our commissioner, had to do something to let everybody know that was not going to be tolerated, and moving forward, this is not something that is going to be acceptable,” Fitzgerald said.”

    I missed the “need suspensions” part?

  24. By ben on May 8, 2012 | Reply

    thanks daarren fellow cardinals fans
    its been a blast routing for this team, and whether or no C.C. is here will not change that. I hope you are right Darren, that he wants to be here. but none the less GO CARDS


  25. By William Barry on May 8, 2012 | Reply

    Lets hope we sign Calais…Lets hope that this does NOT end up like a Karlos Dansby situation!!! Get him signed, we need him for Ray H.’s defense…!!!!

  26. By CreditCard on May 8, 2012 | Reply


    Many articles and posts discuss the tight Cardinal cap limitations. Other NFL teams facing the same issue, or is it a few teams? In your opinion, how did the Card organization accidently or mis-plan future considerations regarding Cap space. Is this a problem with underlying team revenue or simple mis-management / poor planning? Please shed some light — possibly a future article, on how or why the Cap is tight for the Cards, the significance, and how it might be avoided.

    thank you

  27. By Darren Urban on May 8, 2012 | Reply

    CreditCard —

    RE: Salary cap

    Every team faces the cap. Every team isn’t tight against it. It’s not a simple concept. Every team deals with the cap a little differently. Not every team has problems, but to avoid problems you have to be really good — and lucky — in other areas. It means getting rid of some veterans before their use is over, and it means hitting on a lot of young players. Some teams have a lot of cap space, but it’s because they haven’t spent money. The Steelers spent the offseason purging themselves of a lot of veterans because of cap problems.

    The Cards are a good example. In 2010, they spent less because of the uncertainty of the lockout, and they had lots of cap space going into 2011. Then they went out and signed a lot of vets. You can argue, for instance, they pay too much to a Kolb or a Bradley, but that was market rate when they signed them (Kolb wouldn’t have signed a new deal otherwise.)

    The other issue: This year’s cap is impacted greatly on the new CBA, which flattened the cap over the last one. And current contracts were written with raises in mind. Cap space gets eaten quicker.

  28. By Mark G. on May 8, 2012 | Reply

    Darren, which rookies are you most interested in looking at this coming weekend?

  29. By Darren Urban on May 8, 2012 | Reply

    Mark G —

    RE: Rookie camp

    No one in particular. Since I haven’t seen any of them, I am looking forward to seeing them all.

  30. By Steve Lee on May 8, 2012 | Reply

    Calais needs to show up for every training event possible. Tell him I said so. Tell him that’s what a man does regardless of what the union says.

  31. By Darren Urban on May 8, 2012 | Reply

    Steve —

    RE: Showing up

    The union has nothing to do with this. And methinks if you were in his position, you would not think the same way.

  32. By BIG RED on May 8, 2012 | Reply

    Shouldv’e gotten rid of Kolb, that way we’d have more for the signings.

  33. By in fitz we trust on May 8, 2012 | Reply

    hey darren did u recently make those changes to the mobile side of the website ? regarding being able to view the comments??? if so good job, i like. i hated having to open my laptop just to add/read them.

    calais knows hes in his prime and now would be the time to get the big money, i cant blame him for that. knowing the past offers the cardinals have made to there impact players, like dansby, kurt werner, i wouldn’t be suprised if the org. is low balling him. in my opinion, calais has all the leverage and if we don’t bend he could walk. i would hate to see that. lets hope for the best.

  34. By brad oneill on May 8, 2012 | Reply

    the deadline isnt 2 months away, its by rookie camp because if our rookies aren’t signed they aren’t getting to go to camp and that makes them that much less valuable when the season comes. It is reaching the point where not getting this done is hurting the team, the blame is on both sides the players are often called greedy for holding out but the reality is Calais has this contract and maybe one other to take care of him for his entire life. This is his retirement and he has to get the most out of it. Regardless the two sides need to get together and get this done before it starts costing people days of work.

    DEAR WhySoSer,- Next time try this approach when asking about a job. “Hey Darren I love the work you guys do, I have been in digital media for several years and i think I could tweak some of the videos you guys make to be even more dynamic. If you want to see a sample check out this Larry Fitzgerald highlight reel I put together. Anyway if you put me in touch with the editing department I would love to talk shop with them and if you guys ever need someone who knows their way around video editing I would be ecstatic to join the team.”

  35. By brad oneill on May 8, 2012 | Reply

    Dear D- regarding rather DRC would get mad about this story, he might but he sure isnt going to hit you over it.

  36. By Logan Cooper on May 9, 2012 | Reply

    I was just about to right the same thing about whysoser.

    I know your limited to the nature of some of the teams day to day activities, but have you ever been able to sit in film study meetings? Also, do people give coach Whiz a hard time for saying “obviously” as many times as he does?

  37. By Darren Urban on May 9, 2012 | Reply

    Logan, Brad —

    RE: Whysoser

    Guys, I am pretty sure that comment he made was less about wanting a job and more about taking a shot at us for not having more video content.

  38. By Eazy E on May 9, 2012 | Reply

    No not Betty Crocker! I don’t know about this. If we sign him, where will he fit? He would have to play special teams because our starters are elite. He also isn’t great at either run support or coverage, so we’ll see I guess.

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