Fits as (potential) free agents

Posted by Darren Urban on February 27, 2014 – 11:37 am

With “official” talks with free agents allowed March 8 and actually agreements allowed March 11, the time when teams will actually be able to start finalizing such things is still more than a week away. Players are dropping off the “He’s going to be a free agent” list daily, like with the litany of Philadelphia Eagles who have signed extensions the past couple of days. That can still happen to any of these potential free agents being talked about.

It hasn’t cooled the speculation, however. Greg Bedard of’s MMQB ranked the top 100 free-agents-to-be and also listed what he thought would be the best fits. The Cardinals find themselves mentioned a few times.

— The only current Cardinal scheduled to be a free agent that made the list was linebacker Karlos Dansby. He was at No. 34. Not surprisingly, Bedard’s call for Dansby’s best fit was remaining with the Cardinals. I agree with that. Not only does the system best fit Karlos, but so does his working relationship next to Daryl Washington.

— There are three left tackles on the list from other teams: Kansas City’s Branden Albert (No. 7), Baltimore’s Eugene Monroe (No. 8) and Cincinnati’s Anthony Collins (No. 60). For both Albert and Collins, the Cardinals are listed as the best fit and the Cards are also noted for Monroe along with Miami. Obviously the Cardinals would sign more than one, but it’s obvious to the NFL world this team should be a landing spot for at least one. It will definitely be one of the more intriguing storylines of that first week (or less) of free agency.

— Packers DE/OLB Mike Neal was 95th on the list and the Cards were called his best fit. Neal’s name has already been floated as a potential Arizona target. It makes all the sense in the world if Matt Shaughnessy leaves as a free agent.

— In the most surprising post, for Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew, 57th on the list, the Cards are called the best fit. I get it with the possibility free agent Rashard Mendenhall might not return. But the way Bruce Arians and Steve Keim think about running backs, and with Ryan Williams and Stepfan Taylor still around along with Andre Ellington (and we aren’t even talking about someone popping up draft-wise) I don’t see the Cards even thinking about a guy like MJD. Or more specifically, his price tag.


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32 Responses to “Fits as (potential) free agents”

  1. By Darrel on Feb 27, 2014 | Reply

    Darren what about Jared veldheer from the raiders ?

  2. By Darren Urban on Feb 27, 2014 | Reply

    Darrel —

    RE: Veldheer

    He was not listed.

  3. By birdgangrising on Feb 27, 2014 | Reply

    “Or more specifically, his price tag.”

    Bingo. I think the Cards would love to have MJD on hand to supplement Ellington. Can you imagine them splitting carries and having a fresh MJD down the stretch for a playoff push? But there’s no reason to pay him what he’ll probably command in the market for the more limited role he’d have here.

  4. By Big Ken on Feb 27, 2014 | Reply

    Brandin Cooks at pick number 20. He set a record at the combine in the 60 yard shuttle.

  5. By John The Draft Guy on Feb 27, 2014 | Reply


    This sheds some light on Mike Neil. It says he shed 20 pounds and is now 270. That is a little better than the 6’3″ 295 pound 3-4 DE I thought he was trying to play OLB.

    MJD wouldn’t be a bad pick up. But I see him stealing too many carries away from Ellington. I really agree that a RB is not needed.

    There are a lot of FA Strong safeties. Interesting if the cards wait one out and sign after draft. Although this is a good draft for safeties starting with Calvin Pryor.

    I think if we came out of the FA with two main signings, I would be happy going into the draft. Anthony Collins and Karlos Dansby.

    Then, to see Anthony Barr drop to 20 (which could happen), that would be icing on the cake,

  6. By Big Ken on Feb 27, 2014 | Reply

    I get the feeling Keim has put an offer on the table for Dansby. If he tests free agency it will be interesting to see if he signs right away. It kind of looks like his buddys Calvin Pace and Antonio Smith might on the market too. Lets bring all three back with one year deals $. A reunion of sorts.

  7. By Darren Urban on Feb 27, 2014 | Reply

    Big Ken —

    RE: Dansby

    I’d be shocked if there was not an offer on the table already. We’ll see how it plays out.

  8. By Big Ken on Feb 27, 2014 | Reply

    The Raiders have a big pile of cap space. There’s no way Veldheer gets away from them.

  9. By Big Ken on Feb 27, 2014 | Reply

    Oh yeah and of course Mr. Dockett humbly accepts a contract restructure just because he wants to hang with the boys and be part of the crew. Float this one past Keim.

  10. By Scharf on Feb 27, 2014 | Reply

    I did a double take at the headline. I thought I read “‘Fitz as “Potential” Free Agent”. Don’t do that to me Darren! lol

  11. By joe holst on Feb 27, 2014 | Reply

    Todd Bowles put Karlos Dansby in the best position to make plays so Karlos needs to understand that part of his success is because of Todd . So he needs to resign. Shaunnesy looks slow in pass coverage and had a holding penalty during the philly game that’s cost Arizona the game. Let him go.

  12. By D on Feb 27, 2014 | Reply

    My list may not fit in the budget:

    1- Collins OT
    2- Dansby LB
    3- Neal DE
    4- Gano K
    5- Clemons FS
    6- T. Ginn WR/KR

    Resign-Winston, Ta’mu, Benard, Ballard

  13. By Buck on Feb 27, 2014 | Reply

    I think that both Albert and Collins have lost time in each of the last two years because of injuries. Does it make sense to pay big LT free agent money to someone who gets injured each year?

  14. By Ottis Anderson Fan on Feb 27, 2014 | Reply

    Mike Neal has had way too many injuries with the Pack and has been a major disappointment. There’s a reason the Pack are letting him test the waters. I wouldn’t guarantee him anything other than the league minimum but rather give him incentives based on performance and availability.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Pack pick up Shaughnessy. He will be reasonably priced, the Pack has lots of cap room and are in desperate need of pass rushers.

  15. By Darren Urban on Feb 27, 2014 | Reply

    Ottis —

    RE: Shaughnessy

    If he is reasonably priced, why wouldn’t the Cardinals re-sign him?

  16. By Andy Kw on Feb 27, 2014 | Reply

    We do not need OT Anthony Collins, K Graham Gano, or WR/KR Ted Ginn Jr. With our $15.2 million cap space, we need to sign players wisely. Gano is not better than K Jay Feely, Ted Ginn Jr has fumble issues, and Anthony Collins is an overrated Offensive Tackle. OLB Mike Neal is okay but not as talented as Shaughnessy. I would love to see OT Eric Winston return but we should give RT Bobby Massie a chance.
    (I know nothing of Guaranteed Money)
    STEP 1: Resign Key Players
    We need to resign some of our players first: ILB Karlos Dansby, LB Marcus Benard, DE Frostee Rucker and TE Jake Ballard.
    -Resign K. Dansby to a 3yr $8.5 million contract (split: 2014 ($3 million) 2015 ($2.75 million) 2016 ($2.75 million))
    -Resign Marcus Benard to a 2yr $1.5 million contract (split: 2014 ($500K) 2015 ($1 million))
    -Resign TE Jake Ballard to a 1yr $1.25 million contract
    -Resign DE Frostee Rucker to a 2yr $3 million (Split: 2014 ($2 million) 2015($1.5 million)
    -DT Alemeda Ta’amu will be signed to an Exclusive Rights Contract (ER)
    (We should still have around $8 million left in Cap Space to sign other players)

    STEP 2: Cuts
    -If we cut ILB Jaspar Brinkley and OG Daryn Colledge which will allow the Cards to save around $4.5 million for the cap, bringing our leftover cap to around $12 million.

    STEP 3: Restructure Contracts:
    ILB Daryl Washington, QB Carson Palmer, & DT Darnell Dockett. (This should would give our 2014 Cap another $6-7 million boost, making our Cap left over a little less than $19 million)

    STEP 4: Sign Key Free Agents
    -Sign OT Branden Albert to a 3yr $7.5 million contract (Split: 2014 ($3 million) 2015 ($2.5 million) 2016 ($2 million))
    -Sign SS Chris Clemons to a 2yr $4.5 million contract (Split: 2014 ($2 million) 2015 ($2.5 million))
    -Sign DB Sergio Brown to a 1yr $800K contract
    -Sign WR/KR Dexter McCluster to a 4yr $10 million contract (Split: 2014 ($4 million) 2015 ($3 million) 2016 ($1.5 million) 2017 ($1.5 million))
    (We should still have a little less than $13 million left in cap space to sign other FA)

    STEP 5: Contract Extensions
    -Sign CB Patrick Peterson to a 4yr $40 million contract, with optional 5th year (split: 2014 (no cap hit) 2015 ($5 million) 2016 ($12 million) 2017 ($13 million) 2018 ($10 million)
    (We should have that $13 million in cap space to sign other FA because Patrick Peterson can have the payment in the later seasons and the Cards can avoid the cap hit for the 2014 season)

    STEP 6: Sign other FA
    -Sign CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to a 2yr $7 million contract (Split: 2014 ($4 million) 2015 ($3 million)
    -Resign OLB Matt Shaughnessy to a 1yr $2.25 million contract
    -Resign K Jay Feely to a 2yr $4 million contract (Split: 2014 ($2.5 million) 2015 ($1.5 million)
    -Resign TE Jim Dray to a 1yr $800K contract
    (Leave the rest of the money to sign Rookies)


  17. By Big Ken on Feb 27, 2014 | Reply

    With all the depth at Wide Receiver in this years draft, why extend an offer to a free agent like Ginn or McCluster? Lets just draft a couple of speedsters.

  18. By Credit Card on Feb 27, 2014 | Reply

    Free agents outside the Card organization to consider signing:

    Henry Melton, and Linval Joseph for DL back-ups.

    Knowshon Moreno as a running back, Wesley Woodward LB to cover TE’s

    Mike Mitchell S,,Charles Tillman CB

    Trade to get Ryan Clady

  19. By Don on Feb 27, 2014 | Reply

    Andy Kw,

    It is painful to read posts as long as yours. Remember , brevity is the soul of wit.

  20. By Christian R on Feb 27, 2014 | Reply

    Andy Kw-

    1) Most contracts are going to get more expensive every year, except the last. Some of those 3-year contracts could be realistic if you flip years one and two.
    2) I don’t see the Cardinals bringing Ballard back. It would be cheaper to draft a TE on day 3 of the draft.
    3) The Cardinals don’t have enough leverage on any of the players you mentioned to make them resign. If the Cardinals threaten to cut them, that would just leave loads of dead money that would cripple the team. Those salaries will likely stay put for now.
    4) Brandon Albert will want to be paid like an elite LT. Jake Long got paid $4.25 million last year, and is set to make $9.25 million this season. If the Cardinals want Albert, that is probably more like how the deal will look. Chris Clemons will also probably want more than what you listed.
    5) With how deep this draft class is at WR and the fact that they’re guaranteed to be on the team for 4 years, no reason to sign McCluster. He and DRC would just be bad signings for the Cardinals.
    Besides those things, I like the rest of what you posted. Definitely some good ideas there.

  21. By Coach K on Feb 27, 2014 | Reply

    Darren, what about FA Toby Gerhardt of the Vikings. A bigger back who averaged 4.7 YPC and is only 26 years old. He is also an excellent receiver. He could provide that inside power and speed we need to compliment Ellington. Best of all, his price tag would be low.

  22. By Darren Urban on Feb 28, 2014 | Reply

    Coach K —

    RE: Gerhart

    I tend to doubt it because they like Taylor, but I’m not ruling anything out. He would have to be cheap though. Don’t see them spending much of anything for running backs.

  23. By All Day on Feb 27, 2014 | Reply

    Andy Kw, thats a very well thought out plan. One that I really like, But I think signing Mccluster is a long shot. I think resigning Roberts is a better option. Also I think its time to cut Dockett. He’s not playing at a high level anymore. I would take Rucker over him personally. But everything else is well thought and adresses lots of our needs. Also depends on the draft plan. Dennard in the 1st?

  24. By MostlyRight on Feb 27, 2014 | Reply

    Andy Kw-

    A bit optimistic on those contacts. Albert, a pro bowl LT for 3 years, 7.5 million? Are you typing this stuff on an Apple IIc in 1987?

  25. By Jsoully on Feb 28, 2014 | Reply

    Andy: Tell me what you think of a revised breakdown
    Step 1
    Resign Karlos Dansby at 3 Year, $14.35M (2014: $4.45M, 2015: $3.55M, 2016: $4.35M) Way more valuable at the standpoint where he is a little older, but still projected to have probowl numbers next year. Obviously if another probowl season happens then extend the contract.
    Resign Matt Shaughnessy at 2 Year, $6.75M (2014: $3.90M, 2015: $2.85M)
    Resign Jim Dray at 3 Year, $7.5M (2014: $2.22M, 2015: $2.27M, 2016: $2M)
    Resign Javier Arenas at 1 Year, $1.26M for a prove-it deal.
    Marcus Benard can be tendered at the current contract of $630K, Jake Ballard is also tendered at $750K, while Alameda Ta’amu, Bradley Sowell are Exclusive Rights free agents, and Paul Fanaika signed an extension.
    Step 2
    Release what I consider dead cap. Daryn Colledge allowed most QB pressures, and since they are so up on Earl Watford and Paul Fanaika, no need for his services (unless he restructures to a $1.21M contract, which is a savings of $2M cap hit, and we get a mentor for Jonathan Cooper & Earl Watford, my opinion still not worth it, but they might do it)
    Release Jasper Brinkley who is getting starter pay to only get 15% of snaps. We still have Kevin Minter waiting in the wings.
    I also think Lorenzo Alexander should be relieved because of lack of production & injury so release him too.
    Step 3
    Restructure Carson Palmer: the fact is that he wouldn’t find a starting gig anywhere else, this is possibly the last season he starts, he would in my opinion be smart to restructure.
    Restructure Daryl Washington & Darnell Dockett to the same type of Restructure that Larry Fitzgerald did, the fact is that both players could find starting gigs (Daryl could go anywhere and start, but Darnell could find himself on a big spender team like Oakland or Minnesota willing to give him a contract to start.) There needs to be incentive to restructure for those two players, both still very valuable on defense.
    Also restructure Jerraud Powers to a nickel back role, (2014: $2.35M, 2015: $2.65M)
    Step 4
    Sign Jared Veldheer at 4 Year, $24.58M (2014: $7.44M, 2015: $7.14M, 2016: $5.75M, 2017: $4.25M) All front end contracts are more appealing for the fact that if you play well you will get a better contract restructured.
    Sign Jonathan Vilma at 2 Year, $9.65M (2014: $4.33M, 2015: $4.22M) A little bit pricy but I think he is still effective, place him on the outside and he should fair well across Abraham.
    Sign Josh Morgan at 1 Year, $2.15M
    Step 5
    1st Round: Trade back to the San Francisco 49ers 28th Pick, 4th Round, 5th Round, 7th Round, & 2015 4th Round Pick.
    1st Round (via San Francisco 49ers)
    Kony Ealy – DE
    Missouri – Redshirt Junior
    6-4, 275 lbs
    Replacement for Darnell Dockett one day, makes sense to get a rotational guy right now.
    2nd Round
    Stanley Jean-Baptiste – CB
    Nebraska – Senior
    6-3, 214 lbs
    Plenty of corner depth in the draft, tall and lengthy SJB would complement Pat on the other side.
    3rd Round
    A.C. Leonard – TE
    Tennessee State – Senior
    6-2, 252 lbs
    Performed so well at the combine, he moves up the board and the Cardinals get an athletic tight end to complement Rob Housler & Jim Dray.
    4th Round
    Deone Bucannon – SS
    Washington State – Senior
    6-1, 211 lbs
    Most underrated player at the combine, I feel people will forget that he is there, and that’s were the Cardinals cash in on his hard hitting ability, a year to develop, Tony Jefferson can start ahead of him before he takes the reigns.
    4th Round (via San Francisco 49ers)
    Brett Smith – QB
    Wyoming – Junior
    6-2, 206 lbs
    People forget that Brett Smith is in the draft, but I feel that he is a great player just waiting to happen, a year behind Carson Palmer & Drew Stanton and I feel he is ready to compete for the starting job. Lighter weight makes him a little of an underdog too.
    5th Round
    Jon Halapio – OG
    Florida – Redshirt Senior
    6-3, 323 lbs
    I think he competes for the starting right guard position with Paul Fanaika & Earl Watford, loser of the battle has to be backup to the winner and Jonathan Cooper on the left side.
    5th Round (via San Francisco 49ers)
    Cody Hoffman – WR
    Brigham Young – Senior
    6-4, 223 lbs
    Usually lost in the very deep wide receiver class, I feel that his 3rd round grade makes him a quality pick, make it known I think that the Cardinals are looking for tall receivers.
    6th Round
    Devon Kennard – OLB
    Southern California – Redshirt Senior
    6-3, 249 lbs
    Had a very solid combine, why would the Cardinals draft another linebacker? Because they love linebacker depth, why not?
    7th Round (via San Francisco 49ers)
    Henry Josey – RB
    Missouri – Redshirt Junior
    5-8, 194 lbs
    I would take a flyer on Josey because his ability to catch the ball in the backfield, I think he has a willingness to block in the backfield too.
    Step 6
    Undrafted Free Agent
    Eathyn Manumaleuna – DT/NT
    Brigham Young – Redshirt Senior
    6-2, 298 lbs
    Take in account that Alameda Ta’amu is still going to be healing from surgery until at least week 3, good solid defensive line play is needed, and Eathyn is a quality backup. And when Alameda comes back he can slide to the left side and backup Calais.
    Finish Product:
    QB – 1. Carson Palmer 2. Drew Stanton 3. Brett Smith
    RB – 1. Andre Ellington 2. Stepfan Taylor 3. Ryan Williams 4. Henry Josey
    FB/TE – 1. Jim Dray 2. Jake Ballard
    WR X – 1. Larry Fitzgerald 2. Josh Morgan
    WR Z – 1. Michael Floyd 2. Cody Hoffman 3. Jaron Brown
    WR Y – 1. Teddy Williams 2. Brittan Golden
    TE – 1. Robert Housler 2. A.C. Leonard
    LT – 1. Jared Veldheer
    LG – 1. Jonathan Cooper 2. Paul Fanaika
    C – 1. Lyle Sendlein
    RG – 1. Earl Watford 2. Jon Halapio
    RT – 1. Bobby Massie 2. Bradley Sowell
    LE – 1. Calais Campbell 2. Eathyn Manumaleuna 3. Kony Ealy
    NT – 1. Dan Williams 2. Alameda Ta’amu (PUP till week 3) 3. Eathyn Manumaleuna 
    RE – 1. Darnell Dockett 2. Kony Ealy
    LOLB – 1. John Abraham 2. Sam Acho 3. Alex Okafor
    ILB1 – 1. Daryl Washington 2. Kevin Minter 3. Dontay Moch (Until Ta’amu is off PUP)
    ILB2 – 1. Karlos Dansby 2. Kevin Minter
    ROLB – 1. Jonathan Vilma 2. Matt Shaughnessy 3. Devon Kennard
    CB1 – 1. Patrick Peterson 2. Javier Arenas
    CB2 – 1. Stanley Jean-Baptiste 2. Justin Bethel 3. Jerraud Powers
    FS – 1. Tyrann Mathieu 2. Rashad Johnson 3. Javier Arenas (Mathieu might not be ready)
    SS – 1. Tony Jefferson 2. Deone Bucannon 
    Special Teams
    K – 1. Danny Hrapmann 
    P – 1. Dave Zastudil

  26. By clssylssy on Feb 28, 2014 | Reply has very good things to say about Andre Roberts and his “stock” rising,so, why wouldn’t the Cards try to resign him rather than going after an unknown? To me, we have invested a lot in Roberts, he knows how Arians likes to play, he is a good slot receiver and makes plays. According to NFL “Arians loves him, Palmer loves him and Fitzgerald can’t find enough good things to say about him”. So, I’m assuming the issues has to be money and the Cards are feeling like we can afford to gamble on picking someone up on the cheap then watch him fumble around and drop balls for the first half of the season while he “develops chemistry” with Palmer. I think I read on here that we have ten WRs currently and I know they will take one in the draft, as that seems to be a given each year.
    The draft is always a big gamble as more college hot shots wash out than make the transition to elite player in the NFL and I think what Steve Keim was able to do last year signing FA made all the difference in a team that was able to catch fire and soar rather than another year floundering because of the learning curve adjustment. At the end of the day it is what it is and fantasizing about players who would be awesome, whether they be rookies in the draft or free agents is just masochistic. Fast Forward to Training Camp and a look at what we have to work with!

  27. By Darren Urban on Feb 28, 2014 | Reply

    Clssy —

    RE: Roberts

    Well, to start with, I don’t think Andre wants to stay on a team where he knows he’s going to be the third receiver at best. The issue is money, yes, but Roberts knows unless he can go somewhere and pile up stats, he’s not getting a lot of it.

  28. By nighthawk2005 on Feb 28, 2014 | Reply

    How has nobody even mentioned Jonathan Martin? I know he’s not a free agent, but I’d love to buy low on him. Put him in our locker room instead of Miami’s toxic environment and we could have a steal.

  29. By Cbus on Feb 28, 2014 | Reply

    Why do you think MJD will command a high price tag? I don’t see too many 29 year old RB’s with the kind of miles he has on him commanding top dollar. I think he’d be great fit and don’t think his price tag will be prohibitive.

  30. By John The Draft Guy on Feb 28, 2014 | Reply


    MJD pricetag;

    One, he can run between tackles, block the blitz as well as any back and can catch the ball well. Someone may not open the bank, but I could see him getting more than we would spend.

    But second, and most important, he thinks he is still a top back in the league. I would imagine he is looking for a big check. You may want to check back on him after the draft to see if he is still around and willing to take something to stay in the league.

  31. By Big Ken on Feb 28, 2014 | Reply

    RE: Andre Roberts I can see Wisenhunt bringing him to Tennesee.

  32. By Eazy E on Mar 1, 2014 | Reply

    We have to nab a LT and hopefully it’s Branden Albert! Dansby is a must re-sign as I’ve said several times, Shaughnessy needs to continue to be a cardinal long-term, and I don’t know about RB right now with the guys we have. So ready for FA!

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