Cards clearly not waiting in free agency

Posted by Darren Urban on March 3, 2014 – 11:33 am

Once, Bertrand Berry left, but he came back.

Having covered the Cardinals either for the East Valley Tribune or here at for years, I’ve been through a lot of free-agent signing periods and watched the team have a lot of interest in various players. Sometimes they signed. Sometimes they didn’t. And those times pop into my head with the new philosophy of the front office. It isn’t necessarily take it or leave it, but it is close. The Cardinals these days have a number in mind to spend on each particular free agent and definitely a ranking system where they want a certain player first over others. But if there is hesitation, the Cards are ready to move on. They won’t be used as leverage, and that’s a good thing.

The Cards were frequently the team used for leverage once upon a time (the brief Joe Montana courtship is one I remember, but that was before my time on the beat.) There have been others, and that’s one reason why it’s good to see GM Steve Keim get past that. More importantly, it’s good to see the confidence the team has in its plan. The Cards want, for instance, Karlos Dansby to come back. But the possibility of him leaving breeds no panic. As Bruce Arians likes to say, next man up, and that’s an incredibly liberating stance to take this time of year. The Cards will reach out to a left tackle in free agency, I’d guess, and if whoever it is doesn’t like the offer or hedges, the Cards will move on to the next choice. I have no doubt of that. The Cardinals aren’t going to be cheap, but they are going to structure deal on their terms.

(This doesn’t mean the Cards won’t bargain shop later, like they did with Dansby/Winston/Abraham last year. Float a number, wait a guy out and if he’s willing to come in for a bargain, you put him on the roster.)

That brings me back to Berry, who the Cardinals really wanted as a pass rusher in 2004. The offer was on the table and the Cardinals really wanted him to agree to it that day when he visited the team. Berry told them he probably would agree, but he wanted to sleep on it. Fair, although it could have been a leverage ploy. It wasn’t. Berry came back the next day to sign, and proved to be one of the best free-agent signings the team has made, with 14.5 sacks and a Pro Bowl that year before injuries derailed his Arizona tenure.

I don’t see the current Cards letting that happen much at all. A free agent who won’t agree right away is risking that deal being yanked off the table quickly. Keim is going to be in control of this process.


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Posted in Blog | 19 Comments »

19 Responses to “Cards clearly not waiting in free agency”

  1. By D on Mar 3, 2014 | Reply

    One of the football websites that is generally right on the facts, based on numbers is profootballfocus. (Darren has linked many of times) Well, they like many websites have their top 75 free agents available. Now, Cards won’t overspend and probably won’t bring in the big name player (I am doubtful they will be in the Alberts top offer range) but plenty of good players/options on the market.

    The players I would like to see Cards sign would be:
    # 20 K. Dansby
    # 26 A. Collins
    # 33 C. Clemmons
    #43 C. Munnerlyn
    #68 D. Brown

    Of course there will be several options at Tackle and Safety in case their #1 player is gone, should be fun to watch and start hearing the rumors this weekend.

  2. By Big Ken on Mar 3, 2014 | Reply

    Sleep on it?! In a recent interview, I believe Coach Arians mentioned a thirty minute time frame to decide on signing. No more nonsense.

  3. By Andy Kw on Mar 3, 2014 | Reply

    Imagine if we acquired D’Qwell Jackson and Karlos Dansby? Our ILB rotation will be the best. A nice elite front in D. Washington & K. Dansby. Nice reserves in Jackson, Minter & possibly Lorenzo Alexander.

  4. By Darren Urban on Mar 3, 2014 | Reply

    Andy Kw —

    RE: jackson

    Jackson isn’t signing anywhere where he wouldn’t be a starter. It’d be either/or with Jackson and Dansby.

  5. By Eric G on Mar 3, 2014 | Reply

    Saw the report the Cards are making a run at Branden Albert. What’s your info saying Darren?
    God I hope they make a serious run at him. I would love if the Cards were able to draft another need in round 1 than LT.

  6. By Darren Urban on Mar 3, 2014 | Reply

    Eric G —

    RE: Albert

    I would not be surprised if they made a play for Albert.

  7. By blakeucla on Mar 3, 2014 | Reply

    Ah !!! . Great picture , I remember that game, how many sacks did Bertrand have ? I am pretty sure it was 4 I truly believe that game was the reason the Cardinals eventually got Kurt Warner as i am quite sure Eli started the next game for the Giants.

  8. By LadyBird04 on Mar 3, 2014 | Reply

    Within reason, this take it or leave it process is the only way to function wit the high-speed communication available these days; im, texting, e-mail and cell phones have replaced the old and slower negotiating process. Waiting too long for a player to make up his mind can cost a team other free-agents.

    Now let’s hope the players haven’t gotten too greedy since hearing the cap was raised.

  9. By georgiebird on Mar 3, 2014 | Reply

    Nice article. Shows that BA and SK have a good amount of confidence in their plan going forward.
    I’m sure KD is testing the waters. If the Cards were low balling KD , he would be gone by now- it shows that SK’s offer is competitive.
    Can’t blame KD for trying to cash out on his good 2013 season but I hope the Cards stick to their guns.
    KD’s scenario of waking up late in life is a microcosm of much of society today. When KD was a young player, he had the chance to be something special but he was just average with the Cards and fins. His legacy will be that he played pretty good as an old guy.

  10. By D on Mar 3, 2014 | Reply

    I am sure many players would like to be considered “average” and get the franchise tag two years in a row…wow…

  11. By Rugbymuffin on Mar 3, 2014 | Reply

    @ blakeucla

    Good eye. One could say that signing Berry, and having him for that game resulted in Warner being signed by the Cardinals the next offseason.

    Crazy how that all works.

  12. By georgiebird on Mar 3, 2014 | Reply

    I wonder how many guys who got the franchise tag twice never made the pro bowl.

  13. By APACHE5555 on Mar 3, 2014 | Reply

    If possible I wud like to see a Jared Veldheer-Rogers-Cromartie-Terrence Cody signed in free agency; long term. Get a RT in the draft. Picking up another wide receiver wud be good too. TE, kick the ones we have in the u know where and get them going.

  14. By jasonc on Mar 3, 2014 | Reply


    Why do you continually dump on Dansby? Have you ever looked at his numbers compared to his counterparts at ILB?

    Comparing notable linebackers
    Player Seasons Tackles Sacks INT TD FF
    Dansby 10 824 38 15 4 17
    Fletcher 13 1,052 41.5 22 2 11
    Lewis 17 1,573 41.5 31 3 19
    Urlacher 16 1,382 39 23 2 19

    He has never been average just less publicized than other players. If he plays as long as Urlacher and Lewis he will most likely surpass both of these guys that nobody would consider average.

  15. By Scott H on Mar 3, 2014 | Reply

    Agreed 100% that Berry is one of the best FA signings the team has ever had. I remember his first year, how amazing he was. I also remember how grateful I was for his presence during that very brief but magical period from 2007 to 2009. The team was loaded with big-name star power on defense during that time but Berry was just such a solid veteran presence that I think the team needed and benefitted from. He was also still playing pretty damn well in a secondary role.

    And I also remember the game that I believe this photo is from. Because I think it was Warner’e last game as the starter for the Giants before they turned to Eli Manning and their future. They never looked back. Warner just looked SO bad in that game against the Cardinals, I remember thinking it was just sad to see his career ending that way. Because it looked like it was OVER for him, at least as a starter.

    I remember being absolutely furious when the Cardinals brought him in and signed him to be their QB. Thought it was just another over the hill veteran QB with nothing left who was gonna take us nowhere. And it kinda started out that way. A few years later, Warner was completely re-born and both he AND the Cardinals truly became the Phoenix that rises from the ashes!

    How amazing to look back on that whole scenario now and see how ironic it really was. Here, the Cardinals were the team that battered Warner so bad that day against the Giants, they might very well have been the team that put Warner on the bench and Eli on the field. That leads to Warner becoming available, he becomes a Cardinal, and he goes on to lead the Cardinals – of all teams – to a Super Bowl. It’s like the Cardinals ended his career as a starter in one place so he could come TO the Cardinals and be resurrected. I wonder if he has ever looked at it that way…

  16. By Don on Mar 3, 2014 | Reply


    Dansby didn’t make the pro bowl this year. Therefore by your logic he must have been “average”. Oh but wait, you just said the exact opposite. Whoops

  17. By clssylssy on Mar 4, 2014 | Reply

    With our serious need at the position of TE, I’m wondering if there is any consideration of signing Jimmy Graham now that he is an Unrestricted Free Agent. As I was iinformed by a Saints friend who seems to have good information,
    the two top spots likely for Graham to land were the Bills or the Cardinals?
    I would love to see Graham as another offensive weapon but if it’s between Graham and resigning Karlos Dansby, I’d go with Dansby who, I think earned a new contract for the discount we got him for last year. LOL, while I agree somewhat to Georgiebird’s comment, I don’t think Karlos has ever allowed anyone to disallow him his props!
    Whatever team gets Graham is going to see it’s stock rise and I just hope it’s not one of our rivals in the West. The Rams are going to be cleaning up in the draft and Seattle looks to being committed to building a dynasty “Legion of Doom” equal to the 9ers. The Cards have a real shot at the Superbowl 2015, just hope Keim is a good poker player!

  18. By Scott H on Mar 4, 2014 | Reply

    georgebird –

    I really don’t get your view of Dansby and how he has played over his career. First, for an “old guy,” he is still playing pretty damn well. And during most of his years with the Cardinals the first time around, he was pretty much universally viewed as one of THE best players in the NFL at his position. Can’t say I paid much attention to what he was doing when he was in Miami because I really don’t care about the Dolphins. Bui this guy still has a motor that runs at a high level and he is capable of making a significant contribution to this team. No, they won’t fall off the face of the earth without him. But I say they are better off WITH him in 2014 than they are WITHOUT him. And if the price to keep him here is reasonable for the Cardinals, then they are foolish to let him leave.

    If he wants to price himself out of the realm of reasonable, then….different story.

  19. By Keith on Mar 5, 2014 | Reply

    I see Arizona signing a OT and a OLB during FA, so that they can trade back in the first round for an additional pick and then take a TE with their first pick. Eberon is really the only TE worth a pick at twenty.
    I can see AZ trading two to four times during this years draft.
    What do you guys think?

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