The point of free agency

Posted by Darren Urban on March 24, 2014 – 11:49 am

The Cardinals have filled multiple holes in the process of free agency. And that is exactly the point. Building through the draft is the ultimate priority, but usually you aren’t going to have enough picks in one offseason to do that in the draft alone. So GM Steve Keim found a left tackle, a tight end, an extra running back, depth at center/guard, a speed receiver, a starting cornerback. The point? So that when the Cards are picking at 20 come May 8, they aren’t feeling forced to take a left tackle. Or speed receiver. Or anything else.

“As we get further along in this process over the next couple of years, I would like to minimize how much we do in free agency,” Keim said. “Our whole goal as an organization is to be able to go in, whether the 20th pick, the 52nd pick or the 84th, whatever the pick is, that we can sit and look in the mirror and say we are taking the best player available and the guy who helps the Cardinals the most. I think, through, free agency, we’ve afforded ourselves to do that.”

Keim would like playmakers in the draft — who doesn’t — and after scoring with Tyrann Mathieu and Andre Ellington last season, the Cards have done that of late. It will of course be better if they come at certain positions. For instance, a playmaking safety who can cover tight ends would be nice. An edge rusher who can get to the quarterback. Needs don’t completely disappear, even with an effective free-agent period.



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17 Responses to “The point of free agency”

  1. By georgiebird on Mar 24, 2014 | Reply

    The Cards have done a great job in free agency. And the Cardinals have done a lot to hold the line on last year’s 10-6 record.
    But what the Cardinals haven’t done is make me feel that they can be better than 10-6. To be better than 10-6 and also play in the NFC West is a tough assignment-
    and to be able to beat Seattle away is not an every year occurrence.
    To get to 11-5 will require getting playmakers in the draft at WR, LB, DE and S.
    And of course, there is still the lack of the franchise QB to keep this improvement going into 2015. So, SK’s playmaker comment is right on the mark!

  2. By bigredcards on Mar 24, 2014 | Reply


    You really think the cardinals need a playmaker at wr? So mike floyd and larry fitzgerald are just noboby WR? sounds like you have no clue what you are talking about

  3. By John The Draft Guy on Mar 24, 2014 | Reply

    Well done Darren. I like the part that as we build through the draft, the number of FAs will go down.

    It will be nice to see a day when the only FAs we need to sign are our own.

    i.e. -Look at the Packers, did they sign anyone other than their guys.

  4. By brian r. on Mar 24, 2014 | Reply


    the seahawks took the biggest blow in free agency, losing a lot of their starters. dont forget the cardinals lost 3 games by 3 points (we could have gone 13-3)

    i think the cardinals will go 13-3 or 14-2 this season depending if everybody can stay healthy and how well carson palmer performs.

  5. By Big Ken on Mar 24, 2014 | Reply

    Playmaker at WR? Let’s get someone that can make the plays Andre Roberts could not. He was a solid player and popular character, but not much flash or sparkle. Brandon Cooks anyone?

  6. By ored on Mar 24, 2014 | Reply

    still,sometimes you feel pretty certain about a special player but also pretty sure he won’t be there for you,at those times i would support trading up and once more dipping into free agency for depth or 1 yr players to fill a void.while it’s true a gem can be found in later rounds,it’s also true many more times you get a journeyman,even after years of learning and playing,probably worth giving up a couple of later picks for for more of a sure thing if it is done selectively,not every draft,there is also the option of drafting an extroidinary talent late that has suffered an injury thus dropping his draft worth,will be interesting to see how the 49ers fare there since they did just that last year,stash em for a year to get healthy,sort of like what the spurs do in basketball and overseas talent.

  7. By br on Mar 24, 2014 | Reply

    Wait for it…Wait for it………T Pryor anyone??? You know I had to ask, was thinking change of pace QB project for the absolute league min but then I saw who he has as an agent, knew right away league min ain’t happening. But you got to admit Pryor as a project is intriguing! And a QB with feet and speed (or at least more speed than any QB on our roster honestly don’t remember his 40 time out of college.) W ould serve as a change of pace. On second thought I will just continue to lobby for Logan Thomas!!! (WE WANT LOGAN…WE WANT LOGAN…WE WANT LOGAN!!)

  8. By Cactus jeff on Mar 24, 2014 | Reply

    I enjoy your opinions but you are flat out wrong about aspiring to be like the Packers and build through the draft. Ignoring free agency and building through drat is code for Cheap, Cheap, Cheap. The Packers have Aaron Rodgers, flat out the best QB in the league, apologize to Peyton Manning fans, he’s good but not close to Arod. I know, the drum beat in media has convinced fans that a slow, immobile, weak armed QB is as good as Arod, Nothing I can do about it but point out the obvious, the sky is blue and Arod is ALOT better than Peyton.

    That being said Arod allows Packers to go 10-6 with possibly the least talented roster in the league and worst OL. The organization has expressed their goal is to reach playoffs and then hope they catch fire. They are not concerned about winning Superbowls. They are cheap, they are riding Arod to the ground. This off season their fans finally became restless, a lot of anger led to a free agent splash in getting Julius Peppers.

    I am thankful for Keim, BA, and Bidwill. They are doing it right.
    Roster= free agency + draft!

  9. By Matt11 on Mar 25, 2014 | Reply

    If Terrelle Pryor get release or traded let just hope we Don’t get him he’s not even worth it for us.

  10. By krehbieo14 on Mar 25, 2014 | Reply

    We are set up through FA so that most of our picks can be potential playmakers on defense.

  11. By br on Mar 25, 2014 | Reply

    Kreh —

    How do you figure??? Defense is already cream of the crop, other than ILB (which I think we need to sign a veteran) and SS the 1 defensive pick in the draft, every other pick needs to be offense, remember Palmer and company were not that impressive at times last yr (in fact most of the time the were not very impressive) we need right side OL help especially RT, we need to improve at TE, need a block first TE. A speed receiver who has better hands and better body control than Guin, really no backup C to speak of and in my opinion we need a workhorse btwn the tackles RB (what if Dwyer is not able to resurrect his career and Williams continues to be injured, which if so he will be cut, that leaves Ellington, which BA has stated he will nfot use him as a 25-30 carry workhorse…and Taylor who has tons of potential but is still relatively unproven…so no, we need to draft offense heavy if we want to see improvement and the playoffs, and quite home field advantage in the SUPER BOWL!!!! Just my humble opinion though.

  12. By Eazy E on Mar 25, 2014 | Reply

    We definitely don’t need to say forget free agency like the Packers for instance. What the hell have they really done since their Super Bowl victory in terms of playoff success??? Every team NEEDS FA AND DRAFT!!! I strongly dislike when GMs, coaches, and owners say this crap! Look who we’ve acquired through FA just this year that all y’all love(me included for the most part): Veldheer, Ginn Jr., Cromartie, Carlson, Dwyer and that’s not including retaining some of our own such as Rucker, Shaughnessy, etc. BTW, when they won the super bowl, their Aaron Rodgers on defense i.e. best player was Charles Woodson who was yeah you guessed it a free agent acquisition who the Cardinals we’re once again interested in and in the finalists to get him but obviously didn’t but anyway…

  13. By br on Mar 25, 2014 | Reply

    Easy E

    SPOT ON!!! Totally agree need a mixture of both, there are also teams that load up on Free agents with some big names included but that does nothing but wreck your salary cap and keeps ypur team down (hello Deadskins and Cowgirls!!) If memory serves me, which it usually doesnt, but I think not many teams who go out one yr and pay out the nose for free agents pretty much struggle to even make. 500 (Hello Philadelphia)!

  14. By John The Draft Guy on Mar 25, 2014 | Reply

    OK guys,

    No one said forget about FA. What I am saying, and I believe Darren is saying, is by filling the holes the cards did, it allows you to choose the BPA.

    By doing this, you stock pile talent. When you stock pile talent, you do not need FAs.

    The Packer reference – The packers have drafted well.

    They dont need a RB – they got Lacy

    Their WRs – are usually near the tops. All drafted , with Nelson and Cobb, they will most likely add to it this year in the draft.

    As noted, they drafted a QB while they had one, who is the best in football

    Their Oline didnt need a LT because they drafted Bakhtiari last year

    They didnt need a pass rusher because the drafted Mathews.

    Hawk and Jones at ILB were both drafted.

    I could go on and on. The pack went out and signed one guy, Julius Peppers this year. By drafting well, they were able to find one difference maker to add to the team.

    Looking at the cards, If we nail this draft and last years draft comes through, we wont need a FA in 2015 besides our own.

    Bottom line, the cards starters who are FAs are LT, QB, 1 CB and OLB.

    FAs in 2015 – If we draft a safety, and OLB and a DE in our first 3 -4 picks, Maybe a QB if it works out, who will we need to sign in 2015. Abraham will walk, maybe Dockett does also, but the cards are set to have every starting position filled except one, CB. If Cro works out, there is your big FA signing in 2015. If he doesnt, Maybe you make a big splash with one signing, maybe you draft a CB.

    Think about it. If we hit on this draft, what FA would we really need to sign besides CB?

  15. By Cactus Jeff on Mar 25, 2014 | Reply

    You overestimate talent at OL and WR because of Aaron Rodgers(see Greg Jennings). Oh and watch James Jones become an absolute bust as a FA. That being said I get what you mean but in the Packers case they choose not to enter free agency because they are cheap, not because their roster is loaded like Seattle or the Niners. Seattle and Niners reloaded in FA after 2012-2013 and go to NFC championship. Packers get beat at home by Niners and do absolutely nothing in FA the year before.

    Now in regards to draft strategy Packers have hit a few times in first round by going BPA even when they have glaring holes almost everywhere. So, I am all on board with BPA in First Round, it is key, but I don’t care how good the roster is, keep getting better through FA and draft. when an organization’s talking points are” build through draft” I think cheap and I think they want to make playoffs, not win superbowls. Go Cards!

  16. By Dre on Mar 25, 2014 | Reply

    I love how Keim used the Dansby situation to his advantage when recruiting Antonio Cromartie. He basically suggested Cro use the Cards top rank defense to increase a better market for him in 2015. Genius…

    Cro signing was a thing of beauty and huge which should impact the entire defense. It give Tyrann better recovery time and it provides PP with a little competition.

    It is a common saying that the defensive front-end and the back-end work together and should compliment each other. PP, Cro and Tyrann (when healthy) should make for one heck of a formidable back field and players like Abraham and maybe Sam Acho will see an increase in their production as a result.

    I think the Cro signing could and should impact the way the Cards approach their 1st round draft selection, also. Abraham proofed he is still a player to be reckon with by posting double digits sack last year but the jury is still out on Sam Acho. I think to capitalize on having a possible great back end, the Cards must find a player outside of Abraham that can get to the QB consistently to be a compliment to the back. And, If you look at the other three team in the NFC West division they all have multiple and efficient pass rushing treats.

    I believe Barr if available or Dee Ford can be that impact player outside or Abraham to take full advantage of having two of the better cover corners in the NFL.

    I was really hesitant to think the Cards needed to draft a pass rusher, especially in the first round simple because they have nine or ten bulls in their outside line-backer bull-pen already. The Cro signing was so huge to me I had to change my mind.

    The other option I see that can create an elite defense for the Cards this year is by drafting a top safety in Clinton-Dix or Calvin Pryor, who would have to swing strong safety once Tyrann comes back. It’s exciting to see how great the Cards back-end could be. We already posse a dominating rush defense and by adding a dominating passing defense, the sky is the limit.

    The cards have an opportunity but which direction will they go. Remember, DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS….

  17. By Coach K on Mar 25, 2014 | Reply

    Was watching film on several players today and came up with a very realistic draft scenario. Also listened to a recording from yesterday with Darren, Calvisi and Wolfley. Something Wolf said had a ring of truth. Build the beast on defense. Well, if defense wins championships, I would agree with Wolf. So based on that conversation and the films I watched today, here is a draft that makes lots of sense to me. Especially with todays adjustment to the picks with the additional of compensatory picks pushing rounds 4 thru 6 lower for the Crds.

    Rd. 1- Calvin Pryor, SS, Louisville. -Fills a need immediately.
    Rd. 2- Jeremiah Attaochu, OLB, Ga. Tech. -Raw but athletic edge rusher.
    Rd. 3- Joel Bittonio, OT, Nevada -Is good enough to start at right tackle.
    Rd. 4- Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia -If he is still on the board, too good to pass up.
    Rd. 5- Justin Ellis, DT, La. Tech. -A beast inside with surprising quickness.
    Rd. 6- Max Bullough, ILB, Mich. St. -Quality player who has a big chip on his shoulder from his issues at year end. I like his nastiness inside and having something to prove. Bullough would be a STEAL in round 6. and he could be there for the taking.

    I think this is very realistic. First three picks will be INSTANT STARTERS.

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