Searching for veteran bargains

Posted by Darren Urban on April 9, 2014 – 4:12 pm

The questions are constant, as soon as a veteran player with any kind of reputation is released or becomes available: Would the Cardinals be interested? Well, for one, those questions are asked within seconds of the news happening, so usually, it’s a little soon for a feeling (GM Steve Keim admitted when CB Antonio Cromartie was first released, for instance, the Cards hadn’t anticipated it and had to do some extra legwork to figure out whether to chase him or not.)

It isn’t hard to get a sense of where the Cards land on many such players, however. Keim wants his team to get younger. And at this point, he certainly isn’t paying a lot. That should always be the prism from which any player should be viewed when it comes to this team. There are always exceptions. John Abraham, it was determined by the front office, still could play the game even at his age. Now, the Cards had to wait him out last year until his price was worth it (and never underestimate a veteran willing to wait out the offseason so he can wait to go back to work until training camp), but they got their bargain. Same with Karlos Dansby. Eric Winston was even cheaper, and that should probably provide guidance of where his market was — and where it might be this offseason.

The key element to all this is not just about whether a vet is available and is willing to work for cheap. It’s mostly about if he can still play — or more importantly, play to the level that the Cardinals, in this case, need him to play. Just because a guy is on the market isn’t enough. There is a reason veteran players remain unsigned, especially after the draft. Yes, once in a while it’s about the asking price and circumstances can change if it drops. But there are guys out there who are willing to play for little just to get a job, and it’s been determined they aren’t good enough anymore, whether because of age or cumulative injuries or both.

The Cards likely will sign another veteran or two at some point. It’ll be after the draft, because there is no reason to make any more moves right now until you know what you’ve filled with your picks. But whoever Keim signs, it’ll be for someone that makes sense on a football-level in 2014. Remember, past results don’t necessarily indicate future performance. It’s the slogan by which every GM should live.

— I’ve never been to a Pro Bowl. I’m going to get to one now, although I was really hoping to get a trip to Hawaii when I finally attended. I’ll be curious to know where the teams practice; those workouts have always been fan-friendly events.

— Not a surprise that there is a “Sunday Night Football” telecast in the preseason against the Bengals at University of Phoenix Stadium. NBC is also televising the Super Bowl. Not a bad time to get a lay of the land. What I am curious about is whether “SNF” will pick a Cardinals’ game in the regular season.


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23 Responses to “Searching for veteran bargains”

  1. By Kauaicardsfan on Apr 9, 2014 | Reply

    Aloha Darren,
    Just to answer your question for a change πŸ™‚ The players usually practice at some local high school fields.
    Too bad we lost it for a year but at least it goes to somewhere else I like πŸ™‚
    Enjoy your first Pro Bowl !

  2. By Darren Urban on Apr 9, 2014 | Reply

    Kauai —

    RE: Practice

    Ha. No, I knew where the players practice in Hawaii. I was wondering if it might change in Arizona, where there are a lot more people around.

  3. By Patrick Hoog aka Don't Take Losses on Apr 9, 2014 | Reply

    I just want a chance to meet Carrie Underwood at that game. Please tell Mr. B there is a huge outcry from Season Ticker Holders for this Darren! My son Rory is in LOVE with her.

  4. By michaelshumanmedia on Apr 9, 2014 | Reply

    In my honest opinion, it’d be nuts if we didn’t get at least ONE SNF game. I’m thinking we can snag two, though, because we’ve got some awesome games this year.

  5. By steve on Apr 9, 2014 | Reply

    Darren: The “On the beat NFL mock draft” done by all the teams individual writers, do you know yet who Kent picked for the Cardinals?

  6. By Darren Urban on Apr 9, 2014 | Reply

    Steve —

    RE: Mock

    Are you sure Kent did it?

    But no. Not that it matters.

  7. By Dr. G. on Apr 9, 2014 | Reply

    On subject – free agency and players-on-the-cheap…. I prefer “economical acquisitions.” When we obtain a veteran and pay him $50,000 – $60,000 or more for “each game” they play, most fans wish they had a single “year” like that. There can be workout bonuses and other incentives. They are paid well for what they are expected to produce. Some fans place monetary value on celebrity; that is not normally compensated. Agents will ask for the moon and signing bonuses! No one will twist their arm to accept a nice pay check and medical care.

    Every player is paid for their expected value, and there is justifiable disparity on every team. Sometimes the players earn their worth, and sometimes they do not. We remember that “the team” assumes all the risk, save for insurance incidents. I am happy that they want to play a great game and earn a handsome income doing it. When a team rejects them, an opportunity can present to rejuvenate and win the lottery the next year if they perform…ala Dansby… Be well Cards Fans…

  8. By Brad on Apr 10, 2014 | Reply

    Has the Cards been in contact with Ellington’s cousin at all? I understand it won’t be a huge draft.

  9. By Darren Urban on Apr 10, 2014 | Reply

    Brad —

    RE: Bruce Ellington

    I’ve seen a report that they have, not that it means much.

  10. By Big Ken on Apr 10, 2014 | Reply

    It boils down to fighting for a ‘job’.

  11. By AzDesertRat1953 on Apr 10, 2014 | Reply

    Just like BA said last year, ‘State your case to be a Cardinal’.

    Steve Keim as GM has been getting players, young an old, that not only need/want a job but also want to WIN and will put the Work in to do it.

    It is not something Long time Fans have had very often.
    A TEAM from Top (Michael Bidwill) to Bottom (2014 Drafts/Newbies) has been real Hard to come by.

    The Pro Bowl a week before the SB, in Arizona!
    Wonder if the roof will need to be closed and the AC turned on so no one gets to Hot for the Super Bowl?

    GO CARDS!!!

  12. By Eazy E on Apr 10, 2014 | Reply

    Let’s get some good ones when we do!

  13. By dannydaniels on Apr 10, 2014 | Reply

    What a shame the SuperBowl and ProBowl are not being played at ‘CARDINALS STADIUM’!


  14. By NJAzCardsFan on Apr 10, 2014 | Reply

    Darren- Do you see Colledge coming back for the league minimum?

    FYI- For Carrie Underwood fans… She is married to a NHL Hockey Player…..

  15. By Darren Urban on Apr 10, 2014 | Reply

    NJAz —

    RE: Colledge

    If they wanted to do that, they would have asked him to do it before they cut him.

  16. By Scott H on Apr 10, 2014 | Reply

    I’ll be downright offended if the Cardinals aren’t playing some primetime games this season! After the way they came on last season AND given the fact that they share a division with the two best teams in the NFL, how is a divisional game against the ‘hawks or Niners NOT a very attractive primetime game??? Hell, as of right now, the last team to beat the SB champs is the Arizona Cardinals! Give them the respect they deserve. The friggin Eagles were just as bad as the Cardinals were in 2012 and they had primetime games out the you-know-what last year. Gonna be REAL pissed if that happens again this season!

  17. By brian r on Apr 10, 2014 | Reply

    excited for the new season. cardinals made many crucial acquisitions this off season. if the cardinals can nail the draft like last year I see a superbowl birth if the team can stay healthy. GO CARDINALS!

  18. By JohnnyBluenose on Apr 13, 2014 | Reply

    The schedule is to be announced this week, Apr 17th. I would expect our Cardinals to get some high profile games this year. The Seahawks are opening the schedule at home on Wednesday Night against a divisional rival. I hope it’s not against us, especially if Washington is suspended and Mathieu is still not 100%.

  19. By Dr. G. on Apr 14, 2014 | Reply

    JohnnyB – Thanks for the reminder of the 17th…. As for DWash, his hearing was scheduled 4/23.. At least we will know soon what his sanctions/punishment will be… I mentioned prior that in light of a “plea,” I believe he will not be incarcerated, but it would not surprise. He can expect probation, lots of community service and substantial fines. In exchange for his X-girlfriend’s loving cooperation, she will most certainly win the lottery from DWash’s bonus money…. A link….

  20. By Darren Urban on Apr 14, 2014 | Reply

    Dr. G –

    RE: Washington

    Or a better link:

  21. By Dr. G. on Apr 14, 2014 | Reply

    Thanks Darren – I remember your blog on this last month. I did post a comment on it at that time as well…. I, along with other fans, am just worried that DWash could get some time on this plea… It is certainly within reach of the Judge if he has one that would like to make an example of a rich pro athlete… It appears unlikely in that he pleaded out, but I wish him the best…. Thanks again….

  22. By Darren Urban on Apr 14, 2014 | Reply

    Dr. G —

    RE: Washington

    I feel confident Washington will not serve jail time for this. I think the plea wouldn’t have come otherwise. That said, I will be surprised if there is not eventual league punishment.

  23. By Scott H on Apr 14, 2014 | Reply

    They did a very good job with veteran “bargains” last year, so I will trust them to do the same going forward. And I see that process in a whole different light right now than I did during the latter years of the previous regime. Right now, bargain veterans – the right guy in the right place to play the tight role – can make a tremendous impact because this is a winning team that has a lot of talent on both sides of the ball. They just need a guy or two to make them stronger in certain areas. That is OK.

    During the latter years of the previous regime….ugh. They were a bad team with holes everywhere and they were trying to fill too many of them with these “bargains.” Needless to say, it failed every season. SOOOOO glad those days are over.

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