Voluntary workouts can be rewarding

Posted by Darren Urban on April 25, 2014 – 12:49 pm

The Cardinals have had good turnout at their voluntary work thus far, which is always good to see. I’ve seen almost everyone on the current roster at some point (I keep getting questions about players that aren’t in photos — Patrick Peterson, Ted Ginn and Carson Palmer in particular. I have seen all three. Workouts run at 6 a.m., 8 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. after meetings. I’m not taking pictures at 6 and usually I’ve moved on in my day at 12:30, so just because they aren’t in a photo doesn’t mean anything.) It’s important to have guys around, as Darnell Dockett noted yesterday.

“This is voluntary, so when you have guys here, voluntary, and we grade out at 94 percent every day of people coming in, that shows the right direction we’re trying to go in,” he said. “Not showing up with 20 guys, missing 15 here and 30 here, 20 guys late, people missing in the classroom. That’s a bad sign. So right now every day we’re getting out this work, and we’re appreciating it and enjoying it. We’re getting better. Chemistry is not all about coming in talking about football and weights. We’re getting to know each other.”

Kent Somers does a nice job chronicling how Dockett’s mindset has changed after multiple offseasons when he wasn’t here. Part of the change for the Cards — and around the NFL for that matter — has been a proliferation of workout bonuses in contracts. Players get paid for their weekly attendance, but it’s not much really, $175 a day as stipulated by the collective bargaining agreement. If you make the workouts a fruitful part of the paycheck, you tend to motivate. writes about this. Seven teams in the league have invested at least $2 million of cap space into offseason workout bonuses, including the Cardinals at $2.085 million. The most is the Packers, at $4.325M, and that’s not a surprise knowing that many players probably wouldn’t want to stick around Green Bay in the offseason if they could avoid it.

Nine Cardinals collect six figures just for showing up for whatever the prescribed amount of offseason workouts would be (it’s usually a high percentage of the total days available.) Dockett, DE Calais Campbell, WR Larry Fitzgerald and QB Drew Stanton get $250,000. C Lyle Sendlein and S Rashad Johnson get $150,000. Linebacker Matt Shaughnessy gets $125,000. Linebackers Lorenzo Alexander and Daryl Washington get $100,000. And there are eight other players who get money.

Cash doesn’t explain everything. There are a ton of guys on the roster — big-name guys — who have been here and get no extra monetary reward for doing so, including new players like Jared Veldheer, Antonio Cromartie and Ted Ginn. There is a push from those on the roster to make sure teammates are hear for the reason of just making sure the team will be as good as possible. But as always, money plays a role.



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26 Responses to “Voluntary workouts can be rewarding”

  1. By joe holst on Apr 25, 2014 | Reply

    I don’t understand why Drew Stanton gets so much-250K. He is a backup and shouldn’t need money as motivation for his role.

  2. By Mike Ellingboe on Apr 25, 2014 | Reply

    Joe – I think it’s another in the long line of shrewd moves on Keim’s part to tie that much of his salary into a workout bonus. He’s the most important back-up on the team, so having him at off-season workouts is vital, and a credit to him that he was willing to sign that kind of deal.

  3. By JohnnyBluenose on Apr 25, 2014 | Reply

    Darren….is Ryan Williams there?

  4. By Darren Urban on Apr 25, 2014 | Reply

    JohnnyBlue —

    RE: Ryan Williams


  5. By Dr. G. on Apr 25, 2014 | Reply

    Workout Bonuses! They should count against the cap… perhaps they do…?

  6. By Darren Urban on Apr 25, 2014 | Reply

    Dr. G —

    RE: Cap

    Yes it counts. Which is why the sentence in the post says “Seven teams in the league have invested at least $2 million of cap space into offseason workout bonuses, including the Cardinals at $2.085 million.”

  7. By Dynosoar on Apr 25, 2014 | Reply

    Johnny bluenose,

    I missed that Horton went to Tennessee. Too bad, I think he’d have used Dansby well.

    As to a workout bonus, I like that we’re willing to build a foundation for a healthy team using cap space in this way. This also gets the team together to begin team building exercises sooner. (Man, I got two puns in that one. Haha!)

    Good weekend to ya’ll.

  8. By steve88 on Apr 25, 2014 | Reply

    There are 2 or 3 players in the draft that I can’t shake as it relates to them becoming Cardinals. But the one I keep going back to is Calvin Pryor from Louisville. The Louisville Cardinals by the way……….This kid would be ABSOLUTELY ELECTRIC in Arizona’s defensive backfield. Wish he was 6′ 1″ and not his listed 5’11”, this maybe a deal breaker because Steve Keim want’s to get longer and more athletic. This safety is athletic out the wazoo but 5’11″…..hmmm. Didn’t mean to take you gentlemen out of this scintillating conversation about…………..workout bonuses. They work out AND they get bonuses……….um, ok. workout bonu……………ah never mind. Continue gentlemen, I for one cannot take much more of this remarkable conversation about……………………………………………………….workout bonuses!!!

  9. By erik on Apr 25, 2014 | Reply

    I would love to have access to the facilities and trainers that these players do. Most likely a long shot, but it would be great to have a short video explaining a workout these guys go through on any given day. Could have someone show the moves and explain how many sets/reps, if it’s a circuit, etc. That would be sweet and us fans could get in a little better shape here at home doing the workouts that our favorite players perform!

    I know, a long shot, but pass it along Darren… Please, lol!

  10. By Gary on Apr 26, 2014 | Reply

    I don’t know what is going on with this site but every time I try to post a comment it tells me to sign in to Facebook. Not everybody does Facebook.

  11. By Rowlan on Apr 26, 2014 | Reply

    Darren–do you have any idea when the red and white scrimmage would be this year? Could you take a good guess if not. Want to plan my vacation around it!

  12. By Darren Urban on Apr 26, 2014 | Reply

    Rowlan —

    RE: Red and White

    Sorry. No camp dates have been announced yet. You can probably do the math though — it’s usually the Saturday before the first preseason game.

  13. By Big Ken on Apr 26, 2014 | Reply

    I get the Drew Stanton thing. The large workout bonus. I wonder if other teams follow the same strategy? I just wish someone would pay me the go to the gym. You definitely want to keep Stanton in the mix and in shape.

  14. By jason on Apr 26, 2014 | Reply


    I wouldn’t worry about Pryor’s height because 7 of the 8 All-Pro safeties last season were 6′ and under as well as future HOF’er Ed Reed who is 5’11”. HIs athleticism and playmaking ability is what is going to make him great. If you look at the safeties in this draft there are only 3 guys who are over 6′ (they are all 6’1) and in the top 150 ranked players (so the top 4-5 rounds), so the thought that there is this 6’3 safety who can athletically match up with the elite tight ends in this league one on one as a rookie is not realistic.

  15. By jason on Apr 26, 2014 | Reply

    I read this article today where bloggers are doing a mock draft and Jess Root is drafting for the Cardinals.

    He takes Kony Ealy in the first and Deone Bucannon in the second….this is a dream scenario in my opinion.

    Kony Ealy fits our scheme as a 3-4 outside linebacker better than any of the other players. When I look at our roster we have HUGE outside linebackers (our top 4 guys average 6’4 266) and Kony at 6’4 273 fits that bill.

    I wasn’t very high on Bucannon after JTDG posted that he was limited to being a box safety, but after watching his videos I think he has the ability to cover tight ends in man and play deep middle in cover 1. He has a great interception against ASU playing man coverage and breaking on the ball like a corner against Coyle. As a matter of fact this guy is a four year starter who has 15 career interceptions, 7 forced fumbles and 23 passes defended: production check. He was top 3 in every drill at the combine and ran faster 40 than Pryor and Clinton-Dix: athleticism check. When you watch his video he is in on almost every tackle, he is a punishing hitter and he makes plays: eye test check. He is not without weaknesses and he does miss some tackles trying to make a big hit and I don’t think he is as fluid an athlete as Pryor so slot WR’s could give him trouble if he ever got caught in coverage (hopefully Tyrann would be on the slot) but I think he is a great fit to play alongside Tyrann for the next decade and they will be as fearsome a duo as Thomas/Chancellor in Seattle.

  16. By sbrown on Apr 26, 2014 | Reply

    with a new strength coach / staff it is so important to have the players who were injured last season continue their physical therapy to get back to 100%. Think about this season, if all goes well the Cards will have Alexander, Acho, Okafor, Cooper and Mathieu back and ready to play. Add that to the four big free agents signed ( Veldheer, Ginn, Cromartie and Carlson ) along with the next group of newly drafted players and the talent level / depth of the roster will be awesome. Looking forward to the start of training camp at UoP.

  17. By clssylssy on Apr 27, 2014 | Reply

    These conditioning workouts are important and will pay off down the line whether it is by making our players stronger (important in this NFC West division) or by making them more durable, healthy and decreasing injury. To state a number of players are getting paid to” show up” is somewhat negative and an unfair perspective. The Cards aren’t exactly known for throwing money around at players and the fact that Keim has structured contracts so that part of their cap figure is money set aside to assure they retain their value by participation in these workouts seens like a smart and proactive measure…a sort of insurance for the benefit of the franchise and not really a “bonus” (inferring money paid on top of the regular salary as an incentive rather than part of their contract). The philosophy of our very wise coaching staff seems to indicate that they believe strongly in the importance of such a strength and conditioning program or else the changes and additions this of fseason would not have taken place. The fact that we have had such a good response by the player attendance speaks loudly to a team who desires to do the things necessary to improve individual performance that will contribute to team victories and another successful season. I think the Cards are light years ahead in their thinking on this and this may prove to be the difference maker down the stretch.

  18. By Darren Urban on Apr 27, 2014 | Reply

    Clssy —

    RE: “Cheap” Cardinals

    You make constant references to how cheap the Cardinals are. I’m curious if you could give legit recent examples. Dansby, for instance, doesn’t fly because of his age — the Cardinals were universally praised by analysts for making the right decision there. There is no question the Cardinals in their history could have been called cheap. But those days basically disappeared because of the new stadium eight years ago. Yes, there have been times when they didn’t pay someone, but it has been a football decision and not just to save money.

    So again, I ask for examples. In a salary cap world, you can’t pay everyone, nor should you. It’s how the league works.

  19. By Andy Kw on Apr 27, 2014 | Reply

    Mike Glennon. I’ve been impressed with this guy since last year before the draft.

  20. By clssylssy on Apr 27, 2014 | Reply

    Sorry Darrin…not arguing with the analyst, but I do think that merit and actual performance say more about a player’s value to a team that the very convenient age argument…John Abraham being a good example. I think the Browns offer was insane and didn’t mean to imply that the Cards should be that extreme…just say’n, I do think we could have done a little more to let Dansby know our defense valued him and this was a new era in which his efforts were recognized. That is now moot…next man up. The “age card” gets thrown a lot when the franchises are looking for an angle or leverage…and that’s how the league works. The Cards are one of the oldest franchises (the oldest) in the NFL yet until recently refused to spend money paying players on a level with the Giants, Broncos, Chiefs, Bears,other old franchises who have figured it out and been successful.
    We all live with the Cap and Keim has been masterful at navigating a mine field left by Rod Graves. Unfortunately, it sometimes takes more than a few seasons to undo the stigma a century in the making. For the record, I believe the franchise is working hard toward changing their image and the “bonus” incentives worked into contracts is very forward thinking. The bottom line is it still takes money to make money and we will soon see if John Elway’s attempt to buy a SB Team will win out over a more economy model, better coached team of talented Cardinal players.

  21. By Mike Ellingboe on Apr 27, 2014 | Reply


    Just as we can’t get enough of your man crush on a guy who only has a 1/32 chance of being on the team, or your dazzling insight into his possible physical limitations. You did say there are two or three others, please don’t leave us hanging…

  22. By Big Ken on Apr 27, 2014 | Reply

    Jason-yeah now I’ve flip flopped, going Ealy over Pryor. If we stay at 20 and he’s still there, he’s the PICK..

  23. By T.Stone on Apr 27, 2014 | Reply

    RE: Cheap
    I agree, actually if I felt like putting in a little time (I don’t) I could find examples of when the Cards were Labeled as cheap for letting a LB or a FB (Larry Centers), Wadsworth go without SHOWING THEM THE MONEY. Almost every time it proved to be the right move. Back in the day the Cards just did it backwards, they overpaid for others washed up players and let their own washed up players go. That’s why we got that label. Wrong decision with the first Larry, but most of the time I though they got it right. I still hate that we were talked about like that around the league. Remember when Simeon Rice called the Cardinals the Armpit of the NFL? Not anymore Jack.

  24. By Dr. G. on Apr 27, 2014 | Reply

    Our hard working Cheer Girls don’t get much action on this blog…. But, I kinda like their workout motto for our players too….. “ALL OUT, OR GET OUT!” … The cheer coaches are brutally honest in their process…. Our coaches should visit one of their selection workouts; they might just learn something. At least they would enjoy the view! I heard that it is difficult to blink when watching those sessions.

  25. By Walter H Richters on Apr 28, 2014 | Reply

    The new strength and conditioning coaches are doing more that just strength this year. They are efficiency experts too, and that means teaching moves that don’t use all your energy up in one quarter so you are there for the fourth quarter just as fast and strong. That’s where the track and field champ comes in. I cannot wait to see these guys in action this year. Also, there is a freaky linebacker that isn’t mentioned here in this conversation. He is 236 and runs under 4.5 in the 40. Ron Wolfley has been talking about him. Bryan Lezier (spelling), and he is another Washington. I would take a fast linebacker that can do the coverage of a safety over Pryor. Think about it.

  26. By steve88 on Apr 29, 2014 | Reply

    We would have to move up a few spots in the draft but how is this for an NFC West offensive line….Jared Veldheer…Jonathan Cooper…Lyle Sendlein…Earl Watford…TAYLOR LEWAN out of Michigan. If Earl Watford is as good as the coaches think, this would be a helluva line by midseason after they jell and all that good stuff. 1st round-Taylor Lewan….2nd round-Deone Buchannon…..3rd round…Washington TE Austin-Seferian Jenkins……….4th round-Georgia QB Aaron Murray…………..haven’t decided on 5th and 6th round picks yet.

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