Dockett and the chance to return

Posted by Darren Urban on February 27, 2015 – 4:06 pm

Normally, a key veteran like Darnell Dockett is released and I try to sum up his career in Arizona as his tenure comes to an end. Dockett certainly is one of those guys. But that plan is in a holding pattern now because, quite frankly, his tenure might not have come to an end yet. This has happened before; Levi Brown was released because of his big contract numbers, he spent a few days to explore what else might be out there for him, and he decided to return.

Dockett gets that chance. He’ll have more than a week’s jump on the scheduled free agents out there waiting for March 10 (although there are plenty of other veterans who have already been released) to see what is available. No reason to talk about Dockett as if he’s gone when it could turn out that he’s not.

In some ways, Dockett is in the same place Karlos Dansby was last year when Dansby became a free agent. Or Antonio Cromartie figures to be in this year. The Cardinals want such players, but with the way they have organized their roster and salary cap while using analytics, there are contract numbers the team can live with. In Dansby’s case, the money per year was about the same that he was offered from Cleveland, but the Browns offered four years (so naturally, more guaranteed money) and the Cardinals two. So Dansby went with Cleveland. Cromartie is expected to be in the same boat in terms of considering competing offers, and it makes sense that Dockett will too, judging by Steve Keim’s comments today.

Dockett has played a huge role in how this franchise has turned it around in the last decade. Team president Michael Bidwill has said that, like Larry Fitzgerald, he wants to have Dockett retire a Cardinal. I don’t think that thought has changed.

So if Dockett ends up signing elsewhere, then yes, I’ll post a retrospective. We’re not there yet.


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48 Responses to “Dockett and the chance to return”

  1. By George on Feb 27, 2015 | Reply

    This is the unfortunate side of the business of pro football. I hope Doc comes back but will understand if he signs elsewhere. I will send my thank you and good luck if that happens. For now, my fingers are crossed for his return.

  2. By joe.holst on Feb 27, 2015 | Reply

    He is gone, oh well move on

  3. By georgiebird on Feb 27, 2015 | Reply

    Cutting DD was a solid move by SK. The 3-4 is not conducive to DD’s talents- he’s not a NT or a DE and of course the money was the biggest factor.
    But make no mistake about it- DD was a warrior. Along with Anquan, these two guys have an in-game intensity that the Cardinals must replace.
    One of the biggest challenges for SK is to bring guys in here who play the game like Q, DD, Marshawn Lynch, Clay Matthews and Patrick Willis in order to counterbalance the plethora of nice guys we have.

  4. By tkm on Feb 27, 2015 | Reply

    docket has been a real good player,but as most of us if there is a chance for big money elsewhere at same job,i think most of us would do that.i also think that when its about millions of dollars,a few less dollars should not affect your choice.either way I feel he has been a dedicated cardinal,would love to see him stay,but not right to be mad at him if chooses to leave.glad he was a cardinal as long as he has been,hope even longer,cards fan since 1965

  5. By Berdj Joseph Rassam on Feb 27, 2015 | Reply

    The Cards could definitely use the services of someone with the talent that Dockett has.

  6. By Eli on Feb 27, 2015 | Reply

    This needs to be sorted out, i understand the cap is too high but Dockett is a necessity to us. I hope that he can come back and this can be worked out, as we are looking at a good season ahead.

  7. By steve88 on Feb 27, 2015 | Reply

    Say it ain’t so……………..Joe.

  8. By Andy Kw on Feb 27, 2015 | Reply

    Hey Darren,
    Did Dockett lose weight while he was on IR? He looks skinnier

  9. By Darren Urban on Feb 28, 2015 | Reply

    Andy Kw —

    RE: Dockett weight

    Yes, he did lose weight. He talked about going on a strict diet for a while. Think he said he dropped about 15 pounds.

  10. By CreditCard on Feb 27, 2015 | Reply

    Hopefully Docket and Cards agree on a price, as a PT player (much like Kelly). Need to sign Dumpster Dan Williams. Pick up Henry Melton, and Parrish Cox (hopefully his legal issues are behind him). Orakpo would look good in Cardinal red as would Ryan Mathews, and Orlando Franklin.

    All these players s/b relatively affordable

  11. By Marlin on Feb 27, 2015 | Reply

    We want him back, but at the right price.

  12. By Steve Weston on Feb 27, 2015 | Reply

    I completely understand the idea that both sides have to do what is best for their situation. No blame from me for the Cardinals as an organization – they’ve proven that they are not the same team they were in the recent past. Same goes for Dockett, I do think he has some gas left in the tank, and if he is offered a big contract elsewhere he’d probably be a fool not to take it.

    But damn, I do hope to somehow see him in Cardinal red next season…

  13. By Robbird on Feb 27, 2015 | Reply

    Dockett is a leader. He was with the team the whole year on the sideline, coaching and motivating. Why have him do this if you’re going to cut him the following year? Makes zero sense. Maybe Dock is just testing the waters. 90 I want to see you back!!!! Please!!!!!!!

  14. By Jom on Feb 27, 2015 | Reply

    Darren, I’m confused on the free agency thing. How does free agency start March10, yet McCown can sign with Cleveland. What am I missing?

  15. By Darren Urban on Feb 28, 2015 | Reply

    Jom —

    RE: Free agency

    Free agency starts March 10 because that’s when all players whose contracts went through 2014 expire. That’s why, for instance, Antonio Cromartie can’t sign until then. His contract doesn’t officially expire until March 10.

    McCown was cut by the Bucs a few weeks ago. So he’s “on the street.” Same with Dockett. Dockett was under contract, he was cut, so now he’s not under contract and free to sign wherever.

  16. By march171999 on Feb 28, 2015 | Reply

    Ok, first off. Darren I wanted to ask u if the new NFL veteran combine will be televised. Also, docket is the biggest team leader on the cards, I think it could be hard for the players to “get motivated” without someone like darnell. Thank u

  17. By Darren Urban on Feb 28, 2015 | Reply

    march171999 —

    RE: Vets combine

    I don’t know if it will be on TV.

  18. By Eazy E on Feb 28, 2015 | Reply

    I hope we re-sign my man Dockett! He is way too important to our success to just let him walk. He is a great pass rusher and run defender. He is also a great leader and he needs to retire a Cardinal hopefully!

  19. By jason on Feb 28, 2015 | Reply

    Well said George.

    Thank you for addressing this Darren. When I saw that Dock was released I immediately thought of all of the crazy comments that were going to be coming on the blog. I was glad to see that you’d already written a post breaking it down…it’s not good bye yet dock fans, it’s all a part of the process.

  20. By Big Ken on Feb 28, 2015 | Reply

    Probably not much left at age 34.

  21. By LadyBird04 on Feb 28, 2015 | Reply

    Couple of tweets indicate Dockett failed a physical. (Mike Jurecki and Joss Weinfuss) Darren: do you know if this is true and what was the cause of the “failure”? Was it a big or small issue or just that his rehab hasn’t progressed to total fulfillment?

    Love seeing Dockett in Card Red but if he is unable to play this year (or possibly ever) totally understand the cut. I believe his agent is Drew Rosenhouse (spelling?) and his bargaining style has always been a tough stance towards all negotiations. This could make it difficult, if not impossible, for Dockett to return.

  22. By Darren Urban on Feb 28, 2015 | Reply

    LadyBird —

    RE: Failed physical

    A lot of players released right now have the “failed physical” designation when they are coming off an injury. I read it had to do with how they qualified for a certain insurance or something like that. I don’t think Dock even did a physical recently. It doesn’t have anything to do with this situation. If Dockett and the Cards had been able to agree on money, this wouldn’t be an issue. And if Dockett decides his best offer/situation is still Arizona, it won’t be an issue then either.

  23. By Kevin Wilcox on Feb 28, 2015 | Reply

    Please don’t go your my favorite Cardinal I named one of my Kids after you.

  24. By Eric G on Feb 28, 2015 | Reply

    Smart move, hope that frees up enough cap space to re-sign him and possibly AJ Hawk.

  25. By MikeinMesa on Feb 28, 2015 | Reply

    Dockett wasn’t a leader. He was a loose cannon. The media and fans wanted to portray him as some kind of leader. Diminishing skills and coming off and injury. Smart move to cut him.

  26. By march171999 on Feb 28, 2015 | Reply

    Thank u Darren for responding and is there any way 2 find out if it will be televised???

  27. By Andy Kw on Feb 28, 2015 | Reply

    Before FA, we must:
    -Restructure deals: C.Palmer, D.Stanton, D.Washington, J.Powers
    -Cut: C Lyle Sendlein, OLB Lorenzo Alexander, S Chris Clemons, P Drew Butler

    During FA after the required restructures, we should sign to:
    Big contracts: OG Orlando Franklin, (5yr $37.5M)
    Balanced contracts: RB Steven Jackson (2yr $6M), C Samson Satele (2yr $4M), ILB Brad Jones (2yr $4M)
    Cheap Contracts: TE James Casey (2yr $1.5M), OLB Andy Studebaker (1yr $750K), NT Barry Cofield (2yr $2.5M)

    Resign: OLB Sam Acho (3yr $5M), DT Tommy Kelly (2yr $5M)

    Mock Draft:
    1) Alvin “Bud” Dupree (Kentucky), 2) ILB Stephone Anthony (Clemson), 3) C Reese Dismukes, 4) NT Ellis McCarthy (UCLA), 5) WR Stefon Diggs (Maryland), 6) RB John Crockett (North Dakota St), 7) OG Aundrey Walker (USC), 7) OLB Lynden Trail (Norfolk St.)

    During preseason, expected competition:
    Battle for roster spots: (RBs Kerwynn Williams, Stepfan Taylor, Marion Grice, Robert Hughes, Drafted RB), (OGs Earl Watford, Anthony Steen, Drafted OG), (ILBs Glenn Carson, Kevin Minter, Kenny Demens),

  28. By Jacob Hewitt on Feb 28, 2015 | Reply

    You mean UCLA QB

  29. By Jacob Hewitt on Feb 28, 2015 | Reply

    Adrian Peterson is the best plan for the Cardinals.
    I can just see him in red

  30. By NJAzCardsFan on Feb 28, 2015 | Reply

    Well, I know of one team Dockett is not gong to and that is the Titans…. Whiz fined him $200k after the Jets game and Dockett said he wanted to be traded if Whiz came back. Then Whiz was fired.

  31. By Jerry on Feb 28, 2015 | Reply

    I have read a lot of comments ridiculing Dockett about chasing money when no one even knows what the Cardinals offered him. At 34 coming back from major knee surgery, I’m thinking his $ value is not very high. I’m sure he has 2-3 years l left in him. He will be lucky to get offered more than a year contract elsewhere.

  32. By Andy Kw on Feb 28, 2015 | Reply

    I used the mock draft simulator and this is what I got, without compensatory P’s
    -This is the guy we have been raving about. A pass rusher with speed and size.
    -His speed, strength, and size is intriguing. End of Kevin Minter project????
    -Need a safety blanket in case of D.Williams departure. Traits are there.
    -Surprised he was available but he can contribute as WR and ST returner.
    -Impressive at the combine. Could move on from Earl Watford.
    -Physical traits and success at small school. Would be a steal in the 6th.
    -He has the strength to be a good blocking TE. Reminds me of Julius Thomas abit

  33. By georgiebird on Feb 28, 2015 | Reply

    It will be interesting to see if DD goes to a 4-3 team or a 3-4. If he continues to play, I’m looking for DD to go to a 4-3 team

  34. By Dre on Feb 28, 2015 | Reply

    I hope he comes back sad sad day. Pay the man he done more for this team then most.

  35. By jwoodaz on Feb 28, 2015 | Reply

    Hey I hope I get it. I’ve said in the past that Dockett was worth keeping on, and quite possibly the money is supposed to be for what you’ve done, and for what you are about to do going forward. There was a loss of year, and even when anyone can get injured seriously, it happened to him. I don’t think he should be penalized for getting hurt, but it did affect the the rotation of the d line and by end of season, it wore down. saying this, Dockett although rehabbing in this time, did not receive a season of in the trenches, on his body. Unless of course he can’t physically perform in the next two years due to the injury, then he should come back fine, maybe now a rotation man himself this year and maybe next. He can help get this team the ring in many ways,and with more consistent quarterback starters, this is the year, and next year. The want to renegotiate on a contract that has three years left is a little disappointing to me, not classy at all. Please don’t give me the this is a business thing either cause three years left is just that, not going into final year or even two years, just doesn’t seem right. I thought the players were represented. He should get the best offer from the Cards after a market test, but time will tell. I don’t believe this would of been an issue five years ago why should it be now? Some may say a renegotiation is good business but is it fair business? We are talking several million dollars out of Dockett’s life now. Is this the business? Maybe contracts should be rethought before they are written. Larry Fitzgerald may be a face of the franchise, Darnell Dockett has been the heart of this Cardinal Defense. For good or bad, Before the knee, he missed 2 games in ten years…
    Renegotiate to keep Dan Williams, ok but Bowles can pay more and will. To keep Tommy Kelly, I’m all for it, Shaunessy will be full health again too, to keep him? Ok. Ta’Amu will be back too, on a contract year, so yes I get the need to do it, renegotiate, yes. Now if they are basically asking for a sacrifice, then have Carson pony up too. Rethink contracts, maybe in the near future, maybe for all team members then, not just three or four, that’s bull to me. Why tear apart a veteran defensive line? I hope all parties involved figure it out, so this year isn’t a step back after the two previous forward step years…
    Good Luck Darnell Dockett and to all.

  36. By Darren Urban on Mar 1, 2015 | Reply

    jwoodaz —

    RE: Dockett deal

    Dockett had just one year left on his contract. Not sure where you are getting three years.

  37. By jwoodaz on Mar 1, 2015 | Reply

    well ty Darren, I guess I need to rethink my post then, apologize if i offended anyone then. I still would like to stay with my feelings on bringing him in to the fold once more, will still be a service to the d line this season and next. Wow again apologies on the rant..

  38. By Scott H on Mar 1, 2015 | Reply

    Yeah, I hope he comes back, too. Wow….first time since he was drafted in 2004 that DD is not an Arizona Cardinal. Hard to imagine that. Geez, I remember a game against Tampa Bay during either his first or 2nd year – at home in Sun Devil – when DD was returning either a fumble recovery or an INT AFTER he had somehow lost his helmet on the play. I knew right then that I loved this guy! If memory serves, I think the Cardinals won that game with 4 FG’s and whole lotta defense, final score 12-0 ( ? ).

    My other favorite memory of DD was, of course, the game he played in the SB. What a BEAST he was that day! Probably his single most dominant game ever. Had the Cards won that game, I wonder if he might actually have gotten MVP consideration. Warner or Fitz were probably the most likely candidates, but DD was definitely the best player on the other side of the ball that day.

    Someone recently pointed out the comments that DD made about Dansby after he flew the coop from here to grab the money in Cleveland. That certainly adds a little intrigue to this situation. Wonder if Dansby is just waiting for a chance to fire back if DD does the same. BUT, to be fair, Dansby was not released by the team. DD was. Dansby was also not a career Cardinal. DD is. Makes ya wonder if the hurt factor ( for lack of a better word ) from being released by the Cardinals will affect DD’s desire to return.

    My guess is that he will be elsewhere if he gets an offer that is clearly better than what the Cards may be willing / able to offer. Ah well. I’m not clearing out his locker yet. But if I had to choose between keeping Fitz or DD, Fitz was my no-doubt-about-it choice. I think our D has a better chance of surviving the loss of DD than the offense would have had of surviving the loss of #11.

    Regardless, I would welcome DD to our Ring of Honor ANY DAY!!!!

  39. By mal on Mar 1, 2015 | Reply

    My guess is DD will be back.

    This could just be a way to find out what DD’s really worth, so the Cards and him can come to an agreement for a new contract.

  40. By Coach K on Mar 1, 2015 | Reply

    Keim had no choice. Price was too high and if you figure his age and coming off knee injury, this was a necessary cut. I hope he resigns and finishes career here.

  41. By Andy Kw on Mar 1, 2015 | Reply

    I’d assume we would attempt to sign LaMarr Woodley to a bargain deal after he’s cut. Because of the Arians connection with him as a former Steeler and Bob Sanders connection with him as last years LB Coach for the Raiders. Seems most logical as a situation pass rusher on a lesser extent compared to John Abraham.
    -This is probably the most obvious of FAs we would attempt to sign. He won’t be our starter but his experience is needed in mentoring whoever we plan to draft for our future. I’d expect this team to draft an OLB with our 1st RD pick.

  42. By D on Mar 2, 2015 | Reply

    Two players released over the weekend that I would bring in for physicals and possible sign..Justin Blalock G from Atl and L. Woodley OLB from Oak both could be signed asap since they were released…Blalock would be an upgrade over Faniaka and Woodley is a better fit in a 3-4.

  43. By Zach on Mar 2, 2015 | Reply


    Does cutting DD mean a $3 million cap hit in dead money? If so, why would Keim bring him back – he would carry a new contract plus $3 million in a dead money hit. It seems like he either restructured so there is no dead money hit, or he is gone for good.

    Am I missing something? Thanks

  44. By Darren Urban on Mar 2, 2015 | Reply

    Zach —

    RE: Cap hit

    There was going to be the same dead money, new contract or not. You can’t eliminate dead money just by restructuring a deal.

  45. By Andy Kw on Mar 2, 2015 | Reply

    I really think Larry Fitzgerald is the same receiver we always had, just with a little less speed. When he is one on one, give him a shot. I truly believe Larry Fitzgerald is going to get back to his 1000+ yards ways this upcoming season. Guys like Steve Smith and Andre Johnson are old receivers that can still produce big numbers because they are the trusted receivers on their team. Obviously the Cards should not force it to him but when the opportunities presents himself when he is one on one, give him a chance.

  46. By Zach on Mar 2, 2015 | Reply

    I did not know that about dead money. So with Fitz he had a dead money hit of $14+mil if we cut him, but after the restructure I thought his cap hit this year is $11 mil.

    Did I get Fitz’s numbers wrong?

  47. By Darren Urban on Mar 2, 2015 | Reply

    Zach —

    RE: Dead money

    You are right, but when they restructured they gave him a 4-year deal on paper, spreading out the cap hit (and remaining dead money). It’s all about accounting.

  48. By Zach on Mar 2, 2015 | Reply

    Gotcha, thanks Darren. So since the FO can spread that dead money out over 2 yrs or take it all this year, it is effectively the same thing as offering DD a 2 year contract from a dead money perspective

    Unless it was a 3 yr or longer deal, the Dead money is all the same. Makes sense, and since DD is older, 2 yrs is probably all Keim wanted.

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