Well, if you are hoping for a splashy free agent move from the Cardinals, you may just get your wish: Three-time Pro Bowl guard Mike Iupati, who has been with the 49ers, could be coming to Arizona.
49ers free-agent G Mike Iupati has told people he plans to sign with the Arizona Cardinals, per sources. Iupati vs. SF DT Darnell Dockett.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 9, 2015
Again, nothing is done at this point. (And if you aren’t sure about that, former 49ers running back Frank Gore was reported by many as a done deal to go to the Eagles — until the reports came out Monday that he now could back away from Philly. Until a guy is signed, he’s not signed.) That said, Iupati is considered by many as the top interior lineman on the free agent market. So when Bruce Arians said he wanted competition on the interior of the offensive line, that’s one way to get it, although it kind of ends the competition before it even begins. It’d be naive to think, if they sign Iupati, he wouldn’t be an automatic starter.
Iuapti is known as a devastating run blocker. His pass blocking is not nearly as revered, especially when trying to block for scrambler Colin Kaepernick. But if he is signed it would give the Cardinals a lot of flexibility on the line. You still have to figure Jonathan Cooper is penciled in to be a starter as the 2013 No. 1 draft pick. He, like Iupati, has been a left guard, so one of them would have to play the right side. Ted Larsen could battle Lyle Sendlein at center (although with his $3 million salary, Sendlein could still be a cap casualty at some point.) The Cardinals could still look for a center in free agency too.
It’s not as if the 49ers were planning to have Iupati come back, but still, it’s a shot against an NFC West rival. And it hasn’t been a good day for the 49ers anyway, since the news that linebacker Patrick Willis likely will retire and so too might defensive lineman Justin Smith. At this rate, Darnell Dockett is going to be one of the longest tenured vets on the 49ers in a short period of time.
Tags: Jonathan Cooper, Lyle Sendlein, Mike Iupati, Ted Larsen
Posted in Blog | 33 Comments »