With workouts, volunteering to be paid

Posted by Darren Urban on April 2, 2015 – 4:31 pm

When the strength and conditioning program begins for the Cardinals (and around most of the league) April 20, the tendency is to wonder, “Who isn’t there?” Then becomes the rash of “Remember, it’s only voluntary” answers.

(The teams with new head coaches can begin sooner.)

As the years have gone on and teams have hoped that their players would show up to such voluntary work, many contracts have been drawn up with workout bonuses attached. For a pretty good chunk of change, the players just have to come to a high percentage of the voluntary workout dates. The Cardinals are no different.

A list of the players on the active roster that have workout bonuses. (NT Alameda Ta’amu has a workout-like bonus, but that money is tied to making weight, not just showing up to work):

P Dave Zastudil $270,000
DE Calais Campbell $250,000
QB Drew Stanton $250,000
LB Sean Weatherspoon $250,000
S Rashad Johnson $150,000
DT Corey Peters $150,000
LB Matt Shaughnessy $125,000
CB Patrick Peterson $100,000
LB Lorenzo Alexander $100,000
S Tyrann Mathieu $50,000
C/G A.Q. Shipley $25,000
C/G Ted Larsen $25,000


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Posted in Blog | 21 Comments »

21 Responses to “With workouts, volunteering to be paid”

  1. By Chuck 1 on Apr 2, 2015 | Reply

    I don’t have an objection to the players being paid for the strength and conditioning program.
    However, I would use a different name than “BONUS”.

  2. By jwoodaz on Apr 2, 2015 | Reply


  3. By Coach K on Apr 2, 2015 | Reply

    Can I sign up to work out at those prices Darren?

    Will coach allow me to have donuts and coffee too?

  4. By Andy Kw on Apr 3, 2015 | Reply

    Jorrick Calvin

  5. By John The Draft Guy on Apr 3, 2015 | Reply

    Reading Darren’s chat, he feels the cards will go OLB (provided an outstanding player doesn’t slip to 24 at another position). I have been watching the OLBs/DEs and this is one man’s opinion on the players in the draft.

    Fowler and Beasley will not make it out of the top 10. Ray and Gregory will not make it out of the top 15.

    Bud Depree will not make it pass #22. The Steelers lost OLBs and have lived on a pass rush.

    So, at 24 (and into round 2), the pass rushers available are Eli Harold, Owa Odighizuwa, Danielle Hunter, Nate Orchard, Hau’oli KiKaha, Preston Smith, and Lorenzo Mauldin.

    Eli Harold;
    If the cards are looking to add speed, this is the guy. He is strong at the point of attack, but can dip and get under Tackles punch. Good first step. He could move inside, because of his ability to hit the A and B gaps on blitzes, but I think he will stay outside. The cards are better if he is drafted.

    Owa Odighizuwa;
    Great first step and speed. But I see him as a 4-3 DE. He has talent and will be a nice strong side DE for someone. Say the Falcons. But I don’t believe he is a stand up guy who can drop into coverage.

    Danielle Hunter;
    Amazing athlete. Fast, big, has all the measurables. But no production.I don’t like guys who did not produce in college and for some reason, they will now as a pro. Red Flag guy

    Nate Orchard;
    I like this guy as a pass rusher. But he is only that at this point, a pass rusher. He will be a project to develop to get him as an every down player due to his weak play against the run. He is a guy who could drop due to being just a pass rush guy.

    Hau’oli Kikaha;
    Another pass rush guy only. But I feel he could grow into the OLB role. Has had knee injuries, but if healthy, this guy will be a plus on your team. I remember Koa Misi coming out as a high motor guy and has done a great job as a SAM LB. I think Kikaha is a much better pass rusher than Misi but they both are high motor guys who every team wants.

    Preston Smith;
    This guy will have a nice career on a 4-3 team as the LDE. I think he has a nice game but no way do I see him standing up as an OLB.

    Lorenzo Mauldin;
    I think he is a solid player. he will set the edge, get back in coverage and get some sacks. He reminds me of Alex Okafor. solid play and 8-10 sacks.

    A couple of sleepers;
    Kyle Emanual- small school guy who has size and quickness. registered 19.5 sacks in 2014. Could be a 4-5th round surprise
    Zack Hodges- battling a injury, he did his pro day and his numbers weren’t great. but he is explosive and can play inside or out.

    If I had to bet right now, Harold will be the pick at 24. Interesting enough though, he is not the 24th best player in the draft. He will make the team better.

  6. By clssylssy on Apr 3, 2015 | Reply

    Always enjoy your anlyses. Hard for me to work up too much enthusiasm as I never seem to be on the same page as Keim/Arians and only end up frustrated and somewhat disappointed. Since they have been drafting, we’ve only been in agreement on Tyrann Mathieu LOL! At this point, I’m feeling “mocked draft to death” and just want it to be over so we can get an idea of where we stand!
    With regard to “voluntary” workouts, as far as I’m concerned this should be a part of the job description just the same as many other professionals have to have CEUs for licensure (for which most have to pay with their own funds). The truly elite players cross train year round as part of their life routine and understand that they are investing in their craft and their future. I consider myself a player advocate but this seems like a reach!

  7. By Coach K on Apr 3, 2015 | Reply


    I think this is a really good list you have. When they come off the board sounds right too. I know for sure Mauldin is a round two guy, and your observation of Owa is spot on. I feel he is a 4-3 end also. UCLA did allow him to play up this past year, but as he grows, I see his hand on the ground. Orchard is a mystery. Takes plays off and looks slow at times. Can’t figure that guy out.

    I hope the Cards do not take a running back in round one. This draft is so deep with backs its not the right place to pull the trigger. Pass rusher or athletic corner is about right at #24.

  8. By Cactus jeff on Apr 3, 2015 | Reply

    How I grade SK’s first 2 rounds so far, it could change for better or worse

    Minter D
    Cooper D
    Niklas, D
    Bucannon B

    He has done great in FA and the lower rounds A to A+

  9. By Andy Kw on Apr 3, 2015 | Reply

    Owa Odighizuwa; I see this guy as more of a coverage LB than a pass rusher. He does not fit our system and does not address our need.
    Nate Orchard; This guy is going to be like Vernon Gholston. A lot of hype and scouts seeing him as a potential 1st Rd or early 2nd Rd selection. But his skills that he apparently has won’t transition.
    Preston Smith; This guy can would be a major project and won’t be able to contribute in the way we would expect. He has a high ceiling but will have a tough time learning the OLB position.
    Best bet: Eli Harold is fast, powerful at the point of attack, and can drop into coverage and contribute as a pass rusher early. We draft him and we improve significantly

  10. By Eazy E on Apr 4, 2015 | Reply


  11. By Chuck 1 on Apr 4, 2015 | Reply

    Easy E,

    Not mula, MOOLA.

  12. By Coach K on Apr 5, 2015 | Reply

    Just remember, the second best QB in this draft is from the state of Oregon. But it’s not who you think?

  13. By Coach K on Apr 5, 2015 | Reply

    Happy Easter everyone. I wanted to share this video I found that brought a tear to my eye. Hope you like it.

  14. By Big Ken on Apr 5, 2015 | Reply

    The NFL draft is like golf, you want to make all the right moves and you want your opponents to mess up, make errors. Happy Easter everybody…

  15. By Scott H on Apr 6, 2015 | Reply

    I find it kinda interesting that PRO athletes get a monetary bonus for working out…which you would figure they should be doing anyway! It’s kinda their JOB, isn’t it??? Damn…with the money they get paid AND with the competition for roster spots on these teams….and they still need a BONUS to get them to show up for a PERCENTAGE of the workouts???

    Shoot…. let somebody offer ME some of that workout money! I’d quit my job tomorrow and get my rear end in the best shape it’s ever been in! 🙂 Might take a while, but I’ll get there!

    Hope the Bunny was good to everyone this Easter!

  16. By Darren Urban on Apr 7, 2015 | Reply

    Scott H —

    RE: Working out

    Every player is always working out. That isn’t the point. The point is that the workouts at the facility are voluntary. In the past, many players preferred to work out with their own trainers at their own gyms. Teams would prefer that the workouts happen at the facility with their strength coach. This bolsters that motivation.

    (That said, some players actually do multiple workouts in the offseason, a session at the team facility and another with a private trainer.)

  17. By clssylssy on Apr 7, 2015 | Reply

    I was always of the impression that OTA’s were for motivation (kinda like attendance at a company party). If the strength and conditioning program is vital to the functioning of the team (a gimme for a any real athlete dedicated to his craft) why then are only twelve players being paid and what is that pay based on…value…performance..etc?

  18. By Darren Urban on Apr 7, 2015 | Reply

    Clssy —

    RE: Bonuses

    Not all players/agents are willing to tie up money in such bonuses. And if other players are guys who usually show anyway, the team doesn’t have a lot of motivation to add in that kind of summer money.

  19. By Scott H on Apr 7, 2015 | Reply

    Darren –

    So…it’s like getting a bonus for actually coming into the office instead of working from home? I’m not trying to be a wise-ass, but that’s what it sounds like to me!

    I get what you are saying. Obviously, teams feel like they have a better idea of what players are doing and where they are physically when they can see them at the team facilities. I guess what gets me is that there is actually a bonus ( and a pretty nice one! ) for this. It really does seem like getting a bonus for coming into the office instead of working at home. Or somewhere else. Seems like pretty easy money if, as you say, the players are always working out, anyway.

  20. By Darren Urban on Apr 7, 2015 | Reply

    Scott H —

    RE: Easy money

    I can’t say I disagree. I could easily do more of my work from home. I wish I got extra for coming to the office.

  21. By Scott H on Apr 7, 2015 | Reply

    Darren –

    THAT’S what I’m sayin’! Not that I expect the NFL to work like the rest of the world does. This is just one of those NOT so little perks that pro athletes get, I guess. They truly have their own little world. I guess there are some cons they have to deal with that maybe aren’t so pleasant and maybe we have no clue what they are. But….man, when I see someone getting 3-5X my annual salary as a BONUS for doing something that doesn’t appear to be much of a stretch for them, it sure is hard to believe the perks don’t far out-weigh the downside.

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