Rookies signed at warp speed

Posted by Darren Urban on May 9, 2016 – 3:22 pm

It’s not hard to remember, not if you have been following the Cardinals for any length of time, but signing draft picks used to be much, much more difficult. Yes, the ease in which picks are signed these days is rules-related — once the new collective bargaining agreement essentially slotted each pick’s money and took the hardest part (money) out of the negotiating equation, things were going to speed up.

But to think the Cardinals already have all of their draft picks under contract on May 9 is impressive. The time frame to finish up since 2011, when the new CBA went into effect, has gotten earlier and earlier:

2011: Amid the chaos of so many signings as the CBA was ratified post-lockout just as training camp was starting, first-rounder Patrick Peterson and second-rounder Ryan Williams signed July 31.
2012: First-rounder Michael Floyd and third-rounder Jamell Fleming signed June 11.
2013: First-rounder Jonathan Cooper signed July 29.
2014: First-rounder Deone Bucannon signed June 5.
2015: First-rounder D.J. Humphries signed June 1.
2016: Sixth-rounder Harlan Miller, third-rounder Brandon Williams and fourth-rounder Evan Boehm sign May 9.

The Cardinals aren’t unique — the Bears have been signing their entire draft class within a couple days of the draft the last couple of seasons, for instance — but to have all those deals done not only before the players break prior to camp but before OTAs have even begun is a good thing. The days of the Cards having their first-round pick sit out at least a few days of training camp — or more, Wendell Bryant — are long over.


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23 Responses to “Rookies signed at warp speed”

  1. By D on May 9, 2016 | Reply

    Can Mr. B fire the prior GM again for that Wendell Bryant pick?

  2. By Scott H on May 9, 2016 | Reply

    Just takin’ care of business, as usual. Nice job by the front office, getting all these guys signed so they can get to work and focus on football.

  3. By Scott H on May 9, 2016 | Reply

    Funny how everyone seemed to notice when the Cardinals were one of the worst run organizations in pro sports ( before Michael taking over, before the new stadium, before players like Warner and Boldin and Wilson and Fitz ). And at times, it was hard to put up an arguement. But it is no exaggeration that they have rapidly turned around to become one of the BEST run organizations in pro sports. I wish more people noticed that but…whether they do or not, that is the reality of the Arizona Cardinals in the present day.

    And it’s good to be on board!

  4. By Dr. G. on May 9, 2016 | Reply

    Pure hypothetical – – If I found myself in a brawl with some street thugs, I would want Mathis on my side..! ((But, he probably arranges flowers as a hobby)) I think he would like to play without a helmet…a fantastic acquisition…

  5. By Dr. G. on May 9, 2016 | Reply

    Yep, he’s got our back…! I hope this link works…

  6. By CARDS62 on May 9, 2016 | Reply

    Enjoy what I am reading lately about our Cardinals.

    1) Robert N. being told to take it easy is music to my ears. Just hope he was not beating up on our new center, Evan Boehm.

    2) Evan Boehm being a stud in high school and starting all 4 seasons of college.

    3) All of our rookies signed at warp speed. I wonder if most rookies even hire or need to hire an agent any longer? I think I would just review some old contracts and handle it myself.

    To D – Funny and true comment on Wendell Bryant. If I remember correctly our pick shocked everyone.

    To JTDG – Have you rated our draft yet? Were you surprised that Eli Apple went so early? I always enjoy reading your insights?

    Darren now with the rookies signed do you know how much cap room we have left? Do you think we will be working on contract offers for Freeney and Powers in the near future?

    Hope everyone enjoys a wonderful summer and it gets over quickly so we can move on to some football.

    Go Cards!

  7. By Darren Urban on May 10, 2016 | Reply

    Cards62 —

    RE: Cap room

    I’ll have to check. I do not expect Freeney or Powers anytime soon, if at all.

  8. By Leeskiicitizen on May 10, 2016 | Reply

    I don’t know if every team does it, but it’s a nice touch to offer that quality Cardinals pen case with the pen that the first contract was signed with.

  9. By rod on May 10, 2016 | Reply


    Speaking of signing, when the team signs somebody to the team and they get cut a few weeks later how does that work money-wise? Do they get paid for each week? Is it a per year contract and they get to keep the money? How does it work, can you go into that?


  10. By Darren Urban on May 10, 2016 | Reply

    Rod —

    RE: Pay/cut

    Salaries are only paid during the regular season. Players get small weekly stipends in the offseason/preseason, but basically, if you are a fringe player in the offseason, you are working for very, very little just for a chance to make the team.

  11. By RagingREDBirds on May 10, 2016 | Reply

    I hope all this local and national talk does not go to Nkemdiche’s head. People are talking like he has already done something. This guy is everything the Cards do not like in a player. Off the field issues( think Okfor last year and possible D-Wash drug issue), does not have high motor, should have had better tape considering talent, negative family influences, I don’t think he is a team captain, questionable love for the game. Potential is the word being thrown around a lot! I hate when people try to sell you on a player cause of POTENTIAL. People want to compare him to Dockett, but 9-0 was a crazy gym rat and had a super motor. He was a changing force in the locker room at a time when the team stunk. STOP talking him up. They act like he should already be in the ring.

    Having said that… Jones, Campbell, the rookie and Golden or Freeney cld be crazy awesome four man nickle front!!!

  12. By John The Draft Guy on May 10, 2016 | Reply

    What I am excited about with this Cardinal team………….

    – We have a legit franchise QB. Yes, I wish he was 30, but he has a lot left in the tank. He will only get better this year due to number two and three on my list.

    – Our RBs. DJ is a budding star who can do it all. paired with CJ, this is a very explosive backfield.

    – For the first time, this offensive line. We all loved the left side, but the cooper experiment and Ted Larsen had to be upgraded. In comes Pro Bowler Evan Mathis. Then, a young, strong center in Boehm. We have 4 solid pieces along the line.

    – Our receivers. Is there a better 5 receiver group than Fitz, Floyd, Brown, Brown and Nelson ?

    – The addition of Chandler Jones. Every year, I have been banging the table for the cards to draft an early OLB. Every year, I came away disappointed. Jones is a legit pass rusher who can win one on one battles.

    – PP and Honey Badger are two of the best. Playmakers at the highest level.

    Things I have questions about………..

    – The 3 down lineman. It seems like strength and could be easily something to be excited about. But Nkemdichi hasn’t played yet, Gunter must improve on an excellent rookie start, and Campbell and Rucker must show they have a lot left to prove. Because of that, I think it remains a question mark.

    – DJ Humphries – A first round pick who didn’t play a down. Uhhg. Can we really rely on him? We will see.

    – Inside LB – although Bucannon has played well in the role and has actually gotten stronger this offseason, his running mate, Minter remains a liability.

    – Safety – I like Jefferson. But who else? Matheu is amazing but is coming back from his knee and may play the slot. Branch is fast. but not overly talented as his 3 teams in 3 years and 6 starts in 3 years suggest. Swearinger was a nice find after the Texans cut their 2nd round pick after 2 1/2 years.

    -The other OLB – Can Golden improve on his 4 sacks. I am not that nervous about this spot, but it is a question.

    – The CB opposite PP. Bethel is not good enough. I just don’t see it. I have heard people saying right now, today, 3rd round pick Williams and Bethel are even. With camp and preseason, the kid could pass Bethel. Let’s hope so.

    – Wild card – Improving the pass rush will help the DBs, and give a shot for Harlen Miller to step up. If the cards play a safety over top, a la the speed of Branch, Miller could be one of those “in your face-shut down CBs” . I heard BA and others use the Richard Sherman comparison and I think it is fair, because Sherman has about 50% of the time Earl Thomas lurking over top. But if you put John Brown with no help overtop and a lackluster passrush against Sherman, Josh Norman or Harlen Miller, JB is dancing in the endzone. But,with Chandler Jones coming off the edge, Nkemdichi and Campbell providing an inside rush, and Branch over top, the quick feet of Miller might just shut down JB in the same way Sherm and Norman do it.
    I questioned the pick, but after watching him and researching him a bit, he is the long shot who could surprise everyone.

  13. By mal on May 10, 2016 | Reply


    What happened to the event calendar? I think it used to be a drop-down under the “News” banner?

    I liked it — it was fun to track of the practice schedules, OTA’s, etc.

  14. By Darren Urban on May 10, 2016 | Reply

    Mal —

    RE: Event calendar

    It’s right there on the home page. It says “Up Next” right above the headlines.

  15. By John The Draft Guy on May 10, 2016 | Reply


    Eli Apple; I didn’t think he would go to the giants but I am not surprised he went high. I liked the guy.

    As for our draft, never have I thought more that this is a wait and see draft.
    Nkemdichi is a gamble especially the talent at both Dline and CB that was on the board. If it works out, great. For me, I would have drafted Mackenzie Alexander.

    In round 3,5, and 6 the DBs are projects. Above I said Harlen Miller could be a surprise. With his lack of speed, he could be released too. I really don’t know.

    I hope 3rd round pick Williams turns out to be like a 3rd round pick name Williams several years ago. My favorite cardinal still is Aeneas Williams, who, as a third round raw CB became a pro bowler. The new Williams has raw skills but may take time to put it together. If he does, his ceiling could be higher than Alexander.

    I like smart tough centers. I think Boehm is a good pick.

  16. By rod on May 11, 2016 | Reply

    Thanks Darren, I had no idea they didn’t get much money when they signed. I thought at least enough to pay basic bills while they “work” for the team.


  17. By Cactus jeff on May 11, 2016 | Reply

    The pass rush will make the secondary look better this year, no worries. RT is the key and the health of Iupati. He had a stinger last year which killed the offense. When he is healthy he is a difference maker. Love the pick of Nkemdichi.

    Does Nkemdichi pass the eye test? Oh that hurts doesn’t it? Wow did u destroy me when by looking at Cooper I said he doesn’t pass the eye test.

  18. By Darren Urban on May 11, 2016 | Reply

    Cactus —

    RE: Eye test

    Not sure to what you are referring, but I can assure you I feel fine.

  19. By mitchaz on May 11, 2016 | Reply

    John The Draft Guy:

    I enjoy your posts—they always get to the gist of things and offer excellent insights.

    I agree with the positives you elaborate on: QB Palmer, RBs DJ & CJ; the 5 WRs (all very complimentary, and when one adds the receiving threats of DJ and Andre Ellington into that equation—very imposing to defend); DE/OLBs Chandler Jones, Markus Golden (hopefully adding Dwight Freeney and getting some bang out of Tristan Okpalauga or even a young buck like Zack Wagenmann or Shaq Riddick); CB Patrick Peterson and CB/FS Honey Badger.

    The offensive line this year—if healthy—could be the most dominant run blocking unit the Cardinals have had since the days of Dan Dierdorf, Bob Young and Conrad Dobler, particularly if Evan Boehm and D.J. Humphries do their parts.

    This comes at such an auspicious time because with an veritable running game, this could keep Carson Palmer fresher and cleaner and it could add a couple more years to his career. In some way I get the sense that Palmer feels as if this is just the beginning of the run the he’s always prepped for.

    As for your questions/concerns—

    Adding Robert Nkemdiche to the DE rotation with Gunter, Campbell, Rucker, Mauro and Stinson is a plus—it could help the team keep Calais a little fresher, as he seemed to hit a wall late in the season the last two years. Plus, having Cory Peters back at NT/DT and DT Red Bryant to insert when teams are trying to run between the tackles, gives the defense some good depth in the base and in short-yardage situations. Excited to see if Xavier Williams makes a splash.

    D.J. Humphries is a question mark—should he falter somewhat, I thought Earl Watford played well at RT the first two games last year and I hope the coaches make it a true competition at that spot. It wouldn’t be a surprise either if come tomorrow (May 12th) Steve Keim adds a couple of veteran FAs who now won’t count versus the comp picks consideration (looks like the Cardinals are going to get a 5th rounder again—for Massie’s contract). Jake Long might be a good choice to be the swing tackle.

    Where I slightly differ with you is with regard to 34SILB Kevin Minter—once they relegated him to 2 down in the base duty, I thought he played well, and was one of the few bright spots versus Carolina. The fact that SK didn’t draft an ILB likely affirms that the coaches are happy with Minter as their two-down thumper.

    I also question why you are so quick to dismiss CB Justin Bethel. Sure, he had his struggles versus Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton (untested CBs likely would especially under playoff pressure)—but Bethel needs enough game experience where he can stop thinking and start balling. He’s got all the tools—he lacks the experience.

    I think Harlan Miller is the most NFL ready of the young CBs and was very surprised to see him on the board in the 6th round. I thought the Panthers would take him at #94. Miller, imo, was worthy of a late 3rd round selection.

    Brandon Williams will probably be used in the same fashion as S/CB Tyvon Branch—he will be matched up in “cat” coverage versus bigger, speedy WRs or against TEs and at times, with his speed and athleticism he will play nickel FS, as will Branch—perhaps even in tandem at times in the dime package.

    I also believe that if the CB opposite Patrick Paterson is taking little too much time to develop—the coaches will play the Honey Badger there. They will play him there some anyway, depending on the team and the matchups.

    I am very excited about A-Dub’s fave, SS Marqui Christian and love the safety situation with Jefferson, Branch, Mathieu and Swearinger—a good blend of hitters and cover guys.

    Two young CBs that have me intrigued are Elie Bouka (tremendous athlete with 4.3 speed and cover instincts, albeit seen on tapes from his Canadian league) and Ronald Zamort (pesky, sticky cover guy with 4.4 speed from Western Michigan who stood out in games versus Ohio St. and Michigan St.).

    As for STs—I really think Garrett Swanson has a decent chance of beating out Drew Butler—not only does he seem to have a stronger leg, he can consistently hit kickoffs out of the end zone—which at times Cat has struggled to do.

    My biggest question is who is going to be the punt returner. BA has been touting J.J. Nelson, but I an not sure he’s physically the part—speed yes, but too thin. Plus, at UAB he was fumble prone of returns.

  20. By BIGAL on May 11, 2016 | Reply

    I too really liked Mackenzie Alexander…I kept hoping for a trade down to try and get two 2nds for the 29th…Maybe even throwing in one of our 5ths…The Titans had 3 second Round picks!!! Not sure even now if nobody would trade w/us or if SK was just soo enamored w/ the Nkemdiche pick that they just kept it??? So w/that said, would you have taken Mac Alexander @ 29? Its hard not having any 2nd Rnd pick…this draft appeared to me that the talent level really carried over from the 1st Rnd well into the 2nd…I therefore, have to keep telling myself…Oh yeah, that’s right we got Chandler Jones in the 2nd Rnd!

  21. By John The Draft Guy on May 11, 2016 | Reply

    Big Al,

    If I was the GM, yes, at 29, I would have taken Mackenzie Alexander.

    Why? First, I think Alexander could be a solid compliment to PP. Second, I think we have several veteran Dlineman including a possible starting lineup of Campbell, Gunter, and Rucker. We could have taken a dlineman like Hassan Ridgeway in the 3rd round who could be a solid young, penetrating DE behind our starters. Or take a kid like Willie Henry for NT and bump Gunter to DE.

    Now, I am not saying I do not like what Keim did this year (which is the first time I am not outright outraged about the draft), but Keim has a huge risk and reward draft. This years draft class could be his best or worst because they all are risk picks in the way they have huge ceilings but have huge flaws.

    But as BA says, “no risk it, no biscuit”

  22. By John The Draft Guy on May 11, 2016 | Reply


    I agree with most of your points but they still are questions.

    For example,
    one reason Keim took a chance on Nkemdichi is the lack of an inside rush. Last year, the DEs and NTs tallied 11 sacks on the season lead by CC. So they added Nkemdichi to hopefully add to it. But Nkemdichi has questions about his motor and off the field issues. With Campbell and Rucker on the wrong side of 30 getting 8 of the 11 sacks, this has to remain a big question mark.

    With Humphries as a question mark, it doesnt ease my mind that we have Watford as our vet back up. In 3 years, Watford has a total of 2 starts.

    Bethel is in year 5. He is no longer allowed to be still learning and given a pass. A 5 year vet should seize the spot and give no one doubts. He has 5 starts under his belt. He has to be a huge question mark.

    I do agree that Harlen Miller could end up starting opposite PP. But again, that remains to be seen.

    My questions are not necessarily knocks on anyone. It is more like, these guys have potential and they need to show they can do it.

    Lets face it, can anyone tell me guys with 5 starts, 0 starts, 0 starts, and 2 starts are sure things?

  23. By CARDS62 on May 12, 2016 | Reply

    JTDG thanks for answering my post and to others like mitchaz for their input.

    I answered on draft day that I would have taken Spence, but Robert N., would be my second pick with what was available to us so I was and I am happy with our pick. I 100% agree with the point you made we really were not getting a push up the middle on pass plays so I think he can help us tremendously .I must admit with everything that is coming out about Ole Miss I am worried our newest player picked up some bad habits so I hope our veterans and coaches can set him straight.I really like Dwight Freeney on the field and in the locker room so I hope we resign him.

    What do you guys think of bringing Powers back? He is not a pro bowler, but I thought he did a good job and our pass rush is going to be better this year.
    Strange he has not been picked up yet,

    Concerning our offensive line – I have lost count of how many years I have been waiting for us to have a strong line so I will believe it when I see it. I do appreciate that Steve Keim is trying to fix our line after Rod Graves did very little. I do like our center pick out of Missouri so I am worried but hopeful that this is finally the year.

    This is truly the golden years for being a Cardinal fan and I am grateful and cherish every one. I do not think I have ever been more positive about our club going into a season.

    Go Cards!

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