Freeney’s visits and the roster wait

Posted by Darren Urban on May 25, 2016 – 2:06 pm

Would Dwight Freeney be brought back? Until he signs elsewhere, I suppose that’s possible. But he just visited the Bengals and news came today he’s going to visit the Falcons, and at some point, if he makes sense somewhere else, he may just come off the market. In the meantime, it’s understandable that the Cardinals don’t see a need to have him right now.

The trade for Chandler Jones obviously impacted the situation. If Freeney — who was originally signed because Alex Okafor got hurt, if you recall — was the lead pass rusher, well, that’s Jones’ job now. Markus Golden likely is the other starter, and a healthy Okafor is back and apparently past whatever was left from his playoff disappearance. Plus, the Cards want to see what they have in Tristan Okapalaugo, Shaq Riddick and Zack Wagenmann.

If we get to training camp and Freeney remains unsigned and the depth isn’t looking quite like what the Cardinals wanted, Freeney would be a natural option. This deep into the offseason, though, it feels like a long-term waiting game, if it were to happen at all.


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24 Responses to “Freeney’s visits and the roster wait”

  1. By clssylssy on May 25, 2016 | Reply

    Signing Freeney only has an upside. He’s a proven contributor and playmaker and has the experience and wisdom brings added on-field education our defense desperately needs. We are rich with potential talent,but a good part of our success last season was due not only to the well polished skill sets of our veterans but their experience in knowing how to play tough,pacing themselves to know how to navigate the road to the big dance is what will take us there. This seems like such a no-brainer, it’s not like he’s asking for the keys to the Kingdom…Com’on man, sign him to another incentive based contract in time for him to help out with training camp!

  2. By mal on May 25, 2016 | Reply


    I never understood the Shaq Riddick situation.

    I keep hearing high praise of his potential, but wasn’t he an active-roster scratch every game last year?

    Hurt in training camp set him back, but then not play one snap? Did he thread some kind of needle — too talented for the PS, too nicked to play, but not nicked enough for IR?

  3. By Darren Urban on May 25, 2016 | Reply

    Mal —

    RE: Riddick

    Active for one game, but he did not play. He was healthy once they got into camp. Basically a redshirt year, like Humphries. We’ll see if it matters.

  4. By SeeingRed on May 25, 2016 | Reply

    Couldn’t agree more. Intangibles. However, they may see a need to sign a vet cornerback still

  5. By creditcard on May 25, 2016 | Reply

    It is obvious that Okafor did something wrong, and does not want the general public to know. That is his decision, and that is in the past.

    Another OLB is Kareem Martin.

    I would imagine this is a big off-season for Martin, Okafor, Riddick, Wagenmann and Okpalaugo. Competition will be intense among these players. 5 players trying to get 2 roster positions and 1 practice squad position.

    Amazing on how the acquisition of Jones and the development of Golden has changed the entire picture of the Cards OLB position.

  6. By D on May 25, 2016 | Reply

    Limited CAP space, Cards need to still fit in a veteran backup Left Tackle. I don’t see Freeney back.

    Week 1, worse case scenario- J. Veldheer goes down. Right now you would have to move D.J. to play Left Tackle and Watford to play Right Tackle. Too many moving parts, and the fact D.J hasn’t mastered Right Tackle, imagine the fear of putting him in at Left with no or limited Reps…

    C. Palmer’s body wouldn’t be too happy…

  7. By mitchaz on May 25, 2016 | Reply

    Dwight Freeney was one of the huge X factors as to why the Cardinals went on a nine game winning streak (from 4-2 to 13-2) which included going an unprecedented 6-0 in prime-time games during that stretch. As we saw, he was our most effective edge rusher and was the one who repeatedly made big plays to help close out games in the Cardinals’ favor. The winning streak coincided with Freeney’s assimilation into the defense.

    i cannot fathom why the Cardinals would not want him back—even Keim himself has said on numerous occasions, “you can never have enough good pass rushers.” Yes, we added Chandler Jones and Markus Golden provided good pressure from the right side of the QB, but with teams passing 67% of the time, teams need pass rushing depth and the players behind Jones and Golden are either unproven due to inexperience (Martin, Okpalauga, Fua, Riddick and Wagenmann) or a question mark as in the curious case of Alex Okafor. (While Freeney was rushing Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton in the playoffs, Okafor was somewhere in California nursing his mysterious toe injury).

  8. By Scott Brown on May 25, 2016 | Reply

    while last season, the signing of D. Freeney was another of the SK one year wonders, right now with the depth of the position and the limited cap space, I just don’t think right now there is a spot on the roster for Freeney.
    Maybe in August, maybe after an injury or two, Freeney might be an option ( if not signed on another team ).

  9. By Scott H on May 25, 2016 | Reply

    Ya know, if there was EVER a time for one of those one-year deals…’s now. Maybe the timing isn’t right for the Cardinals, but….Freeney is not going to be available for long. He’s too capable of making a significant contribution and there are too many teams that could use a veteran pass rusher ( still damn good at it, too ) on a one year deal. With the date for training camps getting closer, it would make sense that teams are gonna come a-callin.’

    The Cardinals may have to play the waiting game – IF they were seriously considering Freeney at all – but I think that is a game they will lose. If he wants to play for a legit contender, I don’t see how he can possibly be considering the Falcons seriously. But the Bengals? They are as legit as it gets in the AFC right now, with Denver poised to take a big step down and the Pats being without Brady for a quarter of the season. If they’re willing to give him a home, the money to make him happy, and a legit chance to be a SB contender….why is he gonna pass it up?


  10. By Jim McIntyre on May 25, 2016 | Reply

    Cardinals need to sign Freeney ASAP. The Super Bowl window is closing. Carson Palmer, Larry Fitzgerald and others need to win a Super Bowl in the next two years. Freeney had 8 sacks in only 11 games coming to the Cardinals late. With a full season of camp and workouts, Freeney and Chandler Jones would be an unstoppable tandem in pass rushing. This is no time for the Cardinals to gamble on developing players when you have a proven commodity in Freeney to win now. Please get it done before the Bengals, Falcons or some other team reap the benefits of his talents and experience.

  11. By clssylssy on May 26, 2016 | Reply

    D…I am much less worried about our offensive line than our anemic defense. We have over 4M in Cap space, and at this point where are you going to find a Veteran Corner for the type of money we are willing to pay after they’ve closed the books on Cromartie. Of course one could conceivably get cut, but, would it be in time to learn the playbook and move seamlessly into our scheme? We know what we have in Dwight and he is a quality player who will give us depth.
    I love our new pass rush but those guys are “new” w/o the experience to know how to take care of their bodies–are more interested in grabbing the media’s attention to build their creds for future contract negotiations. This is suppose to be our year and I don’t want a repeat of recent years where we came up short b/c our defensive playmakers were played out on IR. Sometimes, “A bird in the hand …”etc!😉

  12. By Darren Urban on May 26, 2016 | Reply

    All —

    RE: Freeney/cap space

    1) More than $4M in cap space isn’t much, not when you want to extend players like Mathieu and you want something in reserve in case of injury.
    2) There are a lot of factors in bringing back Freeney. He might want more money after getting 8 sacks in 11 games. He might want to know he’s going to get the same playing time, which he probably wouldn’t with Jones here. You don’t know all the factors.

  13. By ChristianR on May 26, 2016 | Reply

    As someone from Indiana, I like seeing all the love for Freeney, but. . . I’m not sure he should be wearing Cardinal red next season. Like Darren said, we don’t have much space. I would much rather see an extension for the Honey Badger. If Jones plays like the edge rusher Keim seems to think he is (and I trust Keim), Golden takes another step forward, and even one of the younger guys can step in and be average, I’m happy. And don’t forget what some added pressure outside can do for Campbell, his new rookie-running-mate, a returning Peters… Freeney isn’t as necessary here as he was last season, and I’m sure he knows that more snaps would be available on a team like the Bengals or Falcons (he wants to play for a contender, but he still wants to ACTUALLY play)

  14. By clssylssy on May 26, 2016 | Reply

    $4 M plus in Cap space isn’t much not even chump change in the Honey Badger saga when they’re projecting $70/80M for 5 years w $40M or more guaranteed for a player whose savage play has kept him from completing a season…kinda a red herring to insert in this conversation when his signing bonus alone will be more than what we have for cap space. Be that as it may, we do need to plan for injuries but at the same time, Freeney could be a proactive measure as an incentive driven, situational player with added benefits. None of the “young colts” are really proven and injuries can happen to anyone at any time. Freeney, like Fitz, Carson, Iupati, Matthes, & even BA , are more about “unfinished business” and the ring,as they are already rock stars. Keim is good but his window isn’t closing so,isn’t feeling the urgency some of us long timers do.

  15. By Scott H on May 26, 2016 | Reply

    Oh, the irony….it was the way Freeney played FOR the Cardinals last year that put him back on the map and made him a desirable player again. Say what ya want about how he never lost it but the man was still sitting on his couch at mid-season last year. And now? Thanks to the Cardinals, he’s back on everyone’s radar. And that may be why he might end up somewhere else. Real soon.

    But, please – NOT SEATTLE. Anywhere but there.

  16. By Brendan B on May 26, 2016 | Reply

    In Keim we trust.

  17. By Patti Bond on May 27, 2016 | Reply

    Sign Freeney NOW! Remember the sack win against the North champion Vikings? He was a play maker all season. Cardinals would have been 9-7 without Freeney’s play. We owe him for last season. Bring him back NOW!

  18. By ChristianR on May 27, 2016 | Reply


    Signing bonus is still spread out in the cap, and will likely be all HB gets at this point while he plays out his current contract (if my understanding is correct). So, the larger signing bonus is his incentive to sign now, but while that cash is upfront for him it’s spread out over 5 years for the team. So 4 mil is likely just around what we would need for an extension at this point.

    Reference: Bleacher Report- How the NFL Salary Cap Works

  19. By mitchaz on May 28, 2016 | Reply


    I agree. Without Freeney the NFC West would very likely have come down to Week 16, Seattle at Arizona. How sweet it was to have made that game meaningless!

  20. By Scott H on May 28, 2016 | Reply

    mitchaz –

    Was that game against Seattle REALLY meaningless? It was in that it ended up having no bearing on the outcome in the NFC West, but….meaningless? No. Definitely not. I was at that game ( not that that matters, it was gonna be the same game regardless ) and that game just FELT like a harbinger of things to come. Palmer was awful. Can anyone say he wasn’t?? I mean, it looked like something was wrong with him. It felt like we lost our mojo. Because there was NO WAY Seattle or anyone else in the NFL should have been able to walk over us like that. But they did, and it was more than a little scary.

    The “scary” carried over into the Green Bay playoff game but we ( I, anyway ) could focus on the fact that we found a way to win that one. But look at what happened in Carolina. Again, Palmer was awful ( pretty much so was everyone else ) and there was no sign of the team that won those games against Seattle / Cincy / Philly / Green Bay during the regular season. We HAD lost our mojo.

    To me, that loss to Seattle is where whatever it was that went wrong, went wrong. Whatever that was, we never shook it off.

    Gotta tell ya….I still feel l need to see that we HAVE shaken it off. For me, that ghost is still lurking.

  21. By CARDS62 on May 29, 2016 | Reply

    Darren first off thank you for the Pat Tillman video and a great Memorial Day to one and all.

    Love the Chandler Jones signing and really like what Golden showed last year and what Okafor showed the year before rushing the passer, but last year Okafor showed very little rushing the passer. Hoping rookie Robert N. and C. Campbell will also help our pass rush, but lets be honest we have 1 proven pass rusher on our squad today, Chandler Jones, and one is the loneliest number.

    Darren is right in that we do not know what money Freeney is looking to earn, but I really really want us to do everything in our power to sign Freeney. Teams had way too much time to pass the ball on us last year, and we have to change that for 2016 to reach and win the Super Bowl. Denver’s offense was not good last year and they have Super Bowl Rings because of their pass rush.

    Freeney is a specialist with skills we need for rushing the QB, and adding him with our other players I think will give us the most bang for the buck to reach the Super Bowl.

    Go Cards!

  22. By mitchaz on May 30, 2016 | Reply


    The outcome of that Seattle game definitely hurt—but, imo, it could have been avoided. Carolina was not going to lose at home to Tampa Bay.

    The Cardinals had just come through their toughest stretch going 9-0 and they had the NFC West and the #2 seed locked up. After the rout of Green Bay Calais Campbell said to the FOX crew after the game that the team was really banged up and needed time to heal.

    Of course, Pete Carroll tried to do everything he could to make this a statement game heading into the playoffs—which, while successful, I believe was a mistake on his part because his players also needed some rest to face an all road-game seed in the playoffs—and the next week they should have lost at Minnesota and then they laid a first half egg at Carolina and despite a furious comeback, lost.

    Had BA not fallen into Carroll’s trap and used the Seahawk game instead to play his reserves, while resting the top starters, psychologically the loss would not have been all that damaging. Nor would have been even remotely as satisfying for the Seahawks knowing they beat the Cardinals’ reserves. In a way it would have been a painful reminder to the Seahawks that the Cardinals won the division and thus the last game of the season was indeed meaningless.

    I agree with you that psychologically the Cardinals were damaged by that Seahawks’ dominant win.It took a lot of the air out of the balloon.

    The other thing is that having recently lost Honey Badger—in the GB rout, the team got a good lift from D.J. Swearinger who brought some much needed pop in Mathieu’s absence, but Bettcher decided he would go back to Rashad Johnson at FS versus the Seahawks, returning from injury—and let’s face it, Johnson’s poor tackling and deep coverage left the entire defense feeling vulnerable—and yet Bettcher never went back to Swearinger. Now, of course, Johnson knows the defense better and can make the calls—but for the second year in a row his play in the playoffs was regrettably poor. I don’t want to pin it all on Johnson, but the combination of losing Honey Badger and having the FS play as poorly as Johnson did was more than enough to turn the tide the other way, especially versus playoff teams.

  23. By Scott H on May 31, 2016 | Reply

    mitchaz –

    Some very good points in your last post. Because the Panthers / Buccs game was staring the same time as ours and there WAS still that chance ( however remote ) that the Cards were playing for top seed in the conference, I guess it made sense that we played our starters. I guess we HAD to, ya know? As long as there was that chance the Buccs would pull an up-set and open the door for the Card to get the top seed, we had to take the field with all starters in.

    But you are right – if we had gone with back-ups and got beaten down, it would have been no big deal, psychologically speaking. Same thing happened in 2009. We got torched by the Packers in Week 17 – with Leinart playing and a total vanilla offense – but when we saw them the following week in the playoffs ( with Warner back and our guns loaded ), they didn’t know what hit them.

    Looking back, I almost wish we HAD gone with back-ups in that Seattle game. But… that is with 20/20 hind-sight. Really, I think a good, solid win over Seattle in that game would have been GREAT for the Cardinals ( psychologically speaking ).

    The much bigger issue is how the Seahawks have been coming into our house recently and making it look easy to beat the Cardinals. As tough as we are at home, why is that happening??? From that perspective, why wouldn’t Carroll feel confident that his team could get some momentum coming through here? Maybe instead of falling into Carroll’s trap, as you say, maybe BA was just feeling like he needed to put a stop to the Seahawks coming in here and pounding us. Sadly, that kinda back-fired.

  24. By mitchaz on May 31, 2016 | Reply


    Great points. Hind-sight is 20/20 and at the time BA claimed the players begged him to play the starters.

    The problem with the Seattle game was more than psychological—it looked very clear that some of the Cardinals’ starters were just trying to avoid getting injured—and you and I both know that when that is the case, the effort to win becomes secondary. This was especially true for Carson Palmer—how cruel would it have been for him to get injured in that Seattle game and yet again miss the playoffs. I am sure this was in the back of BA’s mind and the players, especially after seeing Honey Badger tear his ACL.

    The coaches worry about a two week layoff with the bye factored in.

    BA has basically summed up the recent playoff experience as—“get home field advantage” and the chances would increase.

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