Cardinals' UFA & RFA Priorities

GuernseyCard

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If we put an RFA tender on him, it would have to be a second-rounder to have any meaning. Because he was signed as a free agent, the original-pick compensation would mean the Cards would only have rights of first refusal, plus a cap hold of some $1.25M or so (maybe more, I dunno).

Basically, if you look to keep Ballard, you're probably foreclosing the possibility of bringing in a free agent TE to compete with Housler, and maybe closing the door on Jim Dray.

Ok - not such a good idea.
 

az jam

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Agree totally with your list, Mitch. Hope we keep Winston. Played well in the stretch and one of the team leaders.
 

Duckjake

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Wow, for whatever reason I thought it would be more than that. Your priorty list is right on with me.

6 starters plus both kickers is a lot. But I believe the new regime will find ways to keep the guys we need.
 

Krangodnzr

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Did you see how physical Winston played down the stretch?

Plus, the line developed some chemistry---it might be a good idea to keep as many of them as we can, while getting Cooper back and adding a LT, either through FA or the draft.

I changed Dray---I think you are right. He had a solid season.

I should say though too, Banky, that imho, medium priority means if the price and fit are right, that it could go either way. I could see Winston accepting a very reasonable contract.

Dray has proven to be a roster caliber player, but I've come to the conclusion that he is only a marginal NFL player. His blocking leave a lot to be desired, he was blown up quite a bit in the running game.
 

kerouac9

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Dray has proven to be a roster caliber player, but I've come to the conclusion that he is only a marginal NFL player. His blocking leave a lot to be desired, he was blown up quite a bit in the running game.

Saying this as an unabashed fan of Jim Dray, this is the question you need to ask: Is Jim Dray's roster spot part of the solution for the Arizona Cardinals, or part of the problem? Considering his contributions on special teams.

I'd argue that if you're depending on Dray to be Jimmy Graham or Rob Gronkowski, he's part of the problem. But the Cards shouldn't be--and aren't--depending on him to be that. He's a roster player who can play at a decent level as a second TE in a solid NFL offense.

Would the Cards be better if they had, say, Martellus Bennett playing in Jim Dray's spot? Of course, but Bennett makes two to four times what Dray does/will, and that would be a monumental waste of resources.

Any conversation on Hardy Drive that is spent considering replacing Dray is a distraction from the real conversations the Cards should be having, which is figuring out how to replace and upgrade Bradley Sowell, Paul Fanika, Eric Winston (who has been terrible to expectations, regardless of what pixie dust Mitch and others are trying to sprinkle on his 2013 season), Rob Housler, and Andre Roberts (with a player more complementary to this offense).
 

nationsrj

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On Offense,
I see Mendenhall lost if he wants more money than the cardinals are willing to give.
Alfonso Smith returns as camp body.
Andre Roberts can be replaced, and I see him moving on.
Jake Ballard would be nice to bring back.
Jeff King will not be returning.
Kory Sperry was mostly an inactive.
Jim Dray is the one that could stay or go depending.
Larry Fitzgerald is a request for restructure, don't know what he will do.
On the line,
Mike Gibson can easily be replaced.
Darren Colledge is another request for restructure.
Eric Winston will probably go somewhere else for more money.
 

PJ1

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Also hope we keep Winston. Of course we want to improve the offensive line but down the stretch it did far better than many are giving it credit for.

Will be helped if we can get a TE than can actually block. Dray gets blown up often and Housler doesn't even try.
 

Cardiac

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Saying this as an unabashed fan of Jim Dray, this is the question you need to ask: Is Jim Dray's roster spot part of the solution for the Arizona Cardinals, or part of the problem? Considering his contributions on special teams.

I'd argue that if you're depending on Dray to be Jimmy Graham or Rob Gronkowski, he's part of the problem. But the Cards shouldn't be--and aren't--depending on him to be that. He's a roster player who can play at a decent level as a second TE in a solid NFL offense.

Would the Cards be better if they had, say, Martellus Bennett playing in Jim Dray's spot? Of course, but Bennett makes two to four times what Dray does/will, and that would be a monumental waste of resources.

Any conversation on Hardy Drive that is spent considering replacing Dray is a distraction from the real conversations the Cards should be having, which is figuring out how to replace and upgrade Bradley Sowell, Paul Fanika, Eric Winston (who has been terrible to expectations, regardless of what pixie dust Mitch and others are trying to sprinkle on his 2013 season), Rob Housler, and Andre Roberts (with a player more complementary to this offense).

Any conversation on Hardy Drive that doesn't look at upgrading most of our positions and or units is unproductive IMHO.

So no, I don't think Jim Dray kept us from the playoffs this year. I do think Bradley Sowell, Paul Fanika and Eric Winston did.

Knowing how every team will experience injuries then improving the depth along with the starters is paramount. I don't need Dray off the team but I do need him seeing the field on ST's and not so much on Offense.
 

Krangodnzr

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Any conversation on Hardy Drive that doesn't look at upgrading most of our positions and or units is unproductive IMHO.

So no, I don't think Jim Dray kept us from the playoffs this year. I do think Bradley Sowell, Paul Fanika and Eric Winston did.

Knowing how every team will experience injuries then improving the depth along with the starters is paramount. I don't need Dray off the team but I do need him seeing the field on ST's and not so much on Offense.

Well put. I would argue that Tight End is another major culprit for our pass block deficiency, since Arians does like to leave in TEs as blockers when he goes max protect.

We need to look to improve the tackles first, and then OLB depth/starters, a RB, a Safety, and TE. Roberts needs a replacement, I honestly think Jaron Brown could've matched or bettered Roberts production with the same opportunities.
 

Cardiac

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Well put. I would argue that Tight End is another major culprit for our pass block deficiency, since Arians does like to leave in TEs as blockers when he goes max protect.

We need to look to improve the tackles first, and then OLB depth/starters, a RB, a Safety, and TE. Roberts needs a replacement, I honestly think Jaron Brown could've matched or bettered Roberts production with the same opportunities.

I would add that the TE's are also major culprits in the run game as well. Dray is not good and Housler stinks. It's why BA was bringing in Massie and Potter as "TE's" a lot in the 2nd half of the year.

I think/hope/pray that LT is the biggest and only need. Between Massie and So well I think we have our RTOTF on the team. I like the depth of our OLBers but another great to elite pass rusher is needed. I was on the fence about Safeties but with HB's injury and Bell's very possible departure and Rashads simply okay play we do need to add some more talent there.

Roberts is gone because he isn't the burner BA wants and quite frankly he isn't consistent enough. Will Golden or Williams be able to fill the need for a burner? Well let's add to the mix this offseason.

RB will be interesting. Does BA still have the unearned (IMO) trust he has in Mendy? I did see some burst and good moves in some of the games but not enough. Plus he does have fumble issues so that closes the door on him for me. If Juke adds some bulk without losing any speed or cutting ability then I would put the RB position as a much lower priority.
 

PACardsFan

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I've seen lots of last games, many seasons, and this team has more team in it the any other redbirds team I've seen. I'm talking every player that has been interviewed since the whiner game have all expressed in their own way that they really really just wish they could keep this team together. Bruce has these guys playing together and it's going to be rough for Keim to try and keep as many together as he can between short contracts and not messing with the 2015 plan. Awesome culture in our locker room these days! Lots of "winners" as you will hear them put it.

Good post, I agree with your assessment. Even more than the 10-6 record, I give kudos to BA for the team chemistry he built.
 

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If we put an RFA tender on him, it would have to be a second-rounder to have any meaning. Because he was signed as a free agent, the original-pick compensation would mean the Cards would only have rights of first refusal, plus a cap hold of some $1.25M or so (maybe more, I dunno).

Basically, if you look to keep Ballard, you're probably foreclosing the possibility of bringing in a free agent TE to compete with Housler, and maybe closing the door on Jim Dray.


I hope they take a flyer on the Oregon TE. Spend a late pick on him.

Low risk High reward
 

Cbus cardsfan

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At the right price, I'd even keep Colledge and play him at RG like the plan was originally. I haven't been a fan of Colledge but he probably did have his best year as a Cardinal this past season. If you could keep him and Winston for relatively cheap prices, that's alot of experience and 2 very capable players on the right side. Slide Cooper back in at LG and upgrade the LT position and the line would be considerably improved.
 

kerouac9

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At the right price, I'd even keep Colledge and play him at RG like the plan was originally. I haven't been a fan of Colledge but he probably did have his best year as a Cardinal this past season. If you could keep him and Winston for relatively cheap prices, that's alot of experience and 2 very capable players on the right side. Slide Cooper back in at LG and upgrade the LT position and the line would be considerably improved.

I don't know if Colledge would halve his salary to $2.4M, but that would be pretty close to fair for his value. Maybe you could convert another $1M to a LTBE incentive like 12+ starts or something.
 

Chopper0080

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Saying this as an unabashed fan of Jim Dray, this is the question you need to ask: Is Jim Dray's roster spot part of the solution for the Arizona Cardinals, or part of the problem? Considering his contributions on special teams.

I'd argue that if you're depending on Dray to be Jimmy Graham or Rob Gronkowski, he's part of the problem. But the Cards shouldn't be--and aren't--depending on him to be that. He's a roster player who can play at a decent level as a second TE in a solid NFL offense.

Would the Cards be better if they had, say, Martellus Bennett playing in Jim Dray's spot? Of course, but Bennett makes two to four times what Dray does/will, and that would be a monumental waste of resources.

Any conversation on Hardy Drive that is spent considering replacing Dray is a distraction from the real conversations the Cards should be having, which is figuring out how to replace and upgrade Bradley Sowell, Paul Fanika, Eric Winston (who has been terrible to expectations, regardless of what pixie dust Mitch and others are trying to sprinkle on his 2013 season), Rob Housler, and Andre Roberts (with a player more complementary to this offense).

I don't believe you are looking to replace Dray as much as you are looking to replace Housler and Ballard. Dray is a nice hybrid player to have on the roster, is cheap, and plays teams. He shouldn't be your inline TE nor should he be your pass catching TE, but he can be a move TE who gives you the ability to do many things. Upgrading over Houlser is the smart play. Getting a #1 TE who can block, move and stretch the field would obviously be a huge weapon in our TE heavy offense. After that, I am cool with keeping Potter or Massie as the blocking TE if we need to use resources elsewhere rather than drafting or spending for a blocking TE.

LT is obviously priority # 1, followed closely by SS. Sowell and Bell both play a ton of snaps and are limited in their actual talent. After that TE and OLB are the next greatest needs, especially if the Cards lose Shaughnessy who was very productive and looked much better than Acho when he played. We still need a young rush player outside, but the draft if probably the best option to fill that spot. Roberts will probably be replaced by a mid round pick with Golden being kept around as insurance if the learning curve is too much.

In terms of FAs, I think the Cards will look mostly ot keep their own and I don't expect much as far as outside players being brought in unless they are dart throws like Dansby and Winston. I think we will sign one premium player on either the offensive line (probably LT) or at SS. Other than that, I think Keim will try and tread water, manuever around a limited cap and try to figure out Fitzgerald, Dockett and Peterson's contract terms going forward.

I am really curious to see how the Dansby situation plays out. Off the cuff I believe the Cards sign him 3 or 4 weeks into free agency, but it is hard to guage. The first time the ball was in the Cardinals court and they dropped it, but now it looks like it is in Dansby's.
 

kerouac9

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I don't believe you are looking to replace Dray as much as you are looking to replace Housler and Ballard. Dray is a nice hybrid player to have on the roster, is cheap, and plays teams. He shouldn't be your inline TE nor should he be your pass catching TE, but he can be a move TE who gives you the ability to do many things. Upgrading over Houlser is the smart play. Getting a #1 TE who can block, move and stretch the field would obviously be a huge weapon in our TE heavy offense. After that, I am cool with keeping Potter or Massie as the blocking TE if we need to use resources elsewhere rather than drafting or spending for a blocking TE.

LT is obviously priority # 1, followed closely by SS. Sowell and Bell both play a ton of snaps and are limited in their actual talent. After that TE and OLB are the next greatest needs, especially if the Cards lose Shaughnessy who was very productive and looked much better than Acho when he played. We still need a young rush player outside, but the draft if probably the best option to fill that spot. Roberts will probably be replaced by a mid round pick with Golden being kept around as insurance if the learning curve is too much.

In terms of FAs, I think the Cards will look mostly ot keep their own and I don't expect much as far as outside players being brought in unless they are dart throws like Dansby and Winston. I think we will sign one premium player on either the offensive line (probably LT) or at SS. Other than that, I think Keim will try and tread water, manuever around a limited cap and try to figure out Fitzgerald, Dockett and Peterson's contract terms going forward.

I am really curious to see how the Dansby situation plays out. Off the cuff I believe the Cards sign him 3 or 4 weeks into free agency, but it is hard to guage. The first time the ball was in the Cardinals court and they dropped it, but now it looks like it is in Dansby's.

I actually think that the strong safety problem is a little overrated. I'm perfectly comfortable with Tony Jefferson, Rashard Johnson, and a mid- or late-round pick holding down the fort until Mathieu comes back. It's not ideal, but Bowles' defense isn't centered on safety play the way the LeBeau 3-4 seems to be, and it looks like there are going to be a solid amount of good free agent safeties available in free agency. Wouldn't you be interested in Charles Woodson tutoring Patrick Peterson for a season before he retires?

The other thing is this: Tight ends are harder to scout than you'd think.

http://www.drafthistory.com/index.php/positions/te

Check out the tight ends from the 2011 class. They've just finished their third NFL season. Kyle Rudolph, Lance Kendricks, and Rob Housler were the guys taken in the first three rounds. All have been huge disappointments.

How about the 2010 class of Tight ends? Yes, Gronk (2nd round) and Graham (3rd round) have been superstars, but Jermaine Gresham, Ed Dickson (whom I think I went around and around on with you), and Tony Moeaki have failed to reach expectations.
 

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