It’s been well documented now that many teams like the Cardinals have been allotted more spending money after some contract shuffling and the cardinals now have around 10 million to utilize. Their first move has been to sign all but one of the rookies which isn’t a big deal as only 5 first rounders have signed their new CBA structured deals and going off of precedence from last year where Michal Floyd signed his deal on June 11, this year’s timeline shouldn’t deviate much from last year.
Signing the 2013 rookie crop is a great start as most experts and the majority of fans have stated they feel the Cardinals did as good of selecting a new crop of contributors as they could have. Now the cardinals can look at free agents still remaining which list many past pro bowlers and league leaders just a season ago. Before I start predicting and suggesting options, let it be clear I am abreast of the cardinals money-ball strategy and I fully support their efforts.
New GM Steve Keim has done a superb job rebuilding in his first year and it may not seem that way to many on paper but wait until the season starts and his efforts will be noticed.
There are blogs out now that suggest the cardinals should reach out to a list of players that in my opinion are unrealistic and would deplete the cap room the front office has worked diligently and painstakingly for thus far.
Examples include Brandon Lloyd to add to the receiver depth which is highly unnecessary. Adding Lloyd would look good on paper and he very well could contribute greatly if he fits in the new system but we have a very solid receiving core already that Lloyd would just be lumped into at a high dollar amount versus his likelihood to produce considering we have properly rebuilt to run the ball a lot more and successfully, taking away his chances to produce.
Larry Fitzgerald will play all 3 receiving spots and Michal Floyd will have a better year than last. Regarding the slot position both Andre Roberts and Ryan Swope will be as productive as Lloyd would have been at a fraction of the cost. How can I make the suggestion with the season not started yet? Look at the stats of Coach Bruce Arians receivers in years past and who became household names after his system was implemented.
Staying on offense, many suggest we contact names like Ahmad Bradshaw, Cedric Benson and Michael Turner. The rebuttal to this suggestion is simple and the same as above, production versus cost doesn’t add up. I am very excited for this years backs. My only support is past stats and that they should repeat for the most part.
Rashad Mendenhall had his best years under Arians with no injury concerns. Ryan Williams is a question mark but he has moved on from injury and the running system implemented is friendly in order for him to succeed. Both rookies Stefan Taylor and Andre Ellington have the attributes to translate into solid NFL backs. I approach this theory with the following math; Both backs rated better than Alfred Morris coming out of college and are joining a run friendly offence fairly comparable to Mike Shanahans .
Vick Ballard finished 20th in rushing last year under Arians and I personally see all of our backs having more ability than Mr. Ballard. (Arizona’s top rusher Stephens-Howling finished 49th below both of the Colts backs)
The biggest question mark for the cardinals has been the O-Line and quarterback position. Both will be addressed below as I wouldn’t be opposed to some adjustments and additions in either category. The O-Line has been mended very well and staying true to the new building system we got a lot of talent for a bargain.
I’d suggest we stay that course and contact Jarred Gaither, Winston Justice or Jeff Otah to add depth to the tackle position. Simply stated they can hold their own for a few downs, have something to prove and are likely more applicable to succeed than the undrafted free agents we are using for depth.
Now for the wild suggestion that will have many readers abandon my ship of advice if its not already empty due to me not supporting the video game all-star style of rebuilding which hasn’t worked well for the last two teams that tried it. (Eagles, 49ers) I suggest we cut Ryan Lindley and take a flyer on Jamarcus Russell.
Don’t close the article yet, and give me a minute for logic. The bears are giving him a shot and their new coach is a widely known expert on quarterbacks. If he is willing to take time out of his schedule to let Russell interview for a back-up spot why shouldn’t we? Nobody could deny his ability during his career but his brains lead him astray.
We get wiser as we get older and I have been following his story the last year and he has proven to be wiser and just as athletic as before. Too many media stories have clouded his perception to the people and they’re influenced by this but if you hear the true story and see the facts I think you will agree he is better as a 3rd option than Lindley purely on ability.
It gives him the chance to prove he is a harder worker and smarter. Add the aid of coaching guru Arians and Tom Moore he could be a longer solution at quarterback than Palmer after the first year of tutelage and he will be a contributor at the low -low cost of the league minimum. The best part is he will be grateful and want to prove his worth not to mention we give a man one of the American dreams of a second chance.
After the few additions suggested/predicted above, the cardinals will have ample cap room for the season in the event we need the insurance for any catastrophes that a season can bring to any team. This would provide a team to put on the field that will compete with the tough schedule given this year. The next question becomes…can we keep the bargain producers next year after their stock increases?
Originally written 6/5/2013