Grading Cardinals Significant Free Agent Signings
Dec 30, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders tackle Jared Veldheer (68) during the second quarter against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
In comparison to last season, the Arizona Cardinals have had a restively quiet free agency. It has had it’s ups and downs, from addressing it’s issues at left tackle all the way to losing Karlos Dansby to the Browns. The Cards have made only three major free agent signings so far, and they’ve all been generally seen as good decisions. Here are the grades for all three.
LT Jake Veldheer 5yr /$35 million
As anyone who watched the Cardinals in 2012 and 2013 will tell you , the Cardinals offensive line isn’t very good. They gave up 58 sacks in 2012, and while they improved in 2013, the left tackle position was a major concern going into this offseason.Fortunately, the market for blind side protectors was very full, and the Cards found their man in 26 year old Jake Veldheer. Veldheer, a third round pick by the Raiders, is a solid option at the tackle spot, and his new contract is reasonable.
The one drawback of this deal is that Veldheer is a run blocker first. He’s not a bad pass blocker, but it is his weaker area. Extra run protection will benefit the Cards offense, but the Veldheer signing may not be enough to address the whole issue .
Still, the Cards office deserves credit for staying focused and surgically pinpointing and addressing weaknesses on the roster,
WR Ted Ginn 3 yr deal
Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd are becoming a mighty receiving tandem, but the addition of a third receiver to add depth was something the Cardinals needed to address when Andre Roberts headed for greener pastures.
They zeroed it on return specialist Ted Ginn Jr. and brought him to the desert on a three year deal. Ginn has never lived up to his ninth overall picking in 2007. He’s always been a return man, but has never been a stellar receiver. However, his blazing speed will help the Cardinals offense improve. Plus, he can take return duties if the Cards don’t want to risk Patrick Peterson.
All in all , good addition for Arizona at a spot were in needed someone to provide some reserve help
CB Antonio Cromartie 1yr/$3.25 million
While the Cardinals defense was excellent in 2013, the secondary proved to be a weakness. Patrick Peterson was still great and Tyrann Mathieu was great in the nickel slot, but that was about it. So the Cards decided to go after ex-Jet Antonio Cromartie. The veteran corner turns 30 in April. Last season , his play dropped off significantly, partially due to a hip injury he played through.
That said, this “prove it” contract that the Cards signed Cromartie to makes sense . Before last season, he was an excellent cornerback and a three time Pro Bowler. Also, CB Jerraud Powers wasn’t much better, yet he was playing healthy.
It’s a low risk contract that may pay huge dividends, so all things considered, it was a good move