There are very few Arizona Cardinals earning their salaries this year, but there are some that are flat-out stealing money
Things have gotten ugly for the Arizona Cardinals. Last week’s 33-0 defeat at the hands of the Los Angeles Rams is proof of that. And with quarterback Carson Palmer now injured, there’s very little chance that things will be getting better any time soon.
Regardless of how good or bad their performance is, players are being paid handsomely. Some much more handsomely than others. There are a few, however, who certainly aren’t worth the exorbitant numbers being placed in the “amount” box of their paychecks.
A month before the start of the 2016 campaign, defensive back Tyrann Mathieu was signed to an enormous extension. The “Honey Badger” received $62.5 million over five years (including $40 million guaranteed), but has yet to prove he was worth all of that. Mathieu was given the money despite suffering a torn ACL (his second as a Cardinal) just months before.
The Cards’ 2013 third-round draft pick just hasn’t been the same player that he was before ripping his knee up for the second time. Mathieu was an MVP candidate just prior to that incident in December of 2015. He’s been no better than mediocre ever since.
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The $28 million over four seasons that Jermaine Gresham is being paid is a real head-scratcher. The tight end has hauled in just 15 passes for 140 yards and ZERO touchdowns through seven contests. On top of that, Gresham is an average blocker at best, and the amount of dumb penalties he commits is maddening.
When he was manning the left side, right tackle Jared Veldheer was earning every penny of his current five-year $35 million contract. But the flip-flopping of the tackles that he and D.J. Humphries underwent has left Veldheer severely overpaid at his new position. Asking the 30-year old to switch spots this far into his playing career appears to have done more harm than good for the Cardinals.
2017 free agent addition Phil Dawson displayed a ton of confidence upon arriving in the desert. But the 42-year old placekicker has shanked five field goals already, three from south of 40 yards. The $6 million over two years being given to Dawson is way too much for such an unreliable part of the squad.
Defensive end Robert Nkemdiche signed a four-year deal worth $8,600,601 in 2016. That year’s first-round draft pick has a grand total of four tackles in eight career games for Arizona. That computes to over $2 million a tackle for the ridiculously overpaid Nkemdiche, a player quickly heading towards first-round bust status.
Signing NFL players to contracts is not a fool-proof investment. Each deal carries a certain amount of risk. The Cards’ organization has found that out the hard way in more than a few cases.
Still, you can’t fault general manager Steve Keim and his management team for trying. Chances have to be taken at times in order to achieve success in the business that is professional football. As head coach Bruce Arians would say, “no risk-it, no biscuit”.