The Arizona Cardinals front office may be coming to the conclusion that the veteran center’s best days are now behind him
Over the course of this offseason, the Arizona Cardinals have brought a plethora of free agents back to the nest. Maintaining a healthy level of continuity is important for any NFL squad, and general manager Steve Keim has certainly managed to accomplish that for the Cards.
But while bringing familiar faces back into the fold can be highly beneficial, not every player with an expiring contract fits in with the club’s future plans. A.Q. Shipley, who has been with Arizona for the past five campaigns, could fit that description. In fact, there’s been no indication from the Cardinals that they’re interested in bringing the starting center back into the fold.
While Shipley has done a solid job as the anchor of the Cards offensive line, Keim and company may be ready to move on from the veteran. The 6’1, 307 pounder, who was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers back in 2009, will turn 34 in May. Could it be a simple case of Arizona wanting to get younger at the position?
It just so happens that the Cardinals have two youthful centers on their roster at the present time. Mason Cole, who started 16 games for the franchise two years ago, is next in line on the depth chart. The 24-year old took every snap for the Cards at the spot back in 2018 after Shipley suffered a torn ACL during a training camp practice.
Lamont Gaillard, a sixth-round selection in 2019, is the other center in the Arizona locker room. The 24-year old, who played his college ball at the University of Georgia, was praised by the coaching staff last year. Perhaps a competition between Gaillard and Cole for Shipley’s starting job would bring out the best in both blockers.
Shipley originally signed a two-year contract with the Cardinals back in 2015. The former Penn State University product appeared in 60 contests, and has 51 starts under his belt for the organization. Shipley also spent time with the Indianapolis Colts and Baltimore Ravens before he arrived in the desert.
Of course, it’s still possible that the Cards could sign Shipley to a new deal. There’s also a chance that the two parties will go their separate ways. If they do, there are two youngsters who are chomping at the bit for an opportunity to be Arizona’s new starting center.