Mediocrity?

The March 31, 2008 issue of Sporting News has an interesting feature about losing (psssst, it’s got a devastated Reggie Wayne on the cover.)  On page 25, under the heading “Living with … mediocrity”, there is a little blurb about the Cardinals.  Of course, it was mentioned that they have not had the pleasure of playing in a Super Bowl since their 1898 inception; however, they have gone “whole years without being massively horrible.” (Who edited this??)

Anyway, the 8-8 record last season was their first non-losing record since 1998, and the last season wherein they had “double digit wins” was in 1976.

With the incredible talent on this team, there is no reason why they shouldn’t aspire to achieving winning seasons, instead of merely hoping for them. 

Let’s hope the “curse of mediocrity” ends soon.


Great Players + Salary Cap = ???

The Cardinals are working frantically to make Karlos Dansby as happy a guy as Larry Fitzgerald is.  Sources say that the recent contract extension between Seattle and LB Lofa Tatupu (6 years, $42 million) provides a great starting point.

Other Cardinals free agents will be re-signed once the salary cap figures are a little less hazy.  DL Rodney Bailey and S Matt Ware are standing by for further news and information.

With all this fracas, how is Part 2 of the incredible WR tandem doing?  Anquan Boldin’s current contract provides for approximately $4 million per year.  Compared to the average $10 million per year Fitz just received, Boldin says, “It lets you know what’s out there.”  While Q would like a contract extension like Fitz, he says he’s letting his agent do all the work so as not to stress him out (great point, there Q…makes me want to find myself an agent to cut down on my stress!)

Cardinals’ GM Rod Graves is highly optimistic about keeping the “dynamic duo” together for many years to come; however, salary cap issues and signing new free agents to build a long-term team are also priorities.  Q’s agent cites that other teams have had two elite WRs for years (example, Colts) and it is possible.

In any case, Q does say that he is fully aware that Arizona takes care of its players, especially, “guys [they] really value, guys who have been productive the past couple years.”  Like him.

Q

(Source: nfl.com, azcentral.com)


No, Really!?!

In the alarming absence of any newsworthy news about the Cardinals, except for the tidbit that Arizona will bid for the next available Super Bowl – in 2012.  With the superb facilities in Glendale, I have little doubt that another Super Bowl will grace (or plague – depending on one’s viewpoint) the great state of Arizona.  Oh, and if you don’t know that Larry Fitzgerald got a juicy 4-year contract extension, then go back and READ MY EARLIER POSTS (sheesh!!)

That said, I am now forced to scour the NFC for something interesting to post here.

The Green Bay Packers will be retiring QB Brett Favre’s #4; something that Packers’ president and CEO Mark Murphy called “a no-brainer.”  (Wow, you don’t say?)  Seriously, I have tons of respect and admiration for the guy.  He has had an exceptional 17-year career and has a great family who are, undeniably, very proud of him.  With his love of the game, I hope he finds something (besides Prilosec and Wrangler jeans commercials) to make him as happy and fulfilled as playing….commentator, perhaps?

Um…that’s about it folks.  Hopefully the Cardinals will have something exciting to report in the near future.


Bryant Johnson’s Gold Rush

Free agent WR Bryant Johnson has officially defected to the San Francisco 49ers for, at least, one year.  As the #3 receiver behind the superstar tandem of Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin, Johnson wasn’t playing to his capability.  In San Fran, he will have more opportunity to assert himself as a great receiver.

The 17th overall pick in the 2003 draft, Johnson has yet to live up to his hype, and believes that the 49ers new offensive coordinator Mike Martz will utilize him substantially, as Martz often uses several multiple-WR configurations.  San Fran also hopes that Johnson’s addition will help their struggling offense…one that ranked dead last in 2007-8.

Johnson joins Arnaz Battle, Darrell Jackson, Ashley Lelie, Jason Hill, and possibly another WR they hope to secure in the draft.

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(Sources: Mercury News, East Valley Tribune)


Done Deal!!

The Cardinals and Larry Fitzgerald have FINALLY reached a deal.  Fitz signed a 4-year, $40 million extension yesterday, complete with a $30 million guarantee and a no-trade clause, ensuring he will remain a Cardinal until 2011. 

This is great news to Arizona fans and co-stud-WR Anquan Boldin.  The tandem have become one of the most successful receiving duos in the history of the league.

Despite Fitz and ex-head coach Denny Green being lifelong chums, sources state that Fitz has “warmed” to new coach Ken Whisenhunt.  In fact, the two were recently spotted courtside at the Suns/Spurs game, and were chatting quite a bit.  Hmmm, I suppose there’s a tax write-off for someone there.

And in other news:

The Atlanta Falcons must be desperate.  After cutting QB Joey Harrington, they turned around and re-signed him to a 1-year, $1 million contract.

RB Warrick Dunn is returning to Tampa Bay.  QB Trent Green is set for the next 3 seasons in St. Louis. Ex-Bronco WR Javon Walker is off to Oakland along with ex-Patriot Gibril Wilson.  WR Marty Booker is off to Chicago, after the Bears released both Mushin Muhammed and Bernard Berrian.  RB Julius Jones has defected from Dallas to Seattle, leaving Shaun Alexander’s future uncertain. 

Rachelle Washington, the women who filed suit against Randy Moss just prior to the Super Bowl has requested the case be dismissed.  So much for her 15 minutes of fame.

Now I have a headache…please excuse me while I lie down.


The Fitz Saga Continues

Despite star WR Larry Fitzgerald’s claims that he wants to remain a Cardinal, the organization and Pro Bowl stud have yet to agree on a contract restructure.  Such restructuring is crucial to Arizona’s potential successful free-agency signings.  Failure to work out such a deal may mean releasing a key player or two. 

Currently, LB Calvin Pace is still on the proverbial block, and the Cardinals would hate to lose such a fabulous player; however, with Fitz’s current contract looming heavily upon the salary cap horizon, such restructuring needs to occur, and occur quickly, for the team to be poised where they desire.  Pace has already spoken to the Bengals and Jets organizations and, thus, remains a free agent “on the market.”

Some reports claim an agreement is nigh, with a rumored 4-year, $40 million ($30 million guaranteed) contract ready to go.  Not bad for a 24-year old, eh? (Yes, I am jealous!)

WR Bryant Johnson is rumored to be close to signing with Buffalo; however, if that deal does not reach fruition, both the Bears and Titans remain highly interested in signing him.

fitzhoopmain.jpg

(A man of many sporting talents.)

(Sources: nfl.com, azcardinals.com)


Shuffle Up and Deal

Sorry folks, this isn’t going to be a World Series of Poker update; just a few tasty morsels coming from Arizona.

Stud WR Larry Fitzgerald is still being negotiated with in efforts to restructure his current contract to help the Cardinals’ salary cap issues.

WR Bryant Johnson, fresh from a visit in Buffalo said he wouldn’t be disappointed if he doesn’t make it to Washington for a talk with the Redskins organization.  Apparently Johnson liked what he heard and feels he can contribute to the Bills’ organization.  But leave Phoenix for the frozen tundra of Buffalo, NY?  Hmmmm.

Free agent LB Darrell Blackstock is off to visit the Browns; while both the Bengals and Dolphins have expressed interest in him as well.  I have 5 words for Blackstock…..Stay away from the Tuna.  Sorry, I don’t trust Bill Parcells – the man who only looks out for himself.  Not a good recipe for Miami, in my opinion.

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(Where will Johnson end up?)

(Source: nfl.com)


Love Me TENDER

The Cardinals tendered qualifying offers to only 3 of their current 8 restricted free agents, surprising several (myself included.)

First round tenders were offered to DE Antonio Smith and CB Eric Green; while reserve offensive lineman Elton Brown was offered a lower, 4th round one.

The other players who were not offered tenders (and this does not mean that they won’t be back as Cardinals next season) are LB Darryl Blackstock, TE Tim Euhus, DE Bo Schobel, WR Ahmad Merritt, and, most surprisingly, WR Jerheme Urban.  With Bryant Johnson, the 3rd WR last season, expected to leave Arizona as an unrestricted free agent, Urban was poised to slide effortlessly into that slot.  Ken Whisenhunt expressed his desire to keep both Merritt and Urban; however, I suppose only time will tell.

Offers were extended to exclusive rights free agents TE Troy Bienemann, CB Michael Adams, and WR Jamaica Rector.

For a more detailed breakdown of Arizona’s free agents and other players, read here.

(Sources: azcardinals.com, scout.com)


I Heard it Through the Waiver Wire

Brett Favre is rumored to be returning for his 18th season in Green Bay, according to Packers’ president Mark Murphy. 

Giant Michael Strahan is considering retirement…..again.  When asked if he returned last season for the chance at a Super Bowl ring, he said no; however, earning it was beyond his expectations.  He says his decision won’t take as long this time.  Strahan loves to play, and that is his primary consideration. 

Former Dolphin LB Zach Thomas has signed a one-year, $3 million dollar deal with the Dallas Cowboys, allowing him to play in his home state of Texas.

Vikings’ WR Kevin Williamson will be traded to Jacksonville in exchange for a 6th round draft pick.  Williamson had a disappointing season of dropped passes.  He was acquired as a result of the Oakland Raiders/Randy Moss deal, and when Minnesota traded Moss, Williamson was to be the Vikes’ go-to receiver.  Despite his work ethic, praised by Brad Childress, he had way too many mistakes; the most glaring a dropped 72-yd sure TD pass against Denver with nary a defender in sight. 

Chicago’s backup QB Kyle Orton signed a one-year contract extension, allowing him the opportunity to give Rex Grossman a run for his money as the Bears’ starter next season.  The rumor mill indicates that Brian Griese will be released before a signing bonus comes due next week.  TE Desmond Clark has signed a two-year extension with Chicago as well.  His league-high 13.2 yards per catch lead all NFL tight ends over the past two years.  With the Bears’ other TE Greg Olsen, Chicago plans to use more two TE sets and, hopefully, the impending QB controversy won’t pose a problem.

Washington Redskin WR Brandon Lloyd was released this week after a disappointing two seasons in Washington.  Signed in 2006 after trading two draft picks to San Francisco for Lloyd, the Redskins were unimpressed with his paltry 25 receptions and no TDs in two seasons.  A broken collarbone and less than stellar work ethic last season cemented his demise with the team.

Other releases include:  Jevon Kearse (Eagles); Anthony McFarland (Colts); Rob Morris (Colts); David Carr (Panthers); Roosevelt Colvin (Patriots); Ty Law (Chiefs); Kendrell Bell (Chiefs); Eddie Kennison (Chiefs); James Reed (Chiefs); Justin McCareins (Jets);  Andre Dyson (Jets); Orpheus Roye (Browns); Kelly Holcomb (Vikings); Anthony Thomas (Buffalo); and Mike Anderson (Ravens).

(Source: SI.com, NFL.com)


Well Worth the Price

The Cardinals have announced ticket prices for the 2008 season, up approximately $10/ticket from last season (for non-premium seating.)  Interestingly, despite their new beautiful, state-of-the-art stadium, the Cardinals ranked 26th in ticket prices last season.  Even with the ticket increase for next year, projections still place Arizona in the bottom third of all teams’ ticket prices.

This will be the Cardinals’ third season in the University of Phoenix Stadium.  Season tickets have been sold out since their first year, and are projected to remain as such for a long time.

For complete prices and more information, read here.

Univ. of Phoenix Stadium