We have reached the eve of the expected NFL free agency bonanza that can officially kick off Tuesday at 1pm Arizona time. Here is a look at some of the breaking topics that relate to the Arizona Cardinals.
The hunt for a left tackle in free agency has been one of the biggest stories of the Cardinals offseason. Everyone knows it is their biggest need and since the end of the season the focus has been on filling that hole through free agency instead of reaching for a player in the draft.
Over the past month the headlines have been centered on the Cardinals interest in former Chiefs tackle Branden Albert. He has been training with Cardinals DE Darnell Dockett in Miami and Dockett hasn’t been shy about it on Twitter. All along the Cardinals knew they would face serious competition from the Miami Dolphins, and heading into Sunday night it was looking like that’s exactly where Albert was headed.
The Cardinals were not putting all of their eggs in one basket though. They quickly moved on to their second target, Oakland Raiders free agent left tackle Jared Veldheer. The massive tackle (6’8” 320lbs) was getting a last second pitch from the Raiders to re-sign with the team, but Fox Sports 910’s Mike Jurecki tweeted out an article from The Baltimore Sun’s Aaron Wilson that was reporting the Cardinals were expected to sign Veldheer for roughly $7-7.5 million a year. Of course nothing is set in stone until Tuesday when free agents can put pen to paper, but it does seem like there is a good chance that the Cardinals have found their new left tackle. Bradley Sowell (pictured above) will be relegated to a backup role.
There were also multiple reports Sunday that the Cardinals had offered free agent linebacker Karlos Dansby a two-year deal worth between $10-12 million. Dansby has not accepted the deal, instead choosing the test his value on the free agent market. The Tennessee Titans, coached by former Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt, are rumored to be very interested in Dansby. This is precisely what the Cardinals feared with Dansby, that his play last season would potentially earn him a payday above what they were prepared to offer.
Sunday also brought permanent closure for Cardinals free agent running back Rashard Mendenhall. Mendenhall surprised some with a recent article posted on the Huffington Post that suggested he could be looking at life beyond the NFL. Well Sunday he made it official when he announced his retirement. The Cardinals were already preparing to move on without Mendenhall, head coach Bruce Arians mentioned in a recent interview that the team plans to build the offense around second-year running back Andre Ellington.
The Cardinals got a jump on the free agent process last Monday when they signed free agent tight end John Carlson. Carlson was recently released by the Minnesota Vikings after struggling with injuries including three concussions. He previously was a very effective player for the Seattle Seahawks and is hoping to get his career back on track with the Cardinals.
Stay tuned throughout the week, this could be a big week for the Cardinals.