Cardinals Who Want a New Contract Need to Get in Line

Two things are clear four months from the start of the season: expectations are as high as they've ever been in the past 10 years and at least a handful of players are dissatisfied with their contracts. We'll get to the lofty expectations on a later day but are the number of disgruntled players something we should be worried about? Recent history has showed that one disgruntled player can divide a locker room and destroy a team's season (ala Terrell Owens and the Eagles in 2005).  But is the Cardinals' locker room that combustible and are any of these guys that kind of threat? Well lets look at each case individually.


Anquan Boldin - The most high profile of contract quibbles for the Cardinals is no doubt Boldin. The talk of him wanting a new deal started right around the time that Larry Fitzgerald signed his 4 year, 40 million dollar deal. The main question is where the talk is coming from though. Reports surfaced in the past couple of months that Boldin wanted out of the organization and that he demanded a trade but he's since refuted those reports. Boldin still have 3 years left on his current contract that was signed in 2005. The contract is nothing to sneeze at but his average of 5.67 million per year is a far cry from Fitz's 10 million per year. Boldin's had a prolific career to this point, holding NFL records for receiving yards in his first pro game (217), most receptions in first 26 games (157) and the fastest ever to 300 receptions (47 games). Boldin and Fitzgerald have also combined to form one of the most dynamic WR duos in  NFL history being just the second duo in NFL history to both have 100 receptions and 1,400 yards in the same season. The front office says that getting Boldin a new deal is a 'priority' but I wouldn't expect anything to happen until after this season.

Adrian Wilson - The man made famous as much by YouTube as his outstanding play on the field is ready to be paid and by paid, I mean the highest paid safety in the NFC. The silver lining to this thundercloud is at least he isn't requesting to be the highest paid safety in the NFL since most of the best and highest paid safeties reside in the AFC (Polamalu, Reed and Sanders). Wilson's currently playing under a 5 year, 21 million dollar contract that was signed in December of 2004. At the time, Wilson was a well paid player but now he's a relative bargain. He'll need a big bounce back season to convince the Cards that he's worth big money after an injury marred season that caused him to miss 7 games in 2007. He's still relatively young though at 28 years old so one more big contract should be in his future after the 2008 season.

Dockett_mediumDarnell Dockett - Dockett seemed the most likely to hold out or miss mini-camps but he showed up at the urging of his fellow teammates. The reason that his absence was more of a concern that others is because the front office has made it clear that they are not going to restructure his deal. Dockett signed an extension halfway through the 2006 season and is under contract through the 2011 season. He's well paid, at least 3 million every year, but Dockett had his best season to date in 2007 with career highs in tackles (58) and sacks (9) and was also voted to his first Pro Bowl. Dockett will have to come to terms with his current contract though because he's at the bottom of a long list of guys with their hands out and the Cards control his rights for the next four seasons.

 

Karlos Dansby - Dansby will have to be the first domino to fall if any contracts get done this off season. The Cards are expected to be right up against the cap after they sign their rookies but a long term deal for Dansby could free up some money to extend other veterans. He's currently scheduled to earn 8.065 million in 2008 under the franchise tag and he seems pretty satisfied with this current deal. If he stays healthy and has another productive season (averaged 88 tackles, 5 sacks and 2 interceptions the past three seasons), he'll hit free agency in his prime (27 years old) and ready for a pay day. Dansby recently saw his fellow linebacker, Calvin Pace, leave the Cardinals and sign a 6 year, 42 million dollar deal (20 million guaranteed). Signing Dansby to a long term deal is priority #1 for the Cards and they've actively working on getting a deal done.

 

In the end, I doubt any deals will get done this off season because Dansby seems content with his deal. He's ready to test the free agent waters and see if someone will overpay for his services much like the Jets did for Calvin Pace. Next off season could be the year that we see new deals for guys like Boldin and Wilson. The front office will also have to deal with potential free agents such as Eric Green, Antonio Smith, Kurt Warner and Leonard Pope.

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