Steve Breaston was one of my favorite players on the team a year ago. I know it was the case for many fans. When he left to sign with the Kansas City Chiefs for $25 million for five years, I was disappointed, but thought that there would be a player for the Cardinals to step up and be the solid number two guy to produce on the other side of the field and take just enough attention to keep all of opposing defenses from defending only Larry Fitzgerald.
In the end, the team went with Andre Roberts, Early Doucet and company. In the preseason it looked like it would work, but aside from Early Doucet emerging and playing well in the slot, there has been little production from other receivers.
Watching the end of the Monday night game in overtime, Breaston made the huge third down catch that extended the drive for KC, leading to the game-winning field goal. It was at that moment I missed again just what Breaston brought to the table.
Breaston knew how to make key plays. He was one of the toughest players on the team and brought a maximum effort. On that particular play, he found a way to get open and then get the first down.
Roberts is rarely targeted, and when he gets the ball thrown his way, he is simply not making catches.
Now, this season has not been a hugely productive one for Breaston. He has only 19 receptions for 239 yards, but has scored a couple of TDs. Roberts has 13 catches for 133 yards. He has been largely invisible.
The team was concerned with Breaston's knee. $5 million a year was just too much for a guy who likely had already peaked. Those were the reasons for letting him go.
Arizona didn't just sit tight, though. they tried to get someone else to replace him. As Mike Jurecki noted in a tweet last night, the Cardinals made a play for both Braylon Edwards and Malcolm Floyd, and they even placed a waiver claim on Brandon Tate.
Unfortunately, no move worked. They didn't get those guys and Roberts has not been good, although Ken Whisenhunt defended him on Monday saying he is doing what he is supposed to be doing.
No, Breaston has not had a good year yet, but I can't help but think that things would be a bit different were he still an Arizona Cardinal. He is familiar with the system, he knows how to get open, he makes big catches and Larry Fitzgerald even noted that with Breaston here it was easier for him to find open spaces.
In the end, would he have been worth the $5 million a year? I tend to think so, considering the lack of production from the position.
Of the offseason moves, it may end up being the one that is the most disappointing, even if Breaston's KC numbers aren't great.