Before Calais Campbell recently signed his five-year contract extension with the Cardinals, it seemed as if we wouldn't be seeing him until training camp. But with him now locked up for the next half decade, it's safe to say that he will be joining his teammates for the annual organized team activities.
It's that time of the year again, folks. OTAs begin today. Many players are still vacationing or some may be working out on their own, but there should be a good showing. For some players, showing up should almost be mandatory.
With the new rules in the collective bargaining agreement, the amount of contact and overall practices will be severely limited. In fact, pads and hitting are basically forbidden. Thanks to Joel Thorman from SB Nation, here is what the CBA says as it pertains to OTAs:
During Phase Three, all coaches shall be allowed on the field. No live contact is permitted. No one-on-one offense vs. defense drills are permitted (i.e., no offensive linemen vs. defensive linemen pass rush or pass protection drills, no wide receivers vs. defensive backs bump-and-run drills, and no one-on-one special teams drills involving both offense and defense are permitted). Special teams drills (e.g., kicking team vs. return team) are permitted, provided no live contact occurs. Team offense vs. team defense drills, including all drills listed in Appendix G to this Agreement, are permitted, provided no live contact occurs. Clubs may require players to wear helmets; no shells are permitted during Phase Three of the Club's offseason workout program or any minicamp.
Mostly, OTAs are about teammates forming more cohesion together all while working out and learning the playbooks. While these things are important, these practices are not mandatory for a reason.
But for players like John Skelton and Kevin Kolb, attending will be of the utmost importance. Both of them will be vying for the starting QB role this summer and showing up to show the coaches that you have what it takes may not be the worst idea. I fully expect both players to show up.
As far as who might not show up, it would be players that are either vacationing or players that are still waiting on contracts. While everyone expects guys like Vonnie Holliday and Clark Haggans to return at some point, they will not attend OTAs because they are currently free agents. Larry Fitzgerald, on the other hand, may still be travelling the world and seeing the sights, so he could arrive late as well.
For the Cardinals, OTAs will run from May 22-24, May 29-31 and June 4-7. They are one of the first teams with a returning head coach to begin phase three of their offseason program.
It will be interesting to see who does and doesn't show, but overall, there should be a good turnout. A lot of these players will be in key positional battles or fights for a roster spot, so as aforementioned, they should basically consider these workouts as mandatory.