The backdrop of this offseason's player feeding frenzy wasn't particular pretty. The Arizona Cardinals were fairly snug against the cap and had veteran guys that had either declining skills or bloated contracts that, if re-signed and/or not cut, would push the team further on the plank -while leaving fans wondering if the front office was the one blindfolded.
So, Steve Keim and Bruce Arians started the prodding of players towards the end of the boat. William Gay, Early Doucet and Beanie Wells were the first ones into the shark-infested waters of having no contract and no NFL team to play for. Then, the larger baits of Adrian Wilson, Kerry Rhodes and Kevin Kolb were forced to jump ship, creating room to sign the lesser minnows of Rashard Mendenhall, Drew Stanton, Lorenzo Alexander, Jasper Brinkley, etc.. in hopes of keeping constituents of the franchise from creating mutiny on a sinking vessel.
Okay, enough with the Johnny-Depp-Caribbean stuff.
Look, the dead money/productivity (or lack thereof) on the contracts of the players that were released and the Cardinals cap space almost mandated the changes necessary for the front office - unless they wanted to stay status quo. So, veterans were released and "lower" free agents were signed to (mostly) team-friendly contracts.This should help the team next season with Patrick Peterson and Larry Fitzgerald expected to rework their deals. It also gives the newbies incentive to play well, during what could be their short time in Arizona.
And if you're going to place a grade on them, you have look at the results.
So far, Wilson and Gay have latched onto the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers after being cut and Greg Toler and Quinton Groves got paid with the Indy Colts and Cleveland Browns, respectively. And while Rashad Johnson was re-signed, Doucet, Wells, Rhodes, Kolb have yet to make a roster with no news also for UFAs Larod Stephens-Howling, Paris Lenon, Micheal Adams and Todd Heap (to an extent).
Knowing this and with the explanation that the changing of players is far from over, and viewing the process so far with only one eye (patch is covering the other): I would give the 2013 Arizona Cardinals a free agency grade of A-.
Which, of course, is short for "Arrggh."