ROTB Roundtable: Underrated Players, Adrian Wilson, and Athlete Finances


After a week-long absense, the Roundtable is back.

The ROTB Writing Staff had their take on three questions surrounding the Cardinals, and the NFL in general.

Don't forget to answer the questions yourself in the comments below!

1) Who, in your opinion, is the most underrated player on the Cardinals, coming out of the Mini-Camps?

AndyStandsUp: I still think Roberts is the Cards best deep threat and King is a mountain of a man that, when healthy, can be a big target over the middle. And both are good prospects in Bruce Arian's vertical offense.

Jess Root: Honestly, I think the only rating that happens in mini-camp is overrating. After all, the only two negative things that were said were that the receivers weren't doing well and that LaRon Byrd is too inconsistent. You don't get a lot of talk of individuals and they are only in shorts, so I don't think anyone is underrated at all right now.

Alex Mann: Cason. I haven't heard much about him, but I like the way the guy has played in his career and attended a few UofA games while he was down there. I think he's got more potential to be the guy opposite of Peterson, than Powers does.

Jesse Reynolds: This is a really tough question. I think is is Jamell Fleming. A lot of people are down on the second year player. I think he has made some rookie decisions last year and is going to impress this year. It's going to be a VERY competitive camp this year and I see him making the cut.

Robert Norman: D.C. Jefferson. He was picked seventh round based on the fact he is very raw, but from everything I have been hearing about him he has the potential to become a solid starting TE. I really don't think he stays behind Jeff King and Jim Dray, neither of them have impressed over the last several years in the receiving game and from my understanding that's what the new coaching staff really wants. Dallas, while not the best team, had him high enough to be picked in the third round, fans should have him on their radar.

Randy Fields: Jesse stole my thunder on this one. Mr. Fleming is going to prove why he was drafted and he'll stand out in a crowded CB roster. My number 2 is Johnson, there's a reason the FO was so willing to cut ties with Wilson and Rhodes. He's got big shoes to fill, he knows it, but he proved he can be a good safety. Let's see what he can do with this extra time under his belt as the clear starter.

2) Do you think Adrian Wilson's jersey should be retired?

AndyStandsUp: The Cards haven't retired a number since 1978 with Larry Wilson, though Pat Tillman and JV Cain had theirs done after they died. Jim Hart, Neil Lomax, Roy Green, Aeneas Williams.... you don't want to run out of numbers but surely there is a player that bridges the gap between Wilson and Larry Fitzgerald.

D.L. Parsons: Absolutely! Within a year of his official retirement. He should also sign a one day contract so that he can retire as a Cardinal.

Jess Root: Well, his number won't be retired, but he will and should end up in the Ring of Honor. He embodied everything you could want in a long career with the Cards, including put up some numbers that put him in elite company. It might not get him into Canton, but whatever the team's policy is with adding players to the Ring, he should be in the day they do that. I personally think that once he is done, he will sign one of those token contracts with the Cardinals, only to announce his retirement from football as a Redbird.

Alex Mann: Yes. He was nothing but a team player and a leader when he was in Arizona. Taking pay cuts so the team could sign other guys and stay under the cap. He's one of the greatest players to ever dawn a Cardinal Uniform.

Jesse Reynolds: Yes. He is one of a handful of players in the 25-25 club (sack and interceptions), he earned 5 trips to the Pro Bowl and 4 All-Pro selections in his 10+ years on the team. At his prime he was one of the most punishing safeties the game has ever seen. He ended careers. If he was on a better team he would be in the Ed Reeve/Troy Polamalu conversations. Wilson was also active in the community. The guy is everything you could ask for in an NFL player.

Robert Norman: No. I'm not a fan of retiring numbers. Ring of Honor? Absolutely. But I think only men like Pat Tillman should have their number retired.

Randy Fields: Ring of Honor,as soon as he retires. I think they should retire his number in a few years once he's made a career of it and we can welcome him back with the fanfare he deserves as one of the great Cardinal players to ever play the game.

3) Many athletes are plagued with financial problems, despite making millions of dollars in their respective sports. Do you have any ideas on how the NFL can help players become more financially aware?

AndyStandsUp: Don't know if it's a majority of not, but a lot of NFL players come from a poor background and an NFL contract is their way of getting out of their lower economic status. NFL has informative programs in place and it comes down to the individual. Making me their agent could be a first, though. All I ask is 20 percent. (Is that too much?)

D.L. Parsons: Finanicla security is something a person has to WANT, not have forced on them. Since the NFL can't help players find a good woman to marry, who will *usually* take on the financial caretaker role, there is not much that can be done. Requiring counseling, like they are doing now. Perhaps the Players Union could require some kind of independent review of finances to prevent outright fraud?

Jess Root: Well, there certainly is no silver bullet. They already are given presentations. The league already talks to them about the pitfalls of money. But when you have young adults given a lot of money, there are bound to be a ton of stupid money mistakes. Plus, what makes things even harder is the culture of living the lifestyle of your income. Once they aren't making millions, they keep up the lifestyle and their money gets depleted. I suppose the only other thing they could do is provide a list of well respected financial guys to help the players to put money away. However, that would likely open the league up to liability should bad things happen. What else can be done? Aside from withholding half their salary and forcibly investing it, which is a bad idea, you can't do much more than what already is being done. Being stupid with money is epidemic with everyone. These guys probably never had any good behavior with money modeled. If mom never saved, they aren't likely to do it either.

Alex Mann: There's not much... They can institute as many rehab programs they want for players, but they do everything they can for players at the Symposium. It comes down to them to do the right thing. I will say this though... Titus Young is sick... Not because he's consciously doing these things, but because what he's doing he thinks is okay. The NFL should have seen this and done what they can to prevent it.

Jesse Reynolds: Another tough question! This is hard because many players are presented opportunities to learn these skills at the rookie symposium and some teams/agents help their players by getting them aligned with good money managers. From what I read in ESPN Magazine on Troy Polamalu the other day that gave great insight to the problem (It's a good read that I recommend), often time the financial advisers the players use won't say no to bad ideas because they don't want to lose the client. Many of them do not have the education needed to make good decisions but in the end they are grown men, freakishly grown men at that, and so they are responsible for the decisions they make. Multiple opportunities are presented to them to be smart and learn to manage their money and make safe decisions and if they ignore those decisions then I have no sympathy for them regardless of their story/background/environment. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink.

Robert Norman: This isn't just an athlete problem, it's called being an adult. There really is't anything the NFL can do, they are legally adults and the choices they make will have consequences for good or bad.

Randy Fields: Financial responsibility is each persons responsibility. The one thing that comes to mind is the number of people who take advantage of athletes and squander their money, to combat that from happening the NFL could identify vetted money managers and fund managers who can help them prepare a budget and use their investments wisely. The NFL could have money managers present their capabilities at the rookie symposium so that all rookies get the opportunity to work with a verified money manager from the beginning, rather than trying to find someone later. By using a corporation who has a strong reputation and contracts that are pre-negotiated with the players union the number of players who are cheated should drop drastically, and more players should be able to learn more fiscal responsibility from the beginning.
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