Arizona Cardinals look beyond durability, but should they?

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The team is being aggressive, but will it come back to haunt the Cardinals?

There is a saying that you will sometimes hear in the game of football -- "availability is more important than ability." When it comes to the NFL, that is frequently true. Beanie Wells' talent was overshadowed by his nagging injuries. Kevin Kolb would show some flashes, but his body just wouldn't let him stay on the field. Greg Toler showed some great talent and then would have knee and leg soreness that would sideline him.

When the Arizona Cardinals jettisoned both Wells and Kolb out of town last offseason and then let Toler sign elsewhere, the feeling was that the team would avoid players with durability issues.

That hasn't been the case.

In fact, they have shown a willingness to take mild risks with players with a history of injuries.

Ryan Swope had concussion issues when they drafted him. Jerraud Powers in four seasons had yet to play 16 games and had ended on injury reserve the previous two seasons. Rashard Mendenhall had ACL surgery and only played in six games in 2012. New tight end end John Carlson missed 2011 with a shoulder injury and had concussion issues to end last season. Even Andre Ellington had lingering hamstring issues coming out of college, and as a result his Combine numbers were slow, leading to his slipping to the sixth round to Arizona.

All of these players had those injury issues overlooked.

Now, looking at the team's reported two most important offensive line targets in free agency, the biggest knock on both is their durability. Branden Albert has played in all 16 games of a season just once. He has missed 11 games in six seasons. Rodger Saffold has missed 17 games in the last three seasons.

It is an interesting trend.

Obviously, injuries are a part of football. You can't pass on a guy just because he missed some games. But the Cardinals are almost spitting in the face of fate with the players they have targeted.

Of course, they have had success and have been bit in the butt with these types of players.

Ryan Swope never made it out of OTAs, as he suffered another concussion without any contact. Mendenhall was banged up for much of the season. But Powers played and started every game, playing over 95 percent of the team's defensive snaps.

Should fans be concerned about the players the team is going after? These are obviously talented fellows, but durability has been in question. Is this a wise strategy -- looking beyond the injuries and calculating the risk and reward. Josh Weinfuss from ESPN says that the risk is worth the reward with TE Carlson.

What do you think? Are the Cards being reckless with players an injuries?

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