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Darnell Dockett's New Contract: To Be Or Not To Be?

As many of us heard from our very own JoeCB1991, Ken Whisenhunt discussed defensive end Darnell Dockett's contract situation, and stated the following in an interview with sports radio station XTRA Sports 910 recently:

"When you go about talking about a player and a contract, and you are going to invest the type of money that we'll invest in Darnell, you've got to be sure that he is the right guy doing the right things for you. And that is what I have seen from Darnell this spring and I think he understands that now ... Darnell has taken Dan Williams in there and has just been killing him. Poor Dan -- I feel sorry for him because Darnell works out hard."

Then he stated this gem:

"I have great respect for him because he is a very passionate player and he wants to win. We're going to get through this thing. We're going to get this thing with Darnell worked out. That is something that I think both sides want to do."

Ken Whisenhunt is clearly ecstatic about re-signing Dockett. There's only one issue with that - he's not the one to do it. Sure, he has some pull and he can dictate the team for the most part, but it comes down to the Bidwells and Rod Graves on this one.

Some critics think the situations with Anquan Boldin, Karlos Dansby, and Antrel Rolle may play a part in the situation. Mike Florio from Pro Football Talk had this to say:

More than two years ago, receiver Larry Fitzgerald got paid.  In significant fashion. The four-year, $40 million deal prompted receiver Anquan Boldin to ask for a raise.  Repeatedly.  Two years later, the Cardinals shipped him to a team that would give him one, the Ravens. Linebacker Karlos Dansby, after two seasons of playing under the franchise tag, walked away and signed with the Dolphins.  Ditto for Antrel Rolle, who was cut in lieu of being paid a huge amount in 2010 and then signed with the Giants.

When it comes to defensive tackle Darnell Dockett, however, it appears that the Cardinals will choose to take a crow bar to the coffers.

Mike Sando also chimed in on the subject:

Dockett has put himself in position to get a new deal before his current one expires. Another Pro Bowl season would make it tough for the Cardinals to let him reach the final year of his deal. I'd expect an agreement before then.

While I agree that Dockett is more than deserving for a new deal and one needs to happen sooner than later, he'll likely wait until 2011. The NFL may not reach a new labor agreement until after this season and the Cardinals would be reluctant to offer anything until then. It does become sketchy after that, however. The team let Rolle reach his final year and saw him slip out of their grasp this offseason. Dansby was franchise tagged two years in a row and the Cardinals also couldn't keep the linebacker when free agency arrived.

I don't believe we'll see the same happen with Dockett. Should it prolong to 2011, he'd be the number one priority headed into that offseason. He's clearly one of the best defensive ends (in the 3-4) defense and he must be locked in with the team long-term. Standing 6-4, 285 pounds, Dockett racked up 51 tackles, seven sacks, and one interception as a Pro Bowl'er last season.

Whisenhunt knows it, we know it, and I'd bet that Graves knows it. It would be a dark day in Cardinals' history if Dockett somehow slipped away. I pray no one drops the ball.