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7-26-11: Bird Droppings - Lockout Ends, Chaos Begins

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Getting this up really early (typed at 11:00 PM actually) so I can just sit back and watch the chaos from the end of the lockout and most likely the Kevin Kolb trade. Then Wednesday's post will include all of the events from Tuesday, and I'll probably do this for the rest of the week.

So, here are some links to start off your morning before the chaos of Free Agency begins.

Arizona Cardinals News:

Arizona Cardinals players react to the NFL lockout ending -
They are happy.

Arizona Cardinals to open training camp Thursday
The Arizona Cardinals will open their 2011 training camp this Thursday, July 28 when players report to the Cardinals training facility in Tempe.

Cards Report To Flagstaff Friday
Cards will start practice Saturday, full camp schedule still to come

Arizona Cardinals must hustle to fill needs
The second floor of the Cardinals' Tempe facility could look more like a call center Tuesday than the offices of coaches and front-office executives. It's the first day of negotiations for free agents and trades, and by the time the football people see their families again, the kids will have grown a foot, gone off to college, or both. Practically everyone who knows a 3-technique from a 3-iron is being called into duty as the NFL begins its mad season at 7 a.m.

Lockout over, Cardinals have plenty of work to do -
The lockout is over and now it's time for the Cardinals to get to work. blogs - Kent Somers - Rodgers-Cromartie talks speed, trade
Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was interviewed by WIP Radio in Philadelphia today and was philosophical about the prospect of being traded to the Eagles for quarterback Kevin Kolb. "I play it by ear, man, but whatever happens, happens," DRC said. For more on the interview, check out this Eagles blog.

Jay Feely tweets the return of football -
Almost all is right in the sporting world as football has returned. According to a tweet from Jay Feely, the player reps have approved the latest proposal and football will be back soon.

Darnell Dockett ready for training camp to begin -
It appears NFL training camp is right around the corner and Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Darnell Dockett is ready to return to work. "I've already packed for training camp," Dockett told the NFL Network. "I'm just waiting to hear the official word on what day to be in Flagstaff." Dockett's enthusiasm is certainly a welcome sight for the Cardinals and their fans as they begin what is a very important training camp.

Arizona Cardinals have a lot of money, roster space -
Football has returned and the Arizona Cardinals will need to make a lot of roster moves in a very limited amount of time.

Word From the Birds Blog - NFL timeline released
Here is the first part of the NFL timeline that was just sent out from the league office (all times are Eastern, making them three hours earlier for Arizona). As of now, the Cardinals have not yet put out their own timeline for training camp, and reporting to "camp" on the league timeline doesn’t necessarily mean camp in Flagstaff. It may just be reporting to the Tempe facility. That’s all to be announced:

Kolb could be a Card as soon as Tuesday morning? -
The NFL sent out a league calendar, explaining what can happen and when it can take place. Of particular note to Cardinals fans is one sentence, 11 words, listed for July 26: "At 10:00 a.m., New York time, Trading begins for 2011 League Year." Welcome to Arizona, Kevin Kolb?

Kolb or Orton would instantly become the third best QB in Cardinals history -
I've been a Cardinals fan since they moved to the Valley in 1988 when I was just a kid. For the most part, watching whoever they lined up at quarterback has been about as enjoyable as walking barefoot through an asphalt parking lot in Phoenix in July. With the exception of Kurt Warner and Jake Plummer -- when he wasn't throwing the football behind his back or into the hands of a waiting defender -- they haven't had one signal caller that could even be considered decent. Names like Tom Tupa (yep, the same guy who made his name as a punter and punch line for Cardinals fans), Cliff Stoudt, Timm Rosenbach (I mean really, who spells Tim with two m's?), Gary Hogeboom, John Navarre, Stan Gelbaugh, Shaun King, Stoney Case (sounds more like the name of an investigation a detective in the Phoenix police department's drug unit would be working on rather than an NFL player), Max Hall and yes, Derek Anderson have all started at least one game at quarterback for the Cards since 1988. With a list like that, it's no wonder why fans are so excited for Kevin Kolb, Kyle Orton, Matt Hasselbeck or anyone who has ever shown any marginal talent in the NFL to be playing in Cardinal red this fall.

Just how fast could Kevin Kolb become an Arizona Cardinal? -
It's 10:01 on Tuesday, do you know where your starting quarterback is? If your the Arizona Cardinals and Kevin Kolb is you're signal caller of choice, the answer could be ‘on his way to the Valley'. At least that's what Philadelphia Inquirer Eagles beat writer Jeff McLane said via Twitter.

Word From the Birds Blog - Official free agent list from the league
And the news just keeps flowing … The NFL released it’s official list of free agents and their proper designations. For the Cards, three players are tendered restricted free agents. WR Early Doucet would produce a third-round pick as compensation if he were to be signed away. Running back Tim Hightower and tackle Brandon Keith would fetch second-round picks if they were signed away. Teams can have them sign offer sheets and the Cards will have a chance to match. Players that will be unrestricted, either because of accrued seasons or because the Cards didn’t tender them offers, are as follows:

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has no objections to a trade | ProFootballTalk
If the current timeline holds, NFL teams will be able to start making trades on Tuesday. That could make this is Kevin Kolb’s last day as property of the Eagles as well as Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie’s final day with the Cardinals. One of the longest rumored deals in the history of NFL trades is the one that would send Kolb to Arizona in exchange for the Cardinals cornerback.

Cardinals must act quickly and nab a QB -
At 7:00 a.m. Arizona time Tuesday the Arizona Cardinals will be able to make a trade for or begin negotiating with their next quarterback. By about 7:05 they better have their guy signed, sealed and delivered, especially if it's Kevin Kolb.

Kevin Kolb a franchise QB? Since when? -
It's time. After a long search, plenty of waiting and a lot of waiting, the Arizona Cardinals will finally, officially, get their starting quarterback for the 2011 season. And, if all indications are to believed, the guy they get will not only be the starter this year, but for every season in the foreseeable future. Kevin Kolb, it is thought, has the ability to be a "franchise quarterback," someone who can successfully lead a team, the type of player the Cardinals can build around. I just wonder why.

QB at head of Cardinals' list; camp starts Friday -
The Arizona Cardinals prepared for a frenzy of activity in the coming days, with players reporting to the training camp facilities in Flagstaff on Friday.

Peter King: 'Get used to the cacti, Kevin Kolb' -
As the trade rumors linking Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Kevin Kolb and the Arizona Cardinals grow stronger by the second, one of the big guys has given his opinion.

Cards to face competition for Kevin Kolb -
Recent reports seem to indicate that Kevin Kolb will be an Arizona Cardinal, provided nothing surprising or disastrous happens between now and the time a trade can be announced. However, should the unthinkable happen, there is another team with interest in the Eagles backup.

Rodgers-Cromartie talks about trade speculation -
When Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie's name was first brought up in trade rumors the idea seemed silly, at most. After all, why would the Cardinals trade a 25-year-old former Pro-Bowler who was expected to play a key role in the Cards' revamped defense? But, if the saying is "where there's smoke, there's fire," then the smoke from the DRC to Philadelphia for Kevin Kolb rumors are the equivalent of a massive forest fire. The cornerback has heard the talk, and discussed the rumors on Philadelphia radio station WIP, which had quotes transcribed by

Cardinals have their own free agents to worry about -
The Arizona Cardinals can begin negotiating with free agents Tuesday morning, and they may have to start with the ones who wore a Cardinals jersey last season.

Brett Favre's agent connects his client to the Arizona Cardinals? -
Brett Favre is not coming to the Arizona Cardinals. At least that's what his agent Bus Cook told one newspaper on Monday. "Brett Favre retired in January. He has not talked to any teams, including Carolina Panthers, Philadelphia Eagles, the Arizona Cardinals and the Seattle Seahawks," Cook told the Clarion Ledger in Mississippi. "He has not talked to anyone about playing football. He's retired, period." The question is, why is Favre's agent even mentioning the Cardinals in the first place? blogs - Kent Somers - Cardinals react to proposed deal
Here is some reaction from a few Cardinals players to the proposed labor agreement:

Word From the Birds Blog - Fitz is SI’s back-to-football cover boy
Receiver Larry Fitzgerald is Sports Illustrated’s choice to represent the NFL on this week’s the-NFL-is-back issue.

Cardinals back-to-work FYI - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Readiness factor: It's tough going this deep into an offseason without a starting quarterback. Any veteran the team acquires through trade or free agency will have relatively little time to learn the offense and adjust to his teammates. The Cardinals were so shaky at the position last season, however, that any significant upgrade behind center will energize the team. Moving quickly to land a quarterback will improve the Cardinals' readiness. But with key offensive linemen unsigned and a new defensive coordinator in place, the Cardinals face difficulties.

Re-up or Reject: Lyle Sendlein -
The Cardinals need to see improvement from their offensive line, and it may come by way of forced change. Through retirement and free agency, there are many players who will have to sign on the dotted line if they are to remain wearing Cardinal red. Lyle Sendlein is one such player.

Re-up or Reject; Michael Adams -
Pretty much every team in the NFL could use more good defensive backs, and the Arizona Cardinals are no exception. So, would it make sense for the team to part ways with a guy who has been a regular contributor over the last couple seasons? That's the question they face with Michael Adams.

Arizona Cardinals off-season checklist -
Ron Wolfley's checklist for the Cardinals

Arizona Sports News:

Arizona Diamondbacks sign top draft pick Trevor Bauer
The Arizona Diamondbacks have signed pitcher Trevor Bauer, the third overall pick in this year's draft, to a major league contract. blogs - RichardObertRattlers Blog - RichardObertRattlers - Rattlers not quite gutted by end of NFL lockout
The Rattlers went to Dallas last weekend without wide receiver Rod Windsor and kicker Fabrizio Scaccia, a foregone conclusion that they wouldn't be with them anyway when the playoffs begin this week. They beat the Vigilantes by six points without the NFL-bound players, illustrating that the end of the NFL lockout wouldn't sound the end of the Rattlers' best-ever regular season. They set an Arena Football League record with 16 victories (of course, this was the longest AFL regular season ever with 18 games).

NFL News:

It’s over: NFLPA* leadership unanimously ratifies CBA | ProFootballTalk
The NFLPA* wanted a unanimous recommendation of the new labor deal before sending it to the rank-and-file for a 50-percent-plus-one vote, and the NFLPA* got it. "It’s unanimous," NFLPA* spokesman George Atallah said on Twitter.

NFLPA OKs deal, Roger Goodell says 'football is back' - ESPN
The NFL Players Association executive committee has voted to accept the labor settlement with the NFL, a source said Monday.

NFL players, owners satisfied with new win-win labor deal - ESPN
NFL owners and players were all smiles after agreeing on a new labor deal. Any why not as both sides were feeling like winners.

DeMaurice Smith: "Our guys stood together, and football is back" | ProFootballTalk
After leading the NFL players through a lockout that is finally coming to an end, DeMaurice Smith addressed fans on Monday afternoon and said the unity of the players will make the NFL a stronger league.

Goodell says NFL has work to do to win back fans | ProFootballTalk
Flanked by the owners and players who had hammered out the final details of the league’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said this afternoon that the deal will improve the league. But he acknowledged that the process of getting the deal done has alienated some fans.

Jeff Saturday pays tribute to Bob and Myra Kraft | ProFootballTalk
During a stream of remarks from a variety of the key figures in the NFL-NFLPA* labor deal, Colts center Jeff Saturday paid special tribute to the Patriots owner Robert Kraft and his late wife, Myra Kraft, who passed last Wednesday.

Undrafted rookies can agree to contracts immediately, source says - ESPN
NFL teams were granted the right to agree to contracts with undrafted players immediately, a source said Monday night.

Free agents can’t practice with teams until August 4th | ProFootballTalk
The opening of the free agency signing period on Friday promises to be one of the most frenzied atmospheres around the league that any of us can remember. Once everyone is signed, we’ll all probably need a break. Good thing the CBA provides one.

Highlights of final deal | ProFootballTalk
PFT has obtained a summary of the labor deal that was approved today by the NFLPA* Executive Committee and board of player representatives. We’d ordinarily think of some funny or poignant turn of phrase right here, but time’s-a-wastin’.

Winners, losers from the NFL lockout | ProFootballTalk
We have broken down the deal. Now let’s look at who escaped this lockout slog looking good, and who didn’t.

The CBA in a nutshell | ProFootballTalk
We have an agreement. Finally. So what’s in it?

Workout bonuses and NFL job security - NFC West Blog - ESPN
NFL teams are digesting new rules associated with the pending labor agreement, including provisions affecting workout bonuses. Those rules include protections for teams and players, according to a list of "transition rules" produced for distribution to teams.

2011 NFL unrestricted free agent list - NFC West Blog - ESPN
The NFL has not yet distributed its official list of unrestricted free agents for 2011. has put together the following unofficial list, to be updated, if necessary, once the league produces its list.

NFC West free-agency breakdown - NFC West Blog - ESPN
A look at the free-agent priorities for each NFC West team:

How calendar could affect trades, signings - NFC West Blog - ESPN
A point-by-point look at the NFL calendar, as released by the league Tuesday, with a few thoughts:

Rule hits Hasselbeck, Smith, possibly Kolb - NFC West Blog - ESPN
The new NFL labor agreement will not let players without contracts for 2011 practice before Aug. 4 upon signing new deals. As a result, hundreds of pending free agents will have to wait even longer before getting on the field following the four-month lockout.

Alex Smith’s return to 49ers "pretty well set in stone" | ProFootballTalk
The end of the lockout means that Alex Smith and the 49ers can stop being semi-furtive about their glances toward one another and start making out in the middle of the room. Or the football equivalent of that, anyway.

Four thoughts on Hasselbeck and 49ers - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Thanks go to Adam Schefter for passing along analyst Steve Young's comments about Matt Hasselbeck possibly landing with the San Francisco 49ers. A few thoughts:

Indianapolis Super Bowl organizers ready to cancel backup plans - ESPN
Now that the NFL season has been saved, Super Bowl organizers can sack their backup plans.

Ragged play, free agency frenzy ahead for NFL -
Frantic. Chaotic. Ragged. They all will apply to the NFL for the next few weeks, perhaps longer. The product on the field might not match what the NFL usually provides, and that could be the biggest impact of the 4 1/2-month lockout.

Rams back-to-work FYI - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Readiness factor: The Rams must acquire or develop starters at right guard, free safety, defensive tackle, outside linebacker, wide receiver and tight end. They need depth at running back. They've got work ahead, but most of the heavy lifting has been done. The Rams return their quarterback and most of their offensive line while enjoying continuity on defense through head coach Steve Spagnuolo and key players in the front seven. That gives St. Louis a head start on its division rivals even though the Rams will be breaking in a new offensive coordinator.

Seahawks' back-to-work FYI - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Readiness factor: No team in the NFC West faces more roster-related work than Seattle once the league reopens for business. The team is entering the second season of a massive roster overhaul. More than two dozen players are headed for free agency, in many cases by design. The quarterback situation remains in flux. The lockout prevented the Seahawks from continuing their trend for draft-day trades under coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider. That avenue for improvement was lost for good. Seattle will need some time to work through personnel changes.

49ers back-to-work FYI - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Readiness factor: The 49ers lag in this area for a team that has maintained relatively strong roster continuity over the past few seasons. San Francisco has a new head coach, three new coordinators (counting special teams) and one of the younger offensive lineups in the NFL. The 49ers needed minicamps and the offseason program as much as any team. The lockout was costlier for them. It's a tribute to Jim Harbaugh, his staff and the players if they open the season strong.