One of last week's free agent signings by the Arizona Cardinals was center/guard A.Q Shipley. he signed a two-year contract with the team and many project him to be the team's starting center. He has experience starting at center and he is a guy both head coach Bruce Arians and offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin have wanted on the team. They have tried for three offseasons to acquire him.
However, when the contract numbers were reported by Mike Jurecki, they were less than some might have expected. According to Jurecki, Shipley's salary for the next two seasons will be $660,00 and $760,000.
The signing bonus was not reported, nor was any other bonus.
Shipley signed for basically the league minimum for his time in the league.
To contrast, Arizona added guard/center Ted Larsen last offseason on a two-year deal worth $2.6 million. He was not expected to start, but ended up starting all 16 games after Jonathan Cooper suffered a toe injury in camp and never was able to pass Larsen after that.
While Shipley could start, the money says the team isn't just lining him up there.
Larsen will make $1.6 million this season. They have second year undrafted player Anthony Steen who can play guard and center, like Larsen and Shipley.
The team might still draft a center.
When the team released longtime starter and team captain Lyle Sendlein, it was thought that it was because Shipley was brought to replace him.
Maybe that's so, but Shipley might also have been brought in to replace Larsen. With Shipley's versatility, he might be a cheaper, potentially better version of Larsen -- a guy who can start and is good depth because of his ability play multiple positions.
Perhaps the Cardinals have their eye on a guy like Cam Erving in the draft, who could be the team's center of the future. Perhaps they like Steen at center (I do know the team is high on him). Perhaps Shipley will in fact be the starter there.
But the contract he signed says he is a depth player who could crack the starting lineup.
Center will be a fun position to watch unfold as the offseason progresses.