Maybe the plan all along was to have A.Q. Shipley be a backup all along and that Lyle Sendlein would be the starting center in 2015.
Sendlein was released n March for contractual reasons -- he was simply going to be paid much more than the Cardinals wanted to commit to the center position. When he was released, general manager Steve Keim said he wanted the four-time captain back.
The team signed A.Q. Shipley to a two-year contract and it was believed he would be the starting center. However, the contract looked like backup money. He signed a two-year, $1.57 million deal, with $300,000 in guaranteed money.
When the team brought back Sendlein in training camp, his deal was for one year and $1.4 million. He was given $400,00 as a signing bonus and has another $100,000 guaranteed -- $500,000 for a one-year deal. With a weekly $25,000 roster bonus for each week he is on the active roster, he can make up to $1.8 million this season.
Now Bruce Arians always says it matters how you play, not how much you are paid or where you came from, but contracts project expectations. Sendlein's contract is for a guy they expect to start. Shipley's contract is a backup's deal.
It appears they signed Shipley and thought maybe they could get away with him as the starter and make it work. They signed him right away even before they released Sendlein, and they reportedly offered Sendlein $1.5 million. That tells me they wanted Shipley anyway, regardless of whether or not Sendlein came back.
Ted Larsen, though, appears to be on his way out. He is due $1.6 million this season and will count more than $2 million against the salary cap. Cutting him will save the team $2 million.
Shipley might be holding off Sendlein for now from the first team, but it is clear the team always envisioned Sendlein as their 2015 starting center.