The Arizona Cardinals’ loss to the Oakland Raiders this past Sunday was inexcusable for a variety of reasons. Whether you want to blame it on a culmination of issues that arose towards the end of the game or look at the play throughout the game by the Cardinals as a whole, it doesn’t really matter — it was all bad.
Perhaps the worst offender was tight end Jermaine Gresham who committed a personal foul backing the Cardinals up from the first down marker by 15 yards while also stopping the clock and granting the Raiders an additional minute or so to work with on their game-winning drive.
Gresham has been a guy always known for his silly and untimely penalties since he has come to the Cardinals. In fact, I have even written about this before, about a year and a half ago. Needless to say, he gets a lot of yellow laundry tossed in his direction.
That is why I nominate Gresham as the worst contract extension recipient in the entire Steve Keim era. The one-year “prove it” deal ended up being a great year for Gresham, one that ended up seeing him procure a lucrative contract extension as a result. But even at the time of the extension it seemed that he had been overpaid.
Now, there are definitely other candidates that come to mind as bad contract extension recipients. Tyrann Mathieu is right towards the top of the list, but for me, Gresham takes home the gold.
I can’t in good conscience hold his Achilles tear from last season against him. For the most part, Gresham has been a healthy player for Arizona. But with him on the field, what advantage have the Cardinals gained? He’s not a great receiving threat that so many teams (including the Cardinals with Ricky Seals-Jones) covet. As for a blocker, he is average at best and seems to get penalized for any big hole he helps open up.
The Cardinals likely could have replaced the production that Gresham has afforded them with a late round and far less expensive draft pick. Instead, Keim signed Gresham to a four-year, $28 million deal that runs through 2020.
The team will likely look to get out of that contract this offseason either with a re-negotiation or release. Keim may be gone after this year as well, so it could be a new general manager that decides to wipe the slate clean.
No matter what happens, this is one investment that the Cards certainly wish they could get their money back on.