Hey Cardinals’ fans, how was your day, yesterday?
Mine was a day filled with very high emotions.
As an Oakland A’s fan since 1964, in recent years I have grown accustomed to seeing my favorite players, one by one, be traded away for a host of new prospects. Such was the case over the past couple of days as Chris Bassett and Matt Olson are now members of the Mets and Braves respectively —- Bassett was like our J.J. Watt last season —- the A’s hopes for a playoff berth were pretty much dashed the day that Chris Bassett took a wicked line drive to the head —- and by the time he waged one of the gutsiest returns to the mound, the playoffs were out of reach.
As for Matt Olson, the A’s other 2021 All-Star, the tremendous irony is that the A’s have almost doubled the cost of their ticket prices this year and to entice fans to sign up the A’s offered them Matt Olson jerseys —- and now, as of yesterday Matt Olson is gone —- and the top prospect the A’s received is a young centerfielder to fill the void of having lost a top ten draft pick centerfielder to the NFL.
As a fans, we fall in love with players and start singing the Rick Isley song, “Never Wanna Give You Up.”
Therefore, as distraught as I was to see Chris Bassett and Matt Olson leave the Oakland A’s, my beloved Arizona Cardinals filled my aching heart with pure joy by bringing back a host of my favorite players, many of whom I feared they would lose.
James Conner re-signing with Cardinals. https://t.co/RfqjB7EDE4— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) March 14, 2022
James Conner said all along he wanted to stay with his team. Bravo, #6, "TD" Conner! https://t.co/7UkTWSxTGn— Walter B J Mitchell (@WBJMItch) March 14, 2022
Colt McCoy returning to Cardinals on two-year deal. https://t.co/AHeR6ItG0i— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) March 14, 2022
I bet you that there was a good market for Colt McCoy. I was worried Doug Pederson would be dialed in on him to back up Trevor. Two years at $7.5M is well earned and gives the team a comfort/confidence zone if K1 gets injured again.— Walter B J Mitchell (@WBJMItch) March 14, 2022
Note: I was also worried that the Seahawks (whom Colt McCoy has beaten two years in a row) would want to sign Colt to help mentor Drew Lock and to be a strong option to start should Lock struggle.
Michael Dogbe keeps improving and balling whenever called on. I love this kid.
I know @WBJMItch is a Dogbe fan and mentioned him in an article.— Joe Comeau - The Cardinal Rule (@jokomo13) March 14, 2022
Thank you, Joe Comeau.
Cardinals re-signing Michael Dogbe, Dennis Gardeck. https://t.co/KmjaD2VDNO— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) March 14, 2022
G-A-R-D-E-C-K-I !— Walter B J Mitchell (@WBJMItch) March 14, 2022
Essentially the Cardinals went and doubled down on a bunch of tough, physical players who helped lead them to 11 wins in 2021:
- TE Zach Ertz —- the best, most talented receiving TE the Cardinals have had in ages.
- LG Justin Pugh —- coming off his best season with the Cardinals, giving up 0 sacks.
- RB James Conner —- Pro Bowl smash-mouth red zone dominator, with surprising receiving skills.
- QB Colt McCoy —- beautiful fit in offense who won two NFC West road games in 2021 and a is a valuable option if Kyler Murray holds out.
- OLB Dennis Gardeck —- ascending talent who could give team everything Haason Reddick gave the team because of his athleticism and quick burst off the ball.
- DT/DE Michael Dogbe —- one of the best tacklers and finishers in the defensive line rotation.
To be perfectly candid, heading into this week I was very nervous about several of the Cardinals’ top free agents opting to leave because of the poor tone that Kyler Murray set for the organization this off-season.
However, when I heard Zach Ertz’s interview with Burns and Gambo, it felt like a panacea —- like a giant rhinoceros had been lifted off my shoulders. He said some of the same things here in this interview with Dani Sureck:
"I have truly looked forward to coming to work every day since the moment I got here, and I wanted to continue to feel that feeling."@DaniSureck caught up with @ZERTZ_86 to discuss his decision to stay in the Valley. pic.twitter.com/Og9aMF51Vu— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) March 15, 2022
What Zach Ertz says about the culture of the team, about Kliff Kingsbury, about DeAndre Hopkins (who just helped the Cardinals add $7.5M to the cap) and about Kyler Murray gives me great hope for the team’s prospects in 2022 and beyond.
Zach Ertz: I wanted to stay with Arizona for the chance to win another Super Bowl. https://t.co/nEOUmvfzaO— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) March 15, 2022
So, right after I listened to Zach Ertz fill my heart with joy and the first semblance of peace in a long time, I went back to Twitter to find a whole host of disgruntled Cardinals’ fans tweeting their disapprovals of the contracts and the fact that the Cardinals have only re-signed their own players thus far (apparently, per rumors, CB Carlton Davis, whom many of us were hoping the Cardinals would sign, turned down more money from the Cardinals to re-sign with the Bucs —- to quote Will Farrell “DAMN YOU BRADY!”).
Hearing fans complaining about signing just their own FAs. Notice how high in demand Cards' FAs are? How guys like DVCampbell & Reddick left and became stars? Would you be happy if Ertz, Conner, Pugh, McCoy, Gardeck got plucked? These want to stay to WIN in Arizona!— Walter B J Mitchell (@WBJMItch) March 14, 2022
I am super delighted that the Cardinals took care of their own players first. I think you might be surprised at how coveted they were by other teams. Look at Christian Kirk and Chase Edmonds. My homage to them:
Kudos to the "three amigos" of Christian Kirk (JAX), Chase Edmonds (MIA) and Trent Sherfield (SF) who came in to ARI and formed a brotherhood as rookies and pushed each other to excel. Thanks for the good memories and much respect for the pros you have blossomed into.— Walter B J Mitchell (@WBJMItch) March 14, 2022
Cardinals’ free agents have been in vogue for a couple of years now (which is why the team has 3 compensatory picks this year and almost had 4). Enthusiastic outside interest very likely caused the Cardinals to up the ante on their contract offers (none of which ended up being too crazy), but, what’s wonderful about these deals is that the Cardinals were able to get multi-year commitments (the team can’t keep going into free agency with 40% of the roster eligible for free agency each year) which enables the Cardinals to fit the contract better under this year’s cap and keep a handful of their best players for years to come.
By the time I happily headed off to bed last night, there were rumors of the Cardinals finalizing the details of a new contract for TE Maxx Williams. If they sign Maxx, then the Cardinals will have signed every one of the players whom I (and some of you?) considered top priority free agents —- and I think, that is a major coup —- and a clear signal that the Cardinals’ eyes are still very much on the prize.
Now, after a very positive first step, the Cardinals can focus in on filling their remaining needs.
In my opinion, the Cardinals look real good today!
What’s your opinion?