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Outside Free Agent Frustration

NFL: Chicago Bears at Pittsburgh Steelers Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Background: Nov 8, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson II (12) makes a catch in the fourth quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely

Yup, WR Allen Robinson is now a member of the Los Angeles Rams,

To be honest, I never thought the Cardinals would dish out more than $11-$12M a year on a WR2, especially in light of DeAndre Hopkins’ lucrative contract. Thu,s I never thought the Cardinals would be in the mix for Allen Robinson. I am just glad that:

Regardless, here is some props to the Rams GM and their coaches for the way they have been doing their jobs the past few years:

Obviously, the Cardinals coaches have some catching up to do. The bar has been set. The question is, what can the Cardinals do from here in free agency in order to address their on-going needs at CB, Edge, WR and DT?

With regard to re-signing their own priority free agents like TE Zach Ertz, RB James Conner, QB Colt McCoy, OLB Dennis Gardeck, TE Maxx Williams, LS Aaron Brewer, P Andy Lee and most recently, LB Ezekiel Turner, the Arizona Cardinals deserve an A grade, The signing coup of their own free agents should not be overlooked or under-appreciated. You always want talented, high effort players who want to be Cardinals and this is genuinely the case with these ballers.

As for the Cardinals’ not signing one veteran UFA from another team as of yet, it could be that the players they targeted, like Bucs’ CB Carlton Davis, were more interested in staying put or signing with another team.

The current teams that are “vogue” attractions for free agents are the Bills, Bengals Chargers, Chiefs, Raiders and Jaguars. Those are “vogue” teams either because they have tons of cap space or they are coming off super exciting seasons.

Had free agency taken place after 12 games last season, one would think that more than a few free agents would have been eager to talk with the Cardinals.

But, the way the season ended and the way in which Kyler Murray and Erik Burkhardt have handled their contract demands in such a “PAY ME NOW” fashion after social scrubs have created an ominous cloud around the franchise,

Let’s face it, what free agents, if given the choice, would want to hop on board of what appears to be a sinking ship?

It doesn’t help the league-wide perception of the Cardinals that recent defectors such as De’Vondre Campbell, Haason Reddick, Rasul Douglas and Mason Cole have thrived on other teams —- and that has allowed them to land impressive multi-years deals in free agency this off-season.

When your prize veteran Hall of Fame worthy free agent, Chandler Jones, says that he wants to go to play in a system that will maximize his talents, that too is a sucker punch to the Cardinals’ image.

Perhaps the Cardinals’ best chance to attract free agents is for the team’s top players to lend a hand in recruiting, just as DeAndre Hopkins did last year when he tweeted J.J. Watt “let’s finish what we started.”

Yet, this off-season the Cardinals’ recruitment of free agents by current stars appears to be minimal, at best.

The one veteran who recently did the best job recruiting was Jordan Hicks in encouraging the Cardinals to trade for former teammate Zach Ertz. But, Hicks is now a Viking.

It is very surprising that J.J. Watt hasn’t appeared to have had much of an influence at all in recruiting —- there was a time last off-season where some Cardinals’ fans like myself thought that Watt could be a “pied piper” and our version of Tom Brady.

Not much from DeAndre Hopkins. It looked like he was making some overtures to Ju Ju Smith-Schuster, but Ju Ju is now a Chief.

Weird too that other than urging Steve Keim to draft CeeDee Lamb, Creed Humphrey and Rondale Moore, no player connected to Kyler Murray’s past is currently on the roster.

If the Cardinals are going to become one of the vogue teams in the NFL, they first are going to have to start winning big games and secondly, they will have to get their top players to round up the recruiting wagon —- that is, of course, in conjunction with Michael Bidwill, Steve Keim and Adrian Wilson. Also, the team’s coaches have to do their part.

It’s curious , for example, that Vance Joseph hasn’t been as of yet a magnet for former players. Yes, his former players speak highly of him, but why then aren’t any of them signing with the Cardinals?

Credit James Saxon for the signing of James Conner, Sean Kugler for the signing of Kelvin Beachum and Billy Davis for the signings of Jordan Hicks and Joe Walker. The Cardinals could use more of those kinds of connections.

Joe Comeau of The Cardinal Rule has a theory as to why the Cardinals have been waiting to sign outside free agents. It’s an excellent video if you want to check it out:

If you haven’t already, subscribe to Joe’s channel. “The Cardinal Rule Professor” does such great job.

Joe makes a very strong case that the Cardinals are pooling their remaining cap space for depth signings —- and that we should wait to see all of the results until we cast judgements.

My current wish list:

  1. CB Bryce Callahan, Kevin King, Joe Haden
  2. DT Calais Campbell, Akiem Hicks
  3. Edge Jadeveon Clowney, Justin Houston, Jerry Hughes
  4. WR Marquez Valdez-Scantling, Jamison Crowder
  5. RB Rashaad Penny
  6. T La’el Collins

On Today’s Mock Draft Simulator

* (the top WRs were off the boards so BPA. imo):

One grade that makes no sense is them giving the Christian Watson pick a D, seeing as he is their #74 ranked player and the pick is at #87. Thus, I would be very happy with this draft. Would you?

One other scenario —- if the top WRs are off the board at #23 —- which with GB now picking at #22 is a likely possibility —-

Trade: Cardinals send the #87 pick to the Los Angeles Chargers for WR Jalen Guyton and the #160 pick.

I plugged in the trade to enable this sweet Allen H.S. reunion and then went BPA, imo:

Meanwhile:

Your thoughts?