The Cardinals 2013 Training Camp started quietly… On the Football field. However at Cardinals HQ, Steve Keim and company were on the phone with agents, either making deals to get a player signed, or letting one know that their player is going to be cut. Let’s take a look at those moves.
Eric Winston: The news broke last night that the Cardinals and Winston were within 24 hours of closing a deal that would bring him to to the Desert. At 29 years old he’s played on two football teams in two years. He is best known for his best years in Houston before being released, so that they could make cap room for Duane Brown. He’s started all 16 games in every season since being drafted in 2006. His best years came in Houston in their ZBS (Zone Blocking Scheme), and he returns to a ZBS in Arizona. The only reason he is out, in Kansas City, is because they drafted Eric Fisher, and his four year deal was far to expensive to be a backup.
In Arizona he faces stiff competition to earn a starting role. Bobby Massie struggled mightily in the first half of 2012, but he rebounded and gave up zero sacks during the final nine games of the year and only a handful of pressures. There’s been talk among a lot of writers, and throughout the fanbase for that matter, that Massie would shift to LT and Winston would start on the right side… That is likely not going to happen. If anything “logical” were to happen, Massie would shift inside to play right guard, the Cardinals would thus release Daryn Colledge, and Winston would start at Right Tackle, leaving Levi Brown to be used as “Trade Bait”. Winston was signed to a One Year league minimum, with incentives if he wins the starting job.
You can laugh at how the Cardinals gave up 58 sacks over the course of last season, but you would be ignorant to think that the Cardinals O-Line will surrender 4+ sacks in a single game this season.
John Abraham: Possibly the most surprising move the Cardinals have made all offseason. Arizona is not well known for targeting “Big Name” Free Agents, yet that is all in the past. New Front Office, and this is no longer the cheap Bill Bidwill, it’s his son (adopted) Michael Bidwill. He wants to win and is willing to open up his purse to pursue a guy that he knows can help benefit his team. I’m not saying Abraham will come in a take the NFL by storm, I learned that the hard way (See Joey Porter), but I am saying that he’ll provide Arizona with something they’ve lacked with pass rusher recently… Consistency. Abraham has 32.5 sacks in the last three years, which is more than any other Cardinal by a longshot. His two year, 6 million dollar deal comes at a good price, considering what he was asking for earlier on this offseason.
Kenny Rowe: Probably just a camp body, but being a Ducks fan, I got to see him play, and he is a high motor player. He is usually always in the play, and if he’s not, then he’s around the play as support. There’s not a lot of pro evaluation for him, spent two years with the Niners and spent time in the CFL. I’m hoping he can be something special in the NFL, but it’s far from possible.
O’Brien Schofield: His story is a sad one, but also a story of inspiration. He blew out his knee in 2010 Senior Bowl, and wound up playing in the 2010 season towards the end. In 2011 he started off sluggish, but he was a big reason the team saw a turnaround in the latter half. And in 2012 he continued to make noise, until the fluke season ending injury, in which Darnell Dockett was shoved back and rolled over Schofields ankle against the Packers.
In the end, while these players get paid millions of dollars to play a game, you have to feel sorry for how the way his tenure in Arizona ended. He walked out onto the field for the Cardinals “Run Test” shook hands with players, and was soon recalled to the Locker Room by a member of the Cardinals Front Office to tell him he was to be waived. It’s a business, but as Bruce Arians stated “It’s a cold business sometimes”.
Ryan Swope: Sad how this played out. Drafted in the sixth round despite his concussion past, it seemed to be a thing of the past. However, during OTA’s rumors were going about that he had missed practice time with “lingering issues from a concussion”. As Cardinals fans we assumed the worst, yet it slowly died away. However, Bruce Arians reignited the story confirming the rumors. It would not be until the 22nd of July that things would become official. Swope went in for a physical to see if he could participate in the upcoming Training Camp, and was told by doctors that he was fine… But another concussion could have some serious long term effects on his health. Ryan Swope would announce his retirement today, and the Cardinals would then place him on the Reserve/Retired list, giving them the rights to him if he so decided to return to the NFL.
The concussion symptoms hadn’t stemmed from a Collegiate concussion, but one that he sustained during OTA’s.
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