5 Players the Arizona Cardinals Should Cut Ties with This Offseason
Team president Michael Bidwill and newly appointed general manager Steve Keim are feverishly working toward hiring a new head coach. One of their so-called "top candidates," Mike McCoy, was hired today by the San Diego Chargers, which leaves only three known possibilities left—Ray Horton, Jay Gruden and Todd Haley.
Cardinals beat reporter Kent Somers believes management's preference in terms of order are Horton, Haley and Gruden. Both Horton and Gruden have interviewed with different teams, while Haley has only interviewed with the Cardinals.
It doesn't appear that McCoy's move to San Diego sped up the efforts to hire a head coach in the desert, but it does make you wonder how Arizona has now missed out on Andy Reid and McCoy. Is the Bidwill family trying to do things the cheap way, or are potential head coaches simply uninterested based on the underlying details?
It's hard to tell given the quite interview process, yet there is one thing we do know. The Cardinals organization is in cap hell right now and the incoming head coach's first order of business will be to shed dead weight so it can get under the cap.
Let's take a look at five players who need to be cut in the offseason.
Inside linebacker Stewart Bradley was originally signed back in 2011 with the intent of reviving his career after a disappointing final season in Philadelphia. Unfortunately, the revival never took place as Paris Lenon assumed the starting inside linebacker position instead of Bradley in 2011.
Lenon was the starter from 2010-2012 without any controversy. Which means the Cardinals made a mistake in signing Bradley, or he simply wasn't good enough to be out Lenon. If that's the case, No. 55 should ultimately be off this team. The analysts over at Pro Football Focus had Lenon as the second-worst inside linebacker in the NFL.
He was horrendous against the run missing 13 tackles, he was awful in pass coverage and he couldn't rush the passer. The only thing he did was play penalty free football. In comparison to Bradley's 274 snaps, he has played 2,167 snaps since the beginning of 2011.
Given the fact Lenon is scheduled for free agency, the Cardinals might as well cut ties with Bradley as well. He is due $5 million is base salary this year. Anyone who can't beat out a journeyman 35-year-old inside linebacker doesn't deserve to make $5 million.
The curious case of Beanie Wells and his continuous injury battles have to plague the thoughts of Cardinals fans everywhere. I remember Arizona taking Wells back in the 2009 NFL draft and saying, maybe this team has found their running back of the future.
Because at the time, this offense was essentially a running back away from having a dominant offense. He ended up having a decent showing his rookie season as he rushed for 793 yards on 176 carries while appearing in all 16 games.
However, he only avoided the injury bug for one season and came crashing back down to earth the following season.
In 2010, he only rushed for 397 yards and missed three games due to injury. He scored a measly two touchdowns and rushed for a minuscule 3.4 yards per carry. Obviously it was nothing to write home about as he hadn't done anything to prove the naysayers wrong.
Yet he showed a glimmer of hope in 2011 when he surpassed the century mark for the first time in his career—and he did it in just 14 games. His 228-yard game against the Rams set a franchise record for the most rushing yards in a game by a Cardinals running back.
But he proved incapable of putting together back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, and he was once again stricken by the injury bug in 2012. He only appeared in eight games and rushed for 234 yards at 2.7 yards per carry.
The roller coaster ride that is Mr. Wells just proves that he is not worth the $2.1 million cap number that he carries in 2013.
It's safe to say you could easily lump the Levi Brown signing in the Stewart Bradley signing. Both were bad deals to start with, the only difference was Brown had been a member of the Arizona Cardinals his entire career.
Brown had an average rookie season in 2007 and improved greatly in 2008 as a run-blocker. He was quite easily one of the five best run blockers in the NFL, but his pass-protection skills still needed a complete overhaul. In 2008 he surrendered 18 sacks, in 2009 he allowed nine and in 2010 he gave up 10.
Yet no season was worse than his 2011 season where he surrendered 10 sacks through the first 10 games of the season. I understand that a second-year player may struggle more than a veteran, but when you're five years into this, there's no reason to allow so many sacks.
At some point you have to take pride in your play and get over the hump—just as rookie right tackle Bobby Massie did in the second half of 2012. Brown was paid his full $8 million guarantee this past season, so the Cardinals could cut him and be on the hook for absolutely nothing.
I say do it now and go find yourself a premium pass protector that will turn in better performances than Brown.
2012 must have been the year of bad offensive linemen signings for the Arizona Cardinals. Not only did they lockup their left tackle Brown on a multi-year deal, they locked up former 49ers guard Adam Snyder.
Snyder was less than impressive while in San Francisco, so I'm not exactly sure what Arizona saw in him. In 2011 he surrendered an eye-opening 42 quarterback pressures and finished as Pro Football Focus' third-lowest graded interior offensive lineman.
Allowing over 40-plus pressures as a guard is almost unheard of. Yet his poor play landed him a five-year, $17.5 million contract. He is due to make $2.9 million in 2013, and based on his play from 2012, he's definitely not worth that amount of money, even on the cheap.
By the end of the season, he improved upon his numbers from last year, but they still weren't overly impressive by any means. He allowed four quarterback sacks, six quarterback hits and 17 quarterback hurries. Snyder once again finished at the bottom of the league based on PFF's grading system.
It's safe to say the biggest thing holding the Cardinals' offense back right now is their poorus offensive line.
I've already prepared for this selection to cause the most controversy, but before you totally shun me, hear me out. Darnell Dockett is by far one of the most dominant 3-4 defensive ends when he wants to be. I repeat, when he wants to be.
There are games when he can take over the line of scrimmage and move any blocker that stands in his way. An example of that would be Arizona's Week 1 game against the Seattle Seahawks. He registered three quarterback hits and seven quarterback hurries. Not to mention he limited Seattle to 1.5 yards per carry when they ran directly at him.
However, he's prone to laying plenty of eggs as well. The best example of it from this past season was Week 6 against Buffalo. He didn't register a single quarterback pressure and allowed four yards per carry when the Bills ran the ball in his direction.
He often quits when he knows he is over-matched—which in turn puts added pressure on the defense to compensate for his poor play. And to be honest, 2012 was really the first-year where inconsistency reared its ugly head week after week.
By cutting Dockett, the Cardinals could take a $7.7 million cap number off the books. Given the fact Arizona is right up against the cap, cutting No. 90 could help ease a bleeding cap number.