Category Archives: Cheap Custom Cardinals Jersey

Custom Pat Tillman Jersey Large

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — Another former Arizona Cardinals player is training to serve our country, and he says Pat Tillman was his inspiration to enlist. Army Specialist Jimmy Legree, 28, was a cornerback for the Arizona Cardinals just five years ago. Today, he’s at Fort Sill in Oklahoma for basic combat training.

[WATCH: “Putting service over self.”]

“I went a different route by going to college and playing football, but once that window was closed I reverted back to my Plan A, which was joining the military,” Legree told the Fort Sill Tribune.

Legree told the U.S. Army it was his childhood dream to serve in the military, but he also was one of the few to make it playing professional football. But just like Pat Tillman, Legree’s passion for our country never faded. “I think he’d be like, ‘Hell yeah! That guy’s a champ.’ He’d be 100% behind him,” said Jeremy Staat, who played football with Tillman at Arizona State University before they both played in the NFL.

Tillman decided to enlist in the Army after 9/11. He was killed while on patrol in the Khost Province of Afghanistan in April 2004. He was 27 years old.

A year later, Staat became U.S. Marine, serving in Iraq. “It was such being a part of something bigger. And above ourselves. Putting service over self,” he said.

Staat said he knows of fewer than 15 former NFL players who went on to serve the United States military over the past decade. He said it goes from a life of luxury to a one in the barracks — a tough transition very few will ever make. Staat commends Legree for making that sacrifice.

“It really motivated me,” he said. “[It] makes me excited to see there are still individuals ready to serve and willing to put their life on the line for this country. You don’t see enough of that today.”

Legree told the Army, which shared his story on its Facebook page, that it was Tillman’s passion for the game and his love for his country that helped encourage him to join. Staat said Tillman would be proud.

“Here we are, you know, 15 plus years after Pat’s death, and he’s still motivating and inspiring people to go in and serve and be the best that they can be,” Staat said.

Staat also said one of the hardest parts about joining the military after the NFL is physically being older and going through training. Staat was 29 at the time. Legree is 28. Most of the recruits are in their late teens and early 20s.

Legree, whose battery graduates in February, old the Army he is already thinking about a long military career.

Custom Andre Chachere Jersey Large

The Cardinals’ injured reserve list grew Wednesday by two, when inside linebacker Tanner Vallejo (ribs) and cornerback Kevin Peterson (shoulder) landed there to end their season.

It kick-started a handful of roster moves for the Cards, which promoted outside linebacker Vontarrius Dora from the practice squad and signed two players away from other practice squads: cornerback Andre Chachere from Carolina and linebacker Keishawn Bierria from Jacksonville.

The Cardinals had three open roster spots, after releasing linebacker Terrell Suggs on Friday.

The loss of Peterson means Chris Jones is likely to get the bulk of the work as the No. 2 cornerback opposite Patrick Peterson, with Byron Murphy having moved back into a role as slot cornerback. Chachere is familiar with the defense, having spent time on the Cardinals’ practice squad earlier this season.

With the loss of Vallejo, Dennis Gardeck — who was named as a special teams Pro Bowl alternate — figures to be the top reserve at inside linebacker behind Jordan Hicks and Joe Walker.

The Cardinals also signed cornerback Duke Thomas and linebacker Jamey Mosley to the practice squad.

Custom Kylie Fitts Jersey Large

Kylie Fitts, teammate of Heisman Trophy-winning QB Kyler Murray from Oklahoma who now plays for the Arizona Cardinals, says he never touched him once during practice this past season.

“Not once,” he said.

“I’d get in real trouble if I did.”

Teams protect their QBs to keep them from getting hurt.

Fitts, of course, is under no restrictions in hitting rival QBs, such as Jared Goff or Jimmy Garappolo or Russell Wilson from his outside linebacker spot.

Upcoming in these pages: A piece on Fitts, the former Redlands East Valley star, will be published soon.

* * *

I was checking the Redlands Community News website back on Dec. 23 — two days before Christmas, incidentally — and the most popular story was that 14 people were arrested in a prostitution sting.

In Ontario, for crying out loud. I’ll refrain from making any lewd cracks, like if anyone was arrested from among your flock of friends and associates. Is that what readers are looking for in your top reads?

I’m knocking myself out running down local basketball trends, athletes committing to major colleges, NFL connections and major college football insight, plus an array of otherwise athletic brilliance on the local front, not to mention a bunch of other locally based stories.

And you’re reading about a prostitution sting in Ontario?

* * *

From Joe Jurado, head football coach at highly successful Rim of the World High School: “Coach the kids in your school’s district. If you don’t like those kids, go somewhere else. If you have to recruit, how good a coach are you? Recruiting shouldn’t be a part of the high school atmosphere. Win with your kids! Coaches, end this recruiting garbage!”

The Fighting Scots are three-time CIF champions, multiple playoff entrants and are in the unenviable position of being far enough away from civilization in their mountain digs where they won’t get a lot of recruits.

* * *

We’re looking at a new head track coach at Redlands East Valley. Outgoing coach Perry Davis isn’t happy, but he’s apparently under siege by his employers on some charges that he’s vehemently denying.

He’s served as security at REV for years. There’s been a shakeup in security staffing on that campus.

The dude wants to coach, but there’s a lot to this story. He’d like to invite the public to his hearing, which is open to the public. We’re hearing that a nice glut of supporters are building up on his behalf.

When you think of REV track, you think of speedsters Billy and Emerald Bowen, state 1500-meter champion Elias Opsahl, not to mention current stars like Matt Casillas. Plus, there’ve been vast relay and field events champions throughout the years.

“I think I’ve made my mark there,” he said. “I want people to know that I’ve been a positive influence on that campus.”

Track has been a highly successful sport at REV. Davis has been a key figure.

* * *

Apropos of nothing: Standing in the balcony at Studio Movie Grill on Dec. 27, I watched five straight couples enter the theater with the male member holding the door for himself first.

Unless I’m being politically overcorrect, my sense is still that the male members hold the door for their female guests. I stopped looking when, finally, a man opened the door for three female movie-goers.

The problem in writing this is that in my readership, the offenders won’t see this rant. My readers are way too classy.

* * *

Nice piece by Wayne R. Scott on four-time Emmy Award winner Sue Ann Staake (Jan. 3), a retired CBS employee for years with ties to the likes of legendary David Brinkley and Bob Schaefer. She was the first-ever female director for “Face The Nation.”

I would’ve loved to know if Sue Ann rubbed shoulders with legendary CBS sportscasters like Pat Summerall or Al McGuire or Ken Ventur or any of the CBS sports crew.

Custom Vontarrius Dora Jersey Large

The Cardinals’ injured reserve list grew Wednesday by two, when inside linebacker Tanner Vallejo (ribs) and cornerback Kevin Peterson (shoulder) landed there to end their season.

It kick-started a handful of roster moves for the Cards, which promoted outside linebacker Vontarrius Dora from the practice squad and signed two players away from other practice squads: cornerback Andre Chachere from Carolina and linebacker Keishawn Bierria from Jacksonville.

The Cardinals had three open roster spots, after releasing linebacker Terrell Suggs on Friday.

The loss of Peterson means Chris Jones is likely to get the bulk of the work as the No. 2 cornerback opposite Patrick Peterson, with Byron Murphy having moved back into a role as slot cornerback. Chachere is familiar with the defense, having spent time on the Cardinals’ practice squad earlier this season.

With the loss of Vallejo, Dennis Gardeck — who was named as a special teams Pro Bowl alternate — figures to be the top reserve at inside linebacker behind Jordan Hicks and Joe Walker.

The Cardinals also signed cornerback Duke Thomas and linebacker Jamey Mosley to the practice squad.

Custom Drew Anderson Jersey Large

Rex With Kyler Murray’s status in doubt for Sunday’s game, the Cardinals promoted quarterback Drew Anderson from the practice squad Saturday.

Coach Kliff Kingsbury had said Friday the move was coming “so we have every scenario covered.”

To make room on the roster, the Cardinals placed tight end Darrell Daniels (biceps) on injured reserve.

Murray, who is dealing with a hamstring injury, still could be active. Kingsbury didn’t rule out having all three quarterbacks active for the game. If Murray cannot play at all, Anderson will be the backup for Brett Hundley. Kingsbury also said there is a chance all three were active with Murray simply there for an emergency situation while Hundley starts. The Cardinals could also in theory test-drive Murray early in the game and if he could not continue, they would still have Hundley and Anderson available.

Anderson, an undrafted rookie from Murray State, was with the Cardinals through the offseason and preseason. He was released when the team signed Kyle Sloter to the practice squad at the outset of the regular season, and brought back to the practice squad when Sloter signed with the Detroit Lions in November.

Custom D.J. Humphries Jersey Large

Free agency is still about two months away but NFL teams are preparing, making their own lists of players and ranking them by priority. The Arizona Cardinals have their own free agents to perhaps re-sign as well.

According to Pro Football Focus, two of their pending free agents are among the top 50 in the league. However, one big name does not appear on the list.

Who makes the list?

It includes receiver Larry Fitzgerald and tackle D.J. Humphries. It does not include running back Kenyan Drake.

Fitzgerald comes in at No. 48.

The NFL needs Larry Fitzgerald in it, and the Hall of Famer is somehow still playing at a pretty high level, even if he isn’t quite the force he once was. This season, Fitzgerald caught 72.1% of the passes thrown his way and didn’t drop a single pass all year. Fitzgerald has had the best hands in the game since he came into the league, and despite slowing down, he was still able to register a catch of 54 yards this season along with four touchdowns. His days as a true No. 1 receiver are long gone, but in a league that needs deep benches of receiving talent, Larry Fitzgerald can still be a valuable member of a receiving corps and a solid contributor on Sundays.

Humphries comes in at No. 45.

Humphries battled injuries early in his career, only flashing the ability that made him a 2015 first-rounder, but he is coming off his best effort as a pass blocker. He gave up only 30 pressures on 677 attempts in 2019, just two more pressures than he allowed in 2018 on 335 fewer opportunities. It was Humphries’ first season grading below 72.0 in the run game, but he could be the classic “late bloomer” along the offensive line as he heads into his age-26 season.

Fitzgerald won’t actually make it to free agency. He will either re-sign with the Cardinals before it begins or he will announce his retirement. He will not play for another team.

Humphries, though, is another story. He would like to re-sign, but if he doesn’t have a new deal before free agency begins and the Cardinals do not use the franchise tag on him, he will land a big contract elsewhere.

The absence of Drake, who was dynamic down the stretch for the Cardinals after he was acquired in a midseason trade. In eight games, he ended up leading the team in rushing and rushing touchdowns. Both general manager Steve Keim and head coach Kliff Kingsbury believe he could be their top back and express their desire for his return.

Custom Aaron Brewer Jersey Large

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — For a proper perspective, Brandon McManus was a good kicker before he was spotted by television cameras throwing a temper tantrum.

It’s just that he’s been a perfect kicker ever since he got mad.

You, me, your neighbors and the barking dog saw McManus get mad at coach Vic Fangio for not getting a chance to attempt what would have been an NFL record-setting, 65-yard field goal on the final play of the first half in the Broncos’ win against the Los Angeles Chargers three weeks ago.

Since then, McManus has gone 4 of 4 in field goals – including blasts from 52 and 53 yards in the final 4:26 of regulation to beat the Chargers – and 5 of 5 in 33-yard extra points.

Is it possible there’s a correlation between his tiff and his hot streak?

“No question,” said special teams coordinator Tom McMahon. “Anger is good. It leads to focus and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s competitiveness. I see it out here on the (practice) field. I see it. Every day he’s coming out, trying to prove certain things. That’s good.

“I hope he gets really mad this weekend before he gets to — maybe Nadia (McManus’ wife) can do something to make him mad before he gets in his car. I hope so because he comes out and plays very well.”
Chargers Broncos Football Brandon McManus
Denver Broncos kicker Brandon McManus speaks during a news conference after an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Chargers Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019, in Denver.
AP Photo/Jack Dempsey

Weekend golfers who have wrapped a fairway wood around a tree (cough! cough!) might be surprised. Anger, if not channeled correctly, can cause one to fall apart. (cough! cough!)

That space between the ears is a complicated area. Mad McManus obviously triggered the correct cranium wire.

“I would definitely say the anger – this isn’t the first time,” McManus said in a sit-down interview with 9NEWS this week. “Actually, in the fourth preseason game, I had a chance at 65-yarder at halftime, too. I was just as mad, it just wasn’t focused on me at that point on the sidelines.
Sit-down interview with McManus
KUSA

“At the end of the day, it was a 65-yarder that could have broken the record, but I was thinking we could put 3 points on the board and I knew we had a chance to do that.

“But I would say anger definitely helps focus because one, I knew the camera was on me so I couldn’t miss my next kick. So it had a lot to do with anger and focus but it also had a lot to do with I didn’t want to make a fool of myself after doing that.”

Ok, enough. Easy-going McManus has been making kicks ever since he replaced Matt Prater in 2014. Prater was sensational as the Broncos’ kicker from 2011-13, setting an NFL record that still holds with a 64-yard field goal in December of 2013.

But after Prater was slapped with a four-game suspension to start the 2014 season for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy, the Broncos acquired McManus from the New York Giants for a conditional 7th-round draft pick.

The condition was McManus had to stick with the Broncos after Prater’s suspension elapsed. The 7th rounder was sent to New York.

“I was happy to finally have an opportunity,” McManus said. “At the time there was not a lot of young kickers and it was really tough to get your foot in the door whereas now there’s a lot more younger guys. The previous year I was with the Indianapolis Colts, I didn’t miss a field goal. I led the NFL in kickoffs (touchback percentage). Same year with the Giants, I didn’t miss a field goal and I led the NFL in kickoff stats.

“I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t getting an opportunity. It was difficult to get your foot in the door so I was really happy to at least get four games out there and potentially showcase what I could do and I was able to perform pretty well.

“I can say it now six years later: They were pretty easy kicks I had the first four games. But I was happy I was able to stick around here and continue to perform here in Denver.”

For the first time since McManus took his job, Prater returns to Denver today as kicker of the Detroit Lions. Prater has redeemed his life and continued to be one of the league’s best kickers.

“I’m still friends with Matt to this day,” said McManus. “We have a lot of mutual friends in (punter) Britton Colquitt and (long-snapper) Aaron Brewer. We still talk when we’re on a group chat. Once a week we probably blurb with each other.”

McManus’ 85.7 field goal percentage through 14 games this year ties with his 2015 season for the best of his career. And this a year when NFL kickers are missing field goals well, left and right. The league’s field goal percentage of 80.9 going into week 16 is the worst rate in 15 years – since league kickers combined for 80.8 percent in 2004.

Maybe it’s the pressure of social media that is turning more and more kickers into head cases.

“There’s a lot of younger guys nowadays compared to what there used to be,” McManus said. “I don’t know if it’s the social impact on the younger guys trying to build the mental callous of a missed kick and how to bounce back. But there have been a ton of missed kicks this year.”

What made 2015 McManus’ best season, though, was his performance during the Broncos run to Super Bowl 50. He made all 10 field goals in the postseason, including all 3 in Super Bowl 50 – which drew a shout out from President Barack Obama.

RELATED: Klis’ Mike Drop podcast: Broncos looking to finish strong against Lions and 1-on-1 with Brandon McManus

The Broncos have been nowhere near an invitation to the Rose Garden the past four years.

“It’s been difficult for us older guys,” McManus said. “You mentioned our Super Bowl year, we were always known as winning. Always at the top of the division. Never losing any division games really. We won (five) straight AFC West championships. So that part has been difficult.

“We’re trying not to lean on what happened back then because it’s long gone. We have to figure out a new way to win. The Baltimore Ravens are finding new ways to win.

“I think this is the closest team we’ve had since that 2015 year. That was a really tight-knit team, a lot of hanging out between all the players. I think this team is starting to get that and we build with this young core which are the best players that we have. Which is key to building the future so I think everything’s aligning properly here and we just have to make it mesh, which is always the difficult part.”
Chiefs Broncos Football Dorian O’Daniel
Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Dorian O’Daniel (44) reacts as Denver Broncos kicker Brandon McManus (8) misses a field goal attempt during the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019, in Denver.
AP Photo/David Zalubowski

McManus missed a couple kicks earlier in the year he’d like back. A 45-yard field goal in the first Kansas City game. A missed 43-yarder late in the Broncos’ second-half collapse at Minnesota.

“And then in Green Bay a missed extra point I can’t believe I missed,” he said.

It was one of only three extra points he’s missed in his six-season career. But those misses were all before he threw his helmet in a fit of rage. All McManus wanted was a chance to break the record Prater set six years ago.

The matchup today between the 5-9 Broncos and 3-10-1 Lions is not exactly an NFL headliner this weekend. But McManus vs. Prater could be an intriguing kick off.
Titans Broncos Football Brandon McManus
Denver Broncos kicker Brandon McManus warms up before an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
AP

“I think Matt, especially beyond 50 he’s probably the best of all time,” McManus said. “I knew how good Matt was, especially his long kicks, his 50 yarders especially that Tebow year with all the game-winners. It was definitely something I knew what to expect when I was on the field and I wanted to perform in the same sense.”

Custom Larry Fitzgerald Jersey Large

TEMPE, Ariz. — Larry Fitzgerald is back with the Arizona Cardinals. Again.

The future Hall of Fame wide receiver signed a one-year contract with the Cardinals to play a 17th season, all with the only NFL team he has played for. The team announced the signing on Wednesday morning and did not disclose terms of Fitzgerald’s one-year deal, but he has earned $11 million in each of the past four seasons.
Most Seasons with 50 Catches
in NFL History

While Larry Fitzgerald is unlikely to catch Jerry Rice for first in career receptions or receiving yards, a 50-reception campaign in 2020 would tie him with Rice for most such seasons in NFL history.
Player Seasons
Jerry Rice 17
Larry Fitzgerald 16
Tony Gonzalez 16
— ESPN Stats & Information

Fitzgerald, 36, currently sits second on the NFL’s all-time receiving yards list (17,083) and receptions list (1,378), behind Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice. Fitzgerald is sixth on the NFL’s all-time touchdown receptions list with 120, eight behind fifth-place Marvin Harrison, another Hall of Famer.

Fitzgerald was the only active receiver named to the NFL’s all-time team in December.

Fitzgerald’s retirement has been a constant topic of discussion late in the season for each of the last few years, but Fitzgerald kept his message consistent. He took time after each season to evaluate his health, both mental and physical, and then decided on his playing future. Fitzgerald was more open this past season about his future plans, which he said would include doing something that would have an impact on the world, instead of something without substance.
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16 years of amazing catches and class as told by Larry Fitzgerald’s 21 QBs
NFL players considering retirement in the 2020 offseason: 16 who could walk away
Ranking the top 50 potential NFL free agents in 2020

Fitzgerald has long said he’d retire without pomp and circumstance, preferring to walk away quietly, without a farewell tour. That’s on hold for at least another season.

On the field, Fitzgerald continued to show he’s capable of playing at a high level. He had 804 yards and 4 touchdowns on 75 catches in 2019 to lead the Cardinals.

“I think he’s playing as good as anybody, honestly,” coach Kliff Kingsbury said during his season-ending news conference. “You watch what he does week in and week out, the little things, the blocking and the toughness that he brings to the offensive side of the football.

“He’s just still creating separation. He does it all.”

Custom Haason Reddick Jersey Large

It might seem like the members of the 2017 NFL Draft class were only just initiated into the league, but a key milestone is coming up for those picked in the first round: Beginning December 30, teams can start exercising the fifth-year options on these rookie contracts, with May 30, 2020, the deadline to make their decision.

I’ve gone through every player selected in the first round below, marking players according to four separate designations:

1) WORK ON EXTENSION. These players have already proven that they are worthy of receiving a new contract extension, which can’t be negotiated until after their third NFL seasons (this year) is over. These players teams should work to extend them, making the question of the fifth-year option something of a moot point.

2) PICK UP THE OPTION. These players have proven they should be locked up for a fifth year but haven’t yet demonstrated that they should be extended as soon as possible.

3) ON THE FENCE. These players are tough to pin down and could truly go either way.

4) DECLINE THE OPTION. These players have not played well enough to merit the fifth-year option.
Without further ado, here are the players drafted in Round 1 of the 2017 NFL Draft, with fifth-year option verdicts listed. ( Note: Players are listed with drafting teams; new teams for players who have moved on are listed in the appropriate blurbs.)

PICK

1

Myles Garrett – DE

Currently on indefinite suspension, Garrett has paid a heavy price for swinging Steelers QB Mason Rudolph’s helmet at Rudolph in Week 11. Before that, Garrett emerged as one of the NFL’s top defensive linemen, with the second-most pressures in the league (49) through the first 11 weeks of the 2019 season. He was also responsible for 32.2 percent of Cleveland’s total team pressures, the highest share of any player in the NFL through that point in the year. As long as the Browns feel Garrett has learned his lesson, I’d have no problem making a mega investment to keep him around for the long haul. It’s not as if his price tag will go down upon what I expect will be his eventual reinstatement.

Verdict: WORK ON EXTENSION.

PICK

2

Mitchell Trubisky – QB

After a disastrous first half of the season, Trubisky has shown enough promise lately to remain Chicago’s starting quarterback entering the 2020 season. For that reason, it’s worth locking him in for 2021. But given the prices quarterbacks demand, I’d wait to take the plunge on a commitment that lasts any longer until Trubisky can show more consistency.

Verdict: PICK UP THE OPTION.

PICK

3

Solomon Thomas – DE

The second defensive lineman drafted in this class was demoted to a backup role in 2019 after two ho-hum seasons, with his failure to emerge playing a major part in San Francisco’s offseason decisions to trade for Dee Ford and draft Nick Bosa. After participating in 65.2 percent of defensive snaps in 2017 and ’18, Thomas has been on the field for just 41.5 percent in 2019.

Verdict: DECLINE THE OPTION.

PICK

4

Leonard Fournette – RB

At this time last year, it was fair to wonder if Fournette was going to be playing for the Jaguars in 2019 following a season marred by injuries and on-field fisticuffs. Fournette went to Wyoming to train and has since turned things around both on and off the field, proving to be one of the few bright spots for this team in 2019. Fournette has a career-high 1,152 rushing yards in 15 games and is the only Jaguars player in the last eight seasons to post at least 1,500 scrimmage yards in a single season. This decision is dependent on potential turnover among Jacksonville’s leadership, but Fournette has shown himself to be a solid building block.

Verdict: WORK ON EXTENSION.

PICK

5

Corey Davis – WR

This pick was considered a reach back when it was made, and Davis (46 catches, 608 yards and two touchdowns per season) has nothing to dispel that perception since. His production in 2019 is OK, but it hasn’t been good enough for the Titans to extend an option that will cost them a projected $15.8 million.

Verdict: DECLINE THE OPTION.

PICK

6

Jamal Adams – S

Made famously furious by reports that the Jets were shopping him at the trade deadline, Adams has taken his game to an even higher level in the past few weeks, thanks to defensive coordinator Gregg Williams’ increasing usage of Adams as a pass rusher. Despite missing two games with a foot injury, Adams has 6.5 sacks in 2019, the most tallied in a season by an NFL defensive back since Roman Harper posted 7.5 with Carolina in 2011.

Verdict: WORK ON EXTENSION.

PICK

7

Mike Williams – WR

Williams has emerged as one of the NFL’s most dangerous deep threats, averaging a whopping 20.5 yards per catch this season, which should be Williams’ first with 1,000 receiving yards. Still, I’d like to see a bit more production before extending him.

Verdict: PICK UP THE OPTION.

PICK

8

Christian McCaffrey – RB

No NFL running back features as much in his team’s offense as McCaffrey, who’s reached rarefied air as a running back; averaging 161 scrimmage yards over the past three games, McCaffrey has 2,294 on the season, most in the NFL and 11th-most in NFL history. He and Larry Centers are also the only running backs ever to post multiple seasons with 90-plus catches. The two biggest concerns about McCaffrey entering the draft were about his durability and his ability to execute between the tackles, but both were dispelled a long time ago. Considering the typical short shelf life of running backs, his agents are likely to push for a long-term extension while the iron is hot.

Verdict: WORK ON EXTENSION.

PICK

9

John Ross – WR

Ross can run fast and is tough, but injuries prevented him from making a consistent impact on the Bengals for a third straight season.

Verdict: DECLINE THE OPTION.

PICK

10

Patrick Mahomes – QB

Chiefs general manager Brett Veach told me on SiriusXM Radio last summer that Kansas City began budgeting for a long-term extension for Mahomes shortly after he was drafted. Such planning is prudent, with the 2018 MVP heading toward a contract that will surely make him the highest paid player in NFL history.

Verdict: WORK ON EXTENSION.

PICK

11

Marshon Lattimore – CB

The Saints need a player of Lattimore’s caliber in the NFC South, home to high-powered passing offenses that feature the likes of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin in Tampa, Julio Jones in Atlanta and D.J. Moore in Carolina. Lattimore has just three picks over the last two years (including one this season) after logging five en route to winning 2017 Defensive Rookie of the Year — but he did earn his second career Pro Bowl nod.

Verdict: PICK UP THE OPTION.

PICK

12

Deshaun Watson – QB

The man who will soon be known as De$haun Watson and Steve Young are the only two quarterbacks in NFL history with 25 touchdown passes and five rushing TDs in multiple seasons. In Week 16, Watson helped Houston clinch the AFC South title; the next step will be posting his first playoff win.

Verdict: WORK ON EXTENSION.

PICK

13

Haason Reddick – LB

The Cardinals tried Reddick in a variety of spots, playing him in three different systems in his NFL seasons. And yet, he hasn’t excelled enough at any of them to warrant the option being picked up.

Verdict: DECLINE THE OPTION.

PICK

14

Derek Barnett – DE

His heroics in Super Bowl LII, recovering the Tom Brady fumble that helped Philly win the Lombardi Trophy, were considered a sign of things to come, but Barnett has yet to display the kind of growth many expected, with injuries forcing him to miss 10 games in his second season. How much upside the Eagles believe he possesses will determine whether his roughly $10 million option is picked up. There is no one outstanding trait that stands out about Barnett, but he’s a great, play-hard-every-down competitor.

Verdict: ON THE FENCE.

PICK

15

Malik Hooker – S

Hooker’s tackle totals aren’t overly impressive (117 in three seasons, including 51 in 2019), but he’s among the best coverage safeties in the league when healthy.

Verdict: PICK UP THE OPTION.

PICK

16

Marlon Humphrey – S

The secondary is Baltimore’s defensive strength, and Humphrey (62 tackles, 14 passes defensed, three interceptions, two forced fumbles in 2019) plays a huge part in that.

Verdict: PICK UP THE OPTION.

PICK

17

Jonathan Allen – DE

This team leader has five sacks in 2019 and is now two tackles away from breaking his single-season career high of 61.

Verdict: PICK UP THE OPTION.

PICK

18

Adoree’ Jackson – CB

Jackson, who’s been dealing with a foot injury, has yet to break into the ranks of top-tier cornerbacks like the Titans hoped he would following a strong rookie season. After playing 94.1 percent of defensive snaps in 2017, Jackson has dipped to 74.9 in 2019, posting 45 tackles and six passes defensed (zero picks) in 10 games thus far. Even so, it’s hard to picture Tennessee cutting bait on a 24-year-old who looked like a future staple of the secondary.

Verdict: ON THE FENCE.

PICK

19

O.J. Howard – TE

The Bucs resisted the temptation to move Howard at the trade deadline this year, but that doesn’t guarantee his long-term future in Tampa, especially with offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich using Howard more as a blocker than a pass-catcher (after averaging 50 targets in 2017-18, Howard has just 39 targets this year). That role likely isn’t what general manager Jason Licht envisioned when making Howard such a high pick in 2017, when Dirk Koetter was still the Bucs’ head coach. Still, the modest projected cost of keeping Howard (around $6 million) makes it plausible for Tampa to pick up his option.

Verdict: ON THE FENCE.

PICK

20

Garett Bolles – T

Even the offseason addition of renowned offensive line coach Mike Munchak hasn’t helped Bolles become the blind-side protector Denver hoped he’d be when drafting him.

Verdict: DECLINE THE OPTION.

PICK

21

Jarrad Davis – LB

The most disappointing season of Davis’ NFL career ended with him going on injured reserve, though his role in the defense diminished before he was hurt. He can’t play in space and hasn’t shown himself to be the kind of difference-maker he’d need to be to warrant an investment in his future.

Verdict: DECLINE THE OPTION.

PICK

22

Charles Harris – LB

Harris has just 3.5 career sacks and was a healthy scratch on one of the NFL’s worst defenses over the past two weeks, which should tell you everything you need to know about his future in South Florida.

Verdict: DECLINE THE OPTION.

PICK

23

Evan Engram – TE

Injuries have limited him to eight games in 2019, but this matchup nightmare is among the NFL’s best pass-catching tight ends when healthy.

Verdict: PICK UP THE OPTION.

PICK

24

Gareon Conley – CB

Traded to Houston in 2019.

Conley is a stop-gap option for the Texans, who traded for him before the deadline this year. He’ll have a chance to stick in Houston, but likely not on the fifth-round option, which is projected to come with a roughly $10 million salary in 2021.

Verdict: DECLINE THE OPTION.

PICK

25

Jabrill Peppers – S

Traded to New York Giants in March 2019.

Acquired as part of the offseason trade that sent Odell Beckham to the Browns, Peppers displayed improvement this season before landing on IR. It’s hard to picture the Giants declining his option if general manager Dave Gettleman is retained for 2020.

Verdict: ON THE FENCE.

PICK

26

Takk McKinley – DE

Because they are so hard to find, pass rushers usually receive a long leash, even if their sack totals aren’t as high as the drafting team hoped. This is likely to be the case with McKinley (16.5 career sacks), although the possibility of changes at head coach and general manager introduces an element of uncertainty here.

Verdict: ON THE FENCE.

PICK

27

Tre’Davious White – CB

One of the AFC’s top defensive backs has proven to be a better selection than two of the corners picked before him ( Adoree’ Jackson and Gareon Conley). A key player in Buffalo’s third-ranked pass defense, White is tied for the NFL lead in interceptions (six) and ranks third in passes defensed (17).

Verdict: OPTION AND EXTENSION.

PICK

28

Taco Charlton – DE

Waived by Cowboys; signed by Dolphins in September 2019.

Charlton has posted a career-high five sacks this season with the Dolphins since being claimed off waivers, but that’s not enough to have his option picked up.

Verdict: DECLINE THE OPTION.

PICK

29

David Njoku – TE

Being declared a healthy scratch by Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens the past two weeks doesn’t help Njoku’s cause. Neither did the wrist injury that sidelined him for much of 2019. Even so, Njoku possesses the potential for stardom, and that could entice the Browns to take the plunge on the $6 million option.

Verdict: ON THE FENCE.

PICK

30

T.J. Watt – LB

It might be hard for the Steelers to keep Bud Dupree from leaving while also extending Watt, but there is no question Watt is on the trajectory toward a monster deal at some point sooner rather than later. Pittsburgh’s sacks leader (14.0) is also the most disruptive player on the Steelers’ defense.

Verdict: WORK ON EXTENSION.

PICK

31

Reuben Foster – LB

Waived by 49ers; signed by Washington Redskins in November 2018.

Foster, who spent his third NFL season on injured reserve in Washington after his first two were marred by off-field problems, isn’t even guaranteed a roster spot in 2020, let alone a candidate to have his fifth-year option exercised.

Verdict: DECLINE THE OPTION.

PICK

32

Ryan Ramczyk – OT

Considering Ramczyk’s superlative level of play since his rookie season, the Saints should be more thrilled than ever that he ditched his initial plans to become a welder rather than resuming his college football career.

Verdict: PICK UP THE OPTION.

Follow Gil Brandt on Twitter @Gil_Brandt.

Custom Trent Sherfield Jersey Large

With James Bettcher, he doesn’t have any ties to Kliff or Vance Joseph — and I will be interested to see where the assistants come from in that regard this time around. It couldn’t hurt to have that kind of experience on staff. Would be a repeat of adding former Cards DC Bill Davis as a position coach. I am guessing they already have some ideas in mind for the spot, though.

From Sidney Sexon via azcardinals.com:

“Darren, I have read comments and listened to the radio shows where people have said they think we should be targeting a skill player/wide receiver for Kyler with the 8th pick. I hear NFL pundits constantly state that games are won in the trenches and while we shouldn’t stretch for a defensive player or an offensive lineman, it just seems that would be a much better use of the first-round pick. If our offense stayed exactly the same, which means re-signing the free agents we have, and we concentrated just on improving the defense, it seems to me that we would have a legitimate shot at making the playoffs. As always I appreciate your thoughts.”

This is why it is impossible to truly have this conversation right now. We don’t know what will happen in free agency or how this roster will be constructed. As you saw in a previous answer, I’m leaning defense — as long as all the right players are there. I understand the desperation on the lines. And you have to take the players you think are the best, even if someone else thinks it’s a reach. But the other example that jumps to mind is 2007, when the Cards took Levi Brown because they needed a tackle so badly, and passed on Adrian Peterson, whom they considered but also already had Edgerrin James. That’s extreme (and Levi did his job OK for a few years, including as part of a Super Bowl offensive line). But you have to be careful about passing up a difference-maker.

From Red 1 via azcardinals.com:

“Is there any NFL career more odd than Josh McCown? I cannot fathom the guy I watched as a child at Sun Devil Stadium is still playing in the NFL. And the reason its so odd is because he’s not a star. We understand guys like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady get 20-year careers. McCown is that 53rd guy on the roster, and somehow, someway, hes managed to make it year after year.”

He tried to retire, and the Eagles brought him back this year. Yes, I think Josh himself would think it improbable he lasted as long as he did. But he was never the 53rd guy on the roster. He was almost always at least the backup QB, a heartbeat away if you will (like with the Eagles last week), and that is not the same as the inactive third-string linebacker, lineman or safety.

From Moon Milway via azcardinals.com:

“Can you discuss these 2 guys please? Zach Allen. I assume he’s penciled in as a starter next year? I was at Cards camp and was so impressed by him. He has a J.J. Watt-esque presence on the sideline. He talks to everyone. I know DL is such a dire need for us, but I think people forget about Allen. And Lamont Gaillard. Maybe a little strange to single him out given hes a sixth-rounder who didn’t play, but I’m a big college football fan. And Lamont is seriously a hidden gem on this roster. Quinnen Williams (the #3 overall pick last year) said he was the best center he faced in college. Shipley ain’t gonna be around forever, and Mason seems to be the utility knife C-G-OT. But if we identify the C of the future, it’s gotta be Lamont right?”

Allen is absolutely expected to be in the rotation next year, and yes, I would think they would hope he’d be starting. But it’ll depend on who else is available and how he progresses. His rookie status showed when he was in the game this year early in the season, starting because he had to. But he needs to perform at a high level. As for Gaillard, it’s possible — if Cole ended up being the guy to play center, for instance — that Gaillard would end up taking that Cole role of backup G/C. Maybe Gaillard improves enough to beat out Cole at center. Either way, they are hopeful he’s at least active on game days.

From Gary Muller via azcardinals.com:

“I’ve been a Big Red fan since I had my picture taken with Larry Wilson at Cards camp in Lake Forest in 1966. I still have that picture! A few questions:

Why not play top players more in preseason games (ask the Bears)? We got to Week One healthy, then started 0-3-1 (playoffs were kinda pretty much out).
Can anyone discuss why we took Isabella over the obvious pick DK Metcalf?
I’m not sure what David Johnson did to get in the doghouse, but by overusing Kenyan drake (instead of DJ and Chase), he helped our team this year, but we only ‘raised his free agent value.’
Why not give Isabella and Trent Sherfield an occasional pass (13 catches total)?

All said, I love the Cardinals! We live in Chicagoland, but have been to many games when in St Louis and five games in AZ… I just think we “shoot ourselves in the foot” so often (not to mention the wins we gave away early w bad decisions, we were IN the NO game on the road before going for 4th down from our OWN 37-yard line, Tampa game was ours too.”

Playing players more in preseason doesn’t mean much. There is no real cause-and-effect. Now, does going all “vanilla” mean something, as opposed to practicing “real” stuff? That might. But playing time I don’t think means a lot. Teams want to stay healthy. That’s what every team does.
They liked Isabella and what he could mean in the offense that Kingsbury envisioned. And while there were some that wondered if Metcalf would be the pick, I’m not sure why people say it was obvious — he lasted until the very end of the second round, and plenty of receivers went before him. (I go back and look at the comments on the Isabella-is-picked story, and there are tons about the trade of Rosen — and not many if any angry that Metcalf wasn’t the pick.) There were legitimate questions about Metcalf, questions he has obviously answered.
I wouldn’t say the Cardinals overused Drake, and if playing a good player means you are simply raising free-agent value, then every team does it wrong every year. I mean, you play to win the game.
The coaches determined they are better off throwing it elsewhere. I think they had a pretty good plan on offense for the majority of the last 10 games. Hard to argue the decisions on that side of the ball.

From Barbara Tower via azcardinals.com:

“Darren, my husband often sends in questions but I love reading your mailbag just as much so I thought I should send you questions that are on my mind. My question/comment has to do with resigning D.J. Humphries. In my working career, I always found that the chemistry of the team was virtually as important as the talent of the team members (obviously if you have slackers then they need to be replaced). In listening to interviews with Justin Pugh and also how D.J. is received on the ‘Big Red Rage’ by his guest teammates, it seems there is good chemistry between the OL and the rest of the team. Humphries is a known quantity and we should work hard to arrive at a contract that keeps him a Cardinal. To me, other than Larry, who isn’t going to play anywhere else, D.J. is the top priority among the UFAs on this team.”

I do think Hump is well-liked in the locker room. Chemistry is important. But I’m sure I don’t need to tell you the chemistry is quickly lost if the coolest dude in the room can’t play. Doing well and winning is the most important part of chemistry. The OL got along well this season. They fit well with teammates. All that is true. And I agree that Humphries is likely going to be kept, moreso because he is a 26-year-old left tackle who played well enough this season and those things are hard to find in the NFL. The one phrase I liked was “known quantity.” They know what they have in him and what they would be investing in him. If you draft a guy — and there doesn’t seem to be an Anthony Munoz or Orlando Pace in this draft — there is an unknown.

From Norm Wallace via azcardinals.com:

“Hey Darren, who are among your all-time ‘If only they hadn’t gotten hurt’ players? Jonathan Cooper will be high on a lot of lists, but my choice would be Ryan Williams. He got hurt in preseason game No. 1, before he could even get started. Man, he would run so hard. You been around Cards football for a long time now, so maybe you’ve got some names that many of us have forgotten about from the olden days.”

Yes, from all my time living through the olden days. Never have I felt more over the hill. Appreciate that, Norm. Nevertheless, I like this question. I’m going to stick with the franchise since it moved to Arizona, back in that ancient time of 1988, but there are a few. Here are mine off the top of my head, in no particular order, some that never got started, and some that had a full Cardinals career derailed:

QB Neil Lomax
QB Timm Rosenbach
DE Andre Wadsworth
S Tyrann Mathieu
WR John Brown
Coop and Williams
Honorable mention to WR Rod Tidwell

From Elmer Black Jr. via azcardinals.com:

“Don’t name names because I know you won’t anyway, but I find it interesting how every player is always so complimentary to every other player on the roster. Which is understandable, these are your co-workers. But you kind of need to take everything a player says with a grain of that salt. Out of rookie camp, all the vets had nothing but glowing reviews of Kyler Murray. Well, a lot of those players said the same thing about Josh Rosen. My question for you is, have you ever interviewed a player who was a little less considerate of the locker room dynamic, and just put teammates on blast? I don’t recall any. But if you have, I’m just curious what’s that like when a guy is being too honest.”

In my 20 years, I don’t recall anyone going on the record and lighting up a teammate. There’s no upside to it. And sometimes, it’s not because they are just being “nice.” When the Cards were in the offseason in 2018, I think the players saying good things about Josh believed those things. He did look solid at that point. Now, might there have been a couple of times where players said something off the record? Yes. But it’s rare, and it’s never been an on-blast thing really. It happens more when players might be talking about a coach, frankly.

From Hewidar Hasso via azcardinals.com:

Hey Darren, I’m a long-time Cardinals fan from Germany. If you would be our GM, what would be your offseason moves this year in terms of re-signing free agents and the draft. Thank you.”

Those are tough questions, because I’m not privy to all the information — like what the contract demands might be or what free agency might bring. Generally, though (and you can see what I am thinking draft-wise) it makes sense to bolster the defense potentially with that No. 8 pick. Get a DL and an LB in free agency. If Drake sticks around — and I’d want him to stick, as long as it financially made sense — I’m probably seeing what there is out there for David Johnson, in part because he’s definitely not happy having to play a reserve role. I figure out how to keep Humphries, even if that might mean a franchise tag. I don’t rule out spending a pick on a good wide receiver, especially since there seem to be a lot of difference-makers out there. But again, this is all so fluid.

From Jake G via azcardinals.com:

“Hi Darren, thanks for the mailbag. I hope you keep it going during the dredges of the off season. I know we’ve touched on it a little before, but please delve in the best you can. For the life of me, I don’t understand why the NFL doesn’t have a development league. Every major American sport has a D-league. Football arguably needs one more than any of them. Why? I wasn’t alive for NFL Europe, but in my mind its failure has more to do with it being in Europe than anything. We even saw a number of success stories come out of the tragic AAF. You know if the NFL has a D-league, and broadcast games, that would be an additional billion dollars on the pile. Can you explain it to me? Does the NFL hate money and well developed young players? Why on earth is there not an NFL summer D-league?”

Your assumption that there would be this massive TV money for minor-league football, I believe, is probably incorrect. It costs a lot of money to run a football league in which few people have interest. In a lot of ways, that’s what college football has become — this developmental ground. I’m not sure summer football works for fans — it’s not “football” season, and most places, it’s dang hot outside. But the biggest reason is finding players. Teams expand to 90 players in the offseason. Coaches are loathe to not have players in the offseason workouts due to voluntary status — they really don’t want to lose guys all summer to play in a minor league, where they can get hurt, where they aren’t learning specifics of whatever team they are on. Finally, NFLE did generate some players — Kurt Warner, for instance — but certainly not enough NFL-worthy guys to justify its cost/work.