RackersI've dealt with Rob Roche a number of times over the years (he also represents Rams kicker Josh Brown). It's unusual for agents and teams to provide a play-by-play account of negotiations, but Roche felt he needed to provide his side after looking like the bad guy. Reached Friday, Roche put together the following account, delivered by email:
"At the outset of free agency, we received a contract offer from the Cardinals. Accordingly, I responded with a counter-offer to this proposal. [General manager] Rod Graves indicated that he would review the proposal and get back to me the following day, which was a Wednesday. I did not hear a response from Rod until late Friday afternoon, wherein he advised me that he was going to the league meetings in Orlando and that he would get back to me as he was doing a 'budget analysis'.
"After not hearing from him on Friday and over the weekend, I contacted him that Monday to determine the status with our counter offer and where they were at in their budget review. Rod texted me that he was still in Orlando and that he would get back to me when he returned on Monday. I then received a call from Rod on Monday evening and he indicated that he was again doing budget reviews and that he would get back to me the next day. On Tuesday, I received a text message from Rod indicating that he was again in budget meetings and that he would have to postpone negotiations until a later date and that he would get back to me.
"On Wednesday afternoon this week, I finally received a call from Rod and he communicated their final one-year offer. I indicated that I would review it with Neil and get back to him. I did not reject their offer. On Thursday afternoon, I called Rod to discuss the offer on Neil's behalf, leaving a message with his secretary regarding Neil Rackers. I was never given an opportunity to accept or reject the offer from the Cardinals because they had already agreed on a contract offer with Jay Feely."
The Cardinals declined an opportunity to respond.
My take: Rackers probably wanted more initially than the Cardinals wanted to pay, which is typical for a negotiation (and probably predictable after Oakland spent lavishly for Sebastian Janikowski and Seattle franchised Olindo Mare). The Cardinals identified Feely as a fallback plan. The Cardinals wanted Rackers back, but it wasn't a huge priority or they would have pushed harder to get something done. Once they were close to a deal with Feely, they weren't going to put talks on hold, figuring they could wind up whiffing on both kickers. Feelings were hurt along the way, leading to the current fallout.