Friday, March 15, 2013
Antoine Cason and Cards' approach to FA
By Mike Sando
The Arizona Cardinals keep adding lower-priced veterans on short-term contracts as they transition toward a future under new coach Bruce Arians.
Defensive end Matt Shaughnessy and cornerback Antoine Cason were the latest additions Friday. They joined Rashard Mendenhall and Jerraud Powers as free-agent additions with short contracts, low salaries and youth on their side.
None of the four is even 27 years old. Each has an opportunity to parlay 2013 into a bigger contract next year. Significantly for the Cardinals, the team could move on from these players without incurring charges against future salary caps. That will be significant for roster building in Arizona.
Adding high-priced free agents would be more exciting, of course, but the Cardinals aren't in great position to go that route at this stage of their transition. They've incurred short-term charges against the salary cap by unloading fat contracts left over from the previous regime. For example, the contracts for Kevin Kolb, Stewart Bradley and Adrian Wilson alone are counting more than $10 million against the 2013 cap even though all three were released.
The team will gain greater flexibility as those and other leftover contracts come off the books in 2014.
Cason, signed from the San Diego Chargers, was one of the highest-ranked cornerbacks available, according to Scouts Inc. He has 12 interceptions in five NFL seasons and has played at least 87 percent of the defensive snaps in each of the past three seasons. That included 96.7 percent last season.
"Cason is a big corner with good top-end speed and above-average short-area quickness, agility and body control," the Scouts Inc. report read in part. "He has learned how to use his long arms to jam or re-route receivers at the line of scrimmage and looks more comfortable from a press alignment than he does in off coverage. He is a willing tackler but is not as strong or explosive as you'd expect for someone his size."
Cason is 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds.