Monday, April 29, 2013
On Adam Snyder's release from Cardinals
By Mike Sando
The Arizona Cardinals' situation at guard changed when the team used the seventh and 116th choices in the 2013 NFL draft to address the position.
Adam Snyder's release from the team Monday was one immediate consequence.
The five-year, $17.5 million contract Snyder signed with the Cardinals last offseason invited skepticism at the time because Snyder had seemingly struggled while starting at right guard for San Francisco previously. The 49ers were eager to move on from Snyder and Chilo Rachal at right guard last offseason. The Cardinals signed Snyder, paid him a $5 million signing bonus and made him their starter.
The Cardinals still must account for $4 million in charges against their salary cap relating to the bonus money Snyder received. The team will save $2.9 million in base salary this season, but the cap charge for Snyder's contract could be the same in 2013 without Snyder as it would have been had he remained on the roster: $4 million. Update: The Cardinals are reportedly designating Snyder as a post-June 1 release, meaning they can defer some cap consequences until 2014.
Arizona has mismanaged its offensive line over the past five-plus seasons, in my view. Using the fifth overall choice of the 2007 draft for Levi Brown delivered to the team a long-term starter, but not one of the NFL's top tackles. The team failed to draft another offensive lineman in the first three rounds from 2008 until selecting Jonathan Cooper with the seventh overall choice this year.
The Cardinals' reliance on older backups with little room for improvement proved costly last season when D'Anthony Batiste was initially the replacement for an injured Brown at left tackle. Snyder also struggled.
A steady stream of overmatched quarterbacks has exacerbated the situation. Top quarterbacks help out their lines by getting rid of the ball quickly. Poor quarterbacks make bad lines look worse by holding the ball too long and inviting sacks or other negative plays, leading to unfavorable down-and-distance situations.
The team appears recommitted to improving its line. Selecting Cooper and fourth-round choice Earl Watford one year after drafting Bobby Massie and Nate Potter has given the team younger options.
Snyder would be best suited as a backup for all five positions on the line, in my view. I could see him landing in that capacity with a team such as San Diego. Former Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt is the Chargers' offensive coordinator. He was with Arizona when the team signed Snyder.