Friday, April 2, 2010
Feely over Rackers? Whisenhunt explains
By Mike Sando
I'm not sure what the record is for kicker-related entries on a Friday, but since the previous item, the Cardinals did pass along comments from coach Ken Whisenhunt following Jay Feely's signing in favor of Neil Rackers:
"Not knowing where things were going with Neil, we had to look at all the available options. When we looked at Jay, he graded out very high, but what was particularly impressive was how well he kicked in some brutal conditions. To kick in that stadium and in that conference and to put up the kind of numbers he did is certainly impressive. We also have some people here who were familiar with Jay. He and (defensive coordinator) Bill Davis were together in New York and that was a plus. Jay has a strong leg and is a proven NFL kicker, so we feel great about being able to get him.
"It’s tough (losing Rackers). I was just thinking about it and my first win as Cardinals head coach was against Seattle on a game-winning field goal by Neil. We're all very grateful to Neil for what he's contributed to our team. He's not only been a very productive kicker but also tremendous in the community and he'll be missed. Unfortunately, we couldn't work anything out (on a new contract) with him and the most important thing for us was to make sure we were covered at that position with a quality and proven kicker. Certainly, Jay Feely gives us that."
The bottom line, I think, is that bringing back Rackers wasn't a high priority for Arizona. The Cardinals could have franchised Rackers at a reasonable rate, something the Seahawks did to keep Olindo Mare. But it wasn't a high enough priority. I'll be interested in seeing what kind of contract Rackers gets elsewhere, and how it compares to what Feely received.