Thursday, July 28, 2011
Kolb, Sendlein deals give Cards push
By Mike Sando
Thoughts on the Arizona Cardinals' trade for Kevin Kolb and contract agreement with veteran center Lyle Sendlein (thank you, ESPN's Adam Schefter).
- Challenging perception: The Cardinals have taken criticism for what has been portrayed as unwillingness to pay Marc Bulger last offseason after reaching agreement with Derek Anderson. To review, the timing worked out poorly for Arizona. The team considered acquiring Charlie Whitehurst, then decided to sign Anderson while he remained available. Meanwhile, the St. Louis Rams were waiting to release Bulger, a player the Cardinals otherwise would have targeted. After adding Anderson, the Cardinals weren't going to pay similar money for Bulger, despite apparent pleas from coach Ken Whisenhunt. Whether or not the criticism was valid, the Cardinals aren't holding back now. Perhaps a 5-11 disaster season gave Whisenhunt the power he needed. Whatever the case, if the five-year, $63 million contract Kolb plans to sign does include more than $20 million in guarantees, as advertised, it's tougher to say the organization is afraid to spend on a quarterback, even an unproven one.
- Offensive focus: Arizona is transforming its offense. Third-round pick Rob Housler projects as a receiving tight end. Veteran Jeff King, who agreed to terms with Arizona recently after beginning his career in Carolina, projects as more of a blocker. Ryan Williams, a surprise pick in the second round, projects as a running back with big-play ability. The offense has evolved significantly. The team could use a speed receiver after Steve Breaston left for Kansas City, but San Diego's Malcolm Floyd apparently isn't on their radar, Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic noted.
- Jump start?: After a quiet start to the negotiating period, the Cardinals appear to be operating with urgency as the signing period approaches Friday. Kolb's addition was a big step. Keeping Sendlein was a key for a line that needs to move forward, not take steps in the other direction. Sendlein has quietly become a consistent, solid contributor on the line. He and newcomer Daryn Colledge, formerly of Green Bay, should help the line develop more of an enduring identity. I still think the Cardinals could use help at tackle, but that doesn't appear to be a priority.
The Cardinals also reached agreement with former Pittsburgh Steelers defensive lineman Nick Eason. His ties to new defensive coordinator Ray Horton made this a natural fit. Eason, 31, has started five games in each of the last two seasons.