Cardinals left guard Mike Iupati is likely to undergo arthroscopic knee surgery this week that would sideline him for 6-8 weeks, a source tells Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Iupati joined Arizona on a substantial free agent deal this season with the expectation that he would bolster the interior of their offensive line. He still figures to be a difference maker for the Cards, but his debut won’t come until October or later.
The Raiders were said to be “hot after” Iupati this offseason and he also had serious interest from the Bills and Jets. The Cardinals, meanwhile, weren’t really mentioned as a leading suitor for his services, but they were lurking in the shadows and on March 11th, they agreed to sign him to a five-year, $40MM pact. At one time, 2013 first-round choice Jonathan Cooper was expected to hold down the fort at guard, but so far he hasn’t realized his potential, so the Iupati signing made a lot of sense for the Cards.
The three-time Pro Bowler graded out as the 14th best guard in the NFL out of 78 qualified players, according to the advanced metrics at Pro Football Focus (subscription required). Iupati, a former first-round pick who’s started missed only five games during his career, is regarded as a much better run-blocker than pass-blocker.