The Cardinals have signed center A.Q. Shipley to a one-year extension through the 2019 season, the club announced today. Shipley is currently on injured reserve and will miss the upcoming campaign after tearing his ACL earlier this month.
Arizona’s decision to extend Shipley while he’s injury may seem curious at first glance, but the deal likely doesn’t contain much — if any — guaranteed money, so there’s probably little risk for general manager Steve Keim & Co. Shipley originally re-signed with the Cardinals on a two-year pact in March 2017, and that contract will pay him a base salary of $1.5MM in 2018.
With Shipley sidelined, the Cardinals plan to use third-round rookie Mason Cole at center. If Cole establishes himself at the pivot in 2018, Shipley would likely return next season as a reserve at all three interior line spots. But if Cole doesn’t play well in his first NFL go-round, Shipley could conceivably compete to start again next year.
Shipley, 32, has been with Arizona since 2015 but didn’t become the team’s full-time starter until 2016. He started all 32 games over the past two season, and Pro Football Focus graded him as the league’s No. 14 center in 2017.
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