Cardinals Rumors

Cardinals Owner Michael Bidwill Tests Positive For COVID-19

Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill has tested positive for COVID-19, the team announced.

Bidwill is the first of the NFL owners known to have contracted the coronavirus. He was hospitalized recently. However, the 55-year-old owner’s symptoms have subsided, according to the team. Bidwill is expected to be released from the hospital this weekend.

The team believes a weeks-long stay on the East Coast resulted in Bidwill contracting the virus. Bidwill, who is in a Rhode Island hospital (per Katherine Fitzgerald of the Arizona Republic), has not had any contact with Cardinals coaches or players since the virtual offseason began.

Bidwill joins Sean Payton, Von Miller and Ezekiel Elliott as high-profile NFL figures who have contracted COVID-19. As of mid-June, around 10 teams had seen a positive coronavirus case. Given the spikes occurring in most states since then, that number may well be higher as we enter mid-July. Teams remain on track to report to training camp July 28, though several key issues remain unresolved.

Joining the family-owned organization in 1996, Bidwill has run the Cardinals since 2007. His father, Bill Bidwill, died in October 2019.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Murray, Hopkins Convene For Workouts

  • Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins lined up as teammates for the first time, with the new Cardinals duo joining several teammates in Texas for a workout. Despite the NFLPA issuing directives for players not to gather for workouts, as the COVID-19 pandemic sets records (with Texas being a hot spot) in recent days. But other teams — most notably the Buccaneers — have seen select personnel conven for pre-training camp work. The Cards’ workout took place nearby where Murray went to high school, just north of Dallas.

Status Of All 15 Tagged Players Prior to July 15 Extension Deadline

The clock is ticking for tagged players to sign extensions with their teams, per the league calendar.

July 15: At 4:00 p.m., New York time, deadline for any club that designated a Franchise Player to sign such player to a multiyear contract or extension. After this date, the player may sign only a one-year contract with his prior club for the 2020 season, and such contract cannot be extended until after the club’s last regular season game.

With less than nine days remaining until the deadline, let’s take a look at where each of the 15 tagged players stand.

Already Signed Tag

*Received transition tag (vs. franchise tag)

Haven’t Signed Tag, Won’t Hold Out

Haven’t Signed Tag, Threatening Hold Out

COVID-19 Latest: Preseason, Travel, Arizona

As the NFL continues to prepare for training camps amid COVID-19, news on how the league will operate once players return emerges frequently. Here is the latest on the virus-NFL front:

  • A four-week preseason slate looks like the less realistic scenario, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com notes (video link). The NFL-NFLPA talks have not progressed to the point the early portion of the preseason can be ruled out, but signs are pointing in that direction. In addition to gaining some time to further prepare for playing games during the pandemic, the NFL canceling part of the preseason may be vital for conditioning. A multi-week acclimation period would push full-on contact work into mid-August, thus delaying teams’ game action. Players are pushing for the ramp-up period, Garafolo adds (video link). This would stand to better protect them against injuries that would arise from being thrust into team action after a virtual offseason.
  • NFLPA president J.C. Tretter sent a letter to players underlining some of the risks they will take by playing this season. Among the bullet points: the Browns center warns of the players who could be at higher risk of developing severe complications if they were to contract the virus — those with asthma, those at higher weights, etc. Additionally, players want multiple companies to perform different kinds of testing — due to state testing regulations varying. This represents one of the many issues the NFL and NFLPA are discussing before players return to team facilities. Players are scheduled for a conference call Thursday.
  • Two-plus months before the regular season is scheduled to begin, teams are already making travel adjustments. Multiple teams plan to take the unusual step of traveling on game days, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reports. This does not indicate whether these plans will be in place throughout the season, with it being impractical for teams to make lengthy trips on game mornings. But teams even preparing to make day-of flights, to avoid hotel stays, is notable. Early returns do not point to players being on board (all Twitter links).
  • The Cardinals have some new hurdles to clear to host training camp. In light of coronavirus cases hitting record highs in Arizona — one of several states in which this is the case — Gov. Doug Ducey banned gatherings of 50 or more people. Ducey added that this policy is unlikely to affect sports — despite NFL training camps obviously housing far more than 50 people — but said attendance will be impacted (Twitter link via the Arizona Repulic’s Katherine Fitzgerald). Arizona was one of the first states to reopen and announce sports could return.

Cardinals Cut Jermiah Braswell After Arrest

5:07pm: Hours after news of this arrest surfaced, the Cardinals waived Braswell, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets.

1:53pm: Cardinals undrafted free agent wide receiver Jermiah Braswell was arrested for DUI on June 27 after he allegedly drove his Camaro into Lake Erie, per Corey Vallas of WFMJ.com. When the aptly-named Put-in-Bay police arrived at the scene, they found Braswell’s vehicle off the embankment and sitting in the water. Braswell was still in the driver’s seat attempting to move the car and could not explain what had happened.

Braswell subsequently failed a breath test and was arrested. Fortunately, no one else was in the vehicle and neither Braswell nor any bystanders were injured.

Braswell enjoyed a career year during his senior season at Youngstown State in 2019, recording 24 catches for 515 yards and seven TDs. The raw numbers are not flashy in and of themselves, but his outrageous 21.5 yards per reception clearly caught the eye of Arizona brass, who decided to take a flier on him when he went undrafted.

Of course, it’s difficult for any UDFA to make an NFL roster or even the taxi squad, and Braswell was one of five undrafted wideouts the Cardinals brought in this year. Given that, and considering the team’s WR depth chart was pretty strong to begin with, it would not be surprising to see the Cardinals cut bait in the coming days.

Former Chargers OL Max Tuerk Dead At 26

Former NFL offensive lineman Max Tuerk died on Sunday at the age of 26, per an announcement from USC’s athletics department. Tuerk, a third-round draft pick of the Chargers in 2016, was 26 years old. The cause of death was not disclosed. 

Tuerk made his name at USC, where he lined up at guard, tackle, and center and totaled 38 starts. Heading into his senior year, Tuerk looked the part of an early draft pick, but a knee injury capped his senior season at just five games. In the draft, the Chargers saw Tuerk as a potential steal, a versatile blocker who could bolster every part of the front five.

Unfortunately, suspensions and injuries plagued Tuerk’s pro career. The Chargers stashed him on the taxi squad in 2017, until he was plucked by Arizona. He played in just one game for the Cardinals before he was released outright in the offseason.

We here at PFR would like to express our condolences to Tuerk’s family and friends.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

DeAndre Hopkins Leaves CAA

Newly-minted Cardinals wideout DeAndre Hopkins is changing agents. Per Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal, Hopkins is leaving Creative Artists Agency (CAA), and he will be eligible to sign with a new agent on Sunday (Twitter link).

The move is particularly notable because of Hopkins’ contract status. The star receiver, who went to the desert in a shocking trade between the Cardinals and Texans earlier this offseason, still has three years remaining on his current deal, but he has been negotiating a new pact with Arizona. He has indicated that he is not demanding a new contract, but the Cardinals are amenable to giving him one if the price is right.

Apparently, Hopkins was less than thrilled about how negotiations were going between CAA and the Cardinals. CAA is easily the top player agency in professional sports and counts Aaron Donald and Matthew Stafford among its most notable NFL clients, but its reputation wasn’t enough to get the job done.

Recent rumors have suggested that Hopkins’ next deal could make him the highest-paid non-QB in the league. However, given that he remains under club control through 2022, and considering the league-wide concern in giving out massive extensions in the current financial climate, that could be a tough sell. We will see if his new agency — assuming he does not choose to represent himself — can make more headway in that regard.

Hopkins joins an Arizona offense that has the potential to be explosive in 2020. The three-time First Team All-Pro has averaged over 90 catches per season for roughly 1,230 yards and eight TDs over his first seven years in the league.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cardinals To Sign Dylan Cantrell

The Cardinals have agreed to sign Dylan Cantrell, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The wide receiver was a pupil of head coach Kliff Kingsbury at Texas Tech, which may bode well for his chances of making the roster.

Cantrell, who stands at 6’3″, is expected to also see some work at tight end. He first entered the league as a sixth-round choice of the Chargers in 2018 and they had him ticketed as a WR. He didn’t see the field for the Bolts, but he did spend some time on the active roster.

In college, Cantrell managed 1,873 yards across four seasons. Much of that production came in his final year on campus when he hauled in 71 catches for 816 yards and seven touchdowns.

Now, Cantrell will push to make the team behind a wide receiver group headlined by Larry Fitzgerald, DeAndre Hopkins, and Christian Kirk. Or, if he gets work at tight end, he’ll be auditioning alongside Maxx Williams, Darrell Daniels, Dan Arnold, and UDFA Ryan Becker.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Talks Stall Between Cardinals, Patrick Peterson

There hasn’t been a lot of conversation between the Cardinals and Patrick Peterson on a new deal, the cornerback says (Twitter link via Darren Urban of the team website). Still, as he enters his walk year, P2 says he wants to continue and ultimately finish his career with the only team he’s ever known. 

Peterson is set to carry a $13.2MM charge against the 2020 salary cap. An extension could allow the Cardinals could tamp that number down a bit (though, probably not by much) while giving Peterson extra security as he enters his 30s.

Peterson, 30 in July, tallied 53 total tackles, two interceptions, and seven passes defensed in his shortened ten-game season. That marked the first campaign of his career without perfect attendance.

Last year, Peterson told the Cardinals that he wanted to be traded. Later, he was hit with a six-game ban for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs. At that point, he changed course, telling the world that he wanted to spend the rest of his career in Arizona.

Despite all of the friction, Peterson has been phenomenal for the most part. Over the last nine years, he’s tallied 25 interceptions while blanketing some of the league’s most dangerous receivers. He didn’t deliver his finest work in 2019, but he believes that he can help launch the Cardinals into contention in 2020.

It’s going to come down to us to manage the locker room, manage the egos and make sure everybody is on the same page and understand that we have to commit to one another, believe in one another and trust one another,” Peterson said. “If we do those three things, we can be in Tampa (for the Super Bowl) ready to face whoever, and ready to hopefully bring that Lombardi trophy, the first Lombardi trophy, home to Arizona.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.