Cardinals Rumors

Cardinals To Extend D.J. Humphries

Shortly after Steve Keim indicated the Cardinals were confident they’d retain D.J. Humphries in free agency, Arizona’s left tackle has agreed to terms to stay with the franchise that drafted him.

Humphries agreed to a three-year, $45MM extension on Monday, Mike Garafolo of tweets. The former first-round pick will receive $30MM over the first two years of that deal, and the pact contains $29MM guaranteed. This takes one of the top offensive linemen off the free agent market.

The second year of Humphries’ deal – worth $15MM – will become guaranteed on March 21 of this year, Kent Somers of The Arizona Republic tweets. That means the first two years are effectively guaranteed; a big win for the lineman and his camp.

Humphries, 26, now becomes the NFL’s fifth-highest-paid tackle, in terms of per-year salary. He’s also one of five $15MM-AAV offensive linemen. A Humphries franchise tag would have cost Arizona nearly $15MM; that certainly played a role in these extension talks.

While Humphries has battled injuries and inconsistency, the Cardinals are sold he can be Kyler Murray‘s blind-side protector for years to come. The Cardinals had not seen Humphries play 16 games until this past season. From 2017-18, he played five and nine, respectively. Knee issues sidelined Humphries during those slates, which came after a 2015 rookie season in which he was inactive throughout. This is a big bet from Keim, whose record on first-round picks between Humphries and Murray has not been great.

From 2016-18, the Cardinals used first-round picks on Robert Nkemdiche, Haason Reddick and Josh Rosen. None were starters by season’s end; Reddick is the only member of this trio who remains with the Cards. He will almost certainly see his fifth-year option declined come May. Humphries has outperformed this trio, but other than a brief 2017 work sample, Pro Football Focus has not raved about the ex-Florida blocker’s work. That has not stopped teams from big tackle investments, however. The Buccaneers gave Donovan Smith a major extension last year, despite frequent down reviews from PFF.

Humphries began his career as Arizona’s right tackle in 2016 but switched to the left side a year later, moving Jared Veldheer from his long-held left tackle post. Humphries has played for three head coaches, but despite Kliff Kingsbury being early in his Texas Tech tenure when the Cards drafted the 6-foot-5 tackle, the second-year Arizona coach has entrusted him to protect the franchise’s top investment for a while.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cardinals To Add Ex-QB To Staff

  • The Cardinals will add a former NFL and AAF quarterback to their staff. Mike Bercovici will join Kliff Kingsbury‘s staff as an entry-level assistant, per the Arizona Republic’s Bob McManaman. Bercovici, 27, spent time with the Cards’ practice squad in 2017. The ex-Arizona State quarterback was on Herm Edwards‘ Sun Devils staff last season.

Cardinals ‘Very Optimistic’ About Re-Signing LT D.J. Humphries

The Cardinals weren’t very good this past year, but the first season of the Kliff Kingsbury/Kyler Murray partnership was by all accounts a modest success relative to expectations. They now have a pivotal offseason ahead of them, and it sounds like locking up Murray’s blindside protector is a priority. 

Arizona GM Steve Keim said during a recent radio interview with 98.7 FM that he’s “very optimistic” about the team’s chances of bringing back left tackle D.J. Humphries, via Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic. Keim added that the entire organization is “very confident” that Humphries is “one of the better tackles” in the league. The Cardinals drafted Humphries in the first round back in 2015, and his career got off to a very shaky start.

His rookie season was a disaster, as he couldn’t move past third-string on the depth chart and was inactive for all 16 games. He started his second season at right tackle, starting 13 games. He was the left tackle the following year, but knee issues limited him to only five appearances. In 2018 he started nine games at left tackle before another knee injury ended his season. This past year he finally stayed healthy, starting all 16 contests.

Humphries received solid grades from Pro Football Focus, and the Cards clearly don’t plan on letting him walk. When asked about using the franchise tag on him, Keim indicated he would rather work out an extension. “You always want to tie up your players that you feel good about and you want to come to an agreement moving forward to a longer-term deal than having to use those things,” he said. McManaman thinks that Arizona will have to pay the 26-year-old around $14MM annually.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cardinals, Patrick Peterson Talking Extension

Extension talks between cornerback Patrick Peterson and the Cardinals are underway, GM Steve Keim said in an interview with 98.7 FM (Twitter link via Darren Urban of the team website). Peterson has one more year to go on his contract and a new deal could make sense for both sites.

[Cardinals GM: We Won’t Cut David Johnson]

As it stands, Peterson is slated to count for $13.2MM against the 2020 salary cap. A new deal could help to smooth out his hit while giving the cornerback additional security as he enters his 30s.

Last offseason, 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. After receiving the bad news, he backpedaled by saying he hopes to play his entire career in Arizona.

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

The Cardinals lifer began building a reputation as one of the league’s best corners right out of the gate. After being selected No. 5 overall in the 2011 draft, Peterson was a first-team All-Pro and Pro Bowler in his rookie season. The follow-up didn’t disappoint, either. Peterson snagged seven interceptions as an NFL sophomore, solidifying his top-tier status. Over the last nine years, he’s come away with 25 turnovers and while blanketing some of the league’s most dangerous receivers.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cardinals GM: We Won’t Cut David Johnson

The Cardinals figure to be active this offseason, but a David Johnson release won’t be on the agenda. In a radio interview on Friday morning, GM Steve Keim ruled out the possibility of cutting the running back. 

Cutting him is not an option,” Keim told 98.7 FM (Twitter link via Darren Urban of the team website).

It’s hard to argue with Keim’s take. Johnson’s contract – worth $13MM per year on average – offers no real escape at the moment. Cutting him this offseason would result in a $16.2MM dead money hit. On the roster, he carries a $14.1MM cap charge.

Johnson was once one of the league’s most feared running backs. Unfortunately, ankle and back injuries have held him back in recent years and the Cardinals responded by slashing his workload in 2019 and acquiring Kenyan Drake in a surprising midseason deal. Drake is scheduled to reach free agency in March, but regardless of how it shakes out, Johnson figures to be a part of the team next year.

You can’t just have one back,” Keim noted.

Johnson missed a big chunk of time in the middle of the season before returning in Week 13. Then, between Weeks 13 and 16, he was handed the ball just four times. He finished out with less than four yards per tote for the second straight season but, on the plus side, he was still contributing as a pass-catcher.

Johnson inked a three-year, $39MM deal with the Cardinals in 2018 that takes him through the 2021 season. Whether he makes it to the final year of that deal will be dependent on his health and Drake’s effectiveness (if re-signed). Next year, the Cardinals will have the option of shedding Johnson’s scheduled $12MM charge and saving $9MM against a much more palatable $3MM.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cardinals Owner Backs GM Steve Keim

With eight total wins over the last two seasons, Cardinals fans are feeling antsy and some have pointed fingers at GM Steve Keim. In an interview with 98.7 Arizona Sports on Wednesday, owner Michael Bidwill made it known that Keim has his full support, despite the club’s recent lack of success.

He just picked a Rookie of the Year,” Bidwill said, referring to No. 1 overall pick Kyler Murray (transcription via the team website). “He had a lot to do with hiring [head coach] Kliff Kingsbury. He’s done a lot of things right. I feel like we’ve certainly turned, and for as much as the Cardinals are going in the right direction, Steve Keim deserves a lot of credit for that. I hope fans realize that was a lot of his decision-making.”

Bidwill admitted that Keim’s draft record has been less than sterling, but he also pointed out some highlights of the GM’s resume, including the trade to acquire running back Kenyan Drake. Many questioned the wisdom of that move, given that the Cardinals were out of the playoff hunt and Drake is due for free agency in March. Still, Drake delivered, rushing for 5.2 yards per carry in his eight games with Arizona.

He has received his fair share of criticism,” Bidwill said. “Some of these draft picks didn’t work out. But you look at this last year, look at the number of starters who were not available for the defense and had they been available, things could have been, on the defensive side of the ball, much different. That had to do with injuries and other things you can’t blame the general manager for.”

Keim, with support from Bidwill, has nearly $54MM in cap space to work with, as of this writing. He’s also armed with the No. 8 overall pick in the draft as the Cardinals look to climb out of their rut.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cardinals Bring Back Brentson Buckner

  • Weeks after Jon Gruden brought in Rod Marinelli to take Brentson Buckner‘s job as defensive line coach, the longtime NFL assistant has another gig. Buckner will return to the Cardinals‘ coaching staff, the team announced. Buckner’s first major NFL coaching role came in Arizona; the former 12-year NFL defensive lineman spent all five years of Bruce Arians‘ run as the Cards’ D-line coach. He’ll reprise that role.
  • The Cardinals are making more staff changes. Former 49ers special teams coordinator Derius Swinton signed on to become the Cards’ assistant ST coach. After spending 2018 on the Lions’ staff, Swinton did not coach this past season. Additionally, Spencer Whipple will rise from the quality control level to assistant wideouts coach.

NFL Reserve/Futures Contracts: 2/4/20

Here are today’s reserve/futures deals:

Arizona Cardinals

Kansas City Chiefs

2020 Draft Order

Super Bowl LIV is in the books, which means the order for the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft is set. By virtue of their 31-20 win Sunday night, the Chiefs will have the final pick in the first round. The 49ers dropping to 5-2 in Super Bowls will result in the NFC champions approaching the podium at No. 31.

Here is the full first-round order:

1. Bengals (2-14)

2. Redskins (3-13)

3. Lions (3-12-1)

4. Giants (4-12)

5 Dolphins (5-11)

6. Chargers (5-11)

7. Panthers (5-11)

8. Cardinals (5-10-1)

9. Jaguars (6-10)

10. Browns (6-10)

11. Jets (7-9)

12. Raiders (7-9)

13. Colts (7-9)

14. Buccaneers (7-9)

15. Broncos (7-9)

16. Falcons (7-9)

17. Cowboys (8-8)

18. Dolphins (via Steelers 8-8)

19. Raiders (via Bears 8-8)

20. Jaguars (via Rams 9-7)

21. Eagles (9-7)

22. Bills (10-6)

23. Patriots (12-4)

24. Saints (13-3)

25. Vikings (10-6)

26. Dolphins (via Texans 10-6)

27. Seahawks (11-5)

28. Ravens (14-2)

29. Titans (9-7)

30. Packers (13-3)

31. 49ers (13-3)

32. Chiefs (12-4)