Cardinals Rumors

Cardinals Have “No Concern” Over DeAndre Hopkins Trade

Three weeks ago, the Cardinals swung a blockbuster deal with the Texans to acquire DeAndre Hopkins. Three weeks later, the deal has yet to be finalized due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Still, Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury is confident that the trade will be finalized before the “fully virtual” NFL Draft begins on April 23. 

[RELATED: Cardinals Eyeing Tight Ends In Draft]

There’s no concern,” Kingsbury told reporters this week (via Mason Kern of Sports Illustrated). “Those (physicals) aren’t official as far as I know at this point, but we’ll get it done. There’s obviously — the medical field and personnel have much bigger fish to fry at this point. It’s been slower than it (normally) would be, but I have no doubts it’ll be done before the draft.”

The delay has some Cardinals fans nervous and, perhaps, has some Texans fans hopeful that, somehow, the deal will be nixed and Hopkins will return to Houston. That doesn’t seem like it’ll be the case. Barring any snags involving the physicals, Hopkins is going to Arizona and running back David Johnson is going to Houston.

Despite his injury history, Johnson was reportedly healthy by the end of the 2019 season. In theory, the Texans could use a spotty medical check to renegotiate the deal, but there shouldn’t be any real surprises once the running back is finally looked over. Besides, the Cardinals have already started discussing a new deal with Hopkins and the Texans weren’t willing to give into his contract demands in the first place.

For now, D-Hop is set to count for just $12.5MM against the Cardinals’ cap in 2020. His cap charges for the rest of his contract – which runs through 2022 – do not exceed $14MM in any given season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On DeAndre Hopkins Trade

One of the most heavily-scrutinized trades in recent memory — the deal that will presumably send star wideout DeAndre Hopkins and a 2020 fourth-round pick to the Cardinals in exchange for David Johnson, a 2020 second-round pick, and a 2021 fourth-rounder — has not yet been processed because the players involved have been unable to take physicals, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com observes (via Twitter). Of course, the same holds true for a number of free agent pacts around the league, but given the magnitude of, and fallout from, the Hopkins-Johnson swap, the fact that it’s not yet set in stone is significant.

In order to avoid having their free agent signees in a holding pattern, some teams have taken the route that the Bengals recently took with one of their big offseason acquisitions, D.J. Reader. Readers’s deal is now “official,” but he agreed to additional language in his contract which states that he still must pass a physical in order for the deal to take effect. If he doesn’t pass, the Bengals will have the option of cutting him immediately or keeping the contract as-is.

Similarly, if Hopkins and/or Johnson should fail a physical, it would give Houston and Arizona the ability to back out of the trade altogether. As it presently stands, the Cardinals — who are already said to be talking contract with Hopkins — would be hurt the most by such a development, and it stands to reason that they would then push for a modified deal that still brings the three-time First Team All-Pro to the desert.

On the other hand, a failed physical would allow the Texans and head coach/de facto GM Bill O’Brien to back out of a trade that has been universally panned, and while the underlying reasons for the trade would still exist — Hopkins’ contract demands and reported friction between Hopkins and O’Brien — O’Brien would surely welcome a chance to negotiate a more favorable accord with Cardinals GM Steve Keim.

The odds are slim that either Hopkins or Johnson will fail a physical. Hopkins has been the picture of health in his seven-year career, and while the same cannot be said for Johnson, he at least appeared to be 100% at the end of the 2019 season (even if his playing time was slashed). More likely than not, the trade will go through and Texans fans will remain bitter about it, but until it becomes official, it’s a situation worth monitoring.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Contract Details: Zuerlein, Bills, Cardinals

Here are the latest details from the second wave of free agency. All links courtesy of the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson, unless otherwise noted.

Cardinals Eyeing Tight Ends In Draft

  • Kliff Kingsbury‘s offense did not feature too much from the tight end position last season, though the Cardinals did extend Maxx Williams. Neither he nor Charles Clay reached 250 receiving yards in 2019. The Cardinals, however, are eyeing tight ends in this coming draft class, Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com tweets. They had planned to bring in some for pre-draft workouts, but the NFL nixed those early in the process. This draft class is not viewed to be especially deep at tight end, however.
  • The Cardinals also are interested in Utah running back Zack Moss, according to Weinfuss (on Twitter). Moss already went through a FaceTime conversation with Cardinals running backs coach James Saxon, per Weinfuss. Moss ended the 2019 season as the Pac-12’s offensive player of the year, totaling 1,804 yards from scrimmage and 17 touchdowns as a senior.

Latest On Broncos’ RB Plans

Before the Broncos decided on a Melvin GordonPhillip Lindsay backfield, they had another veteran standout on their radar. Denver was interested in trading for David Johnson, Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic reports (subscription required).

The Broncos expressed interest in the former Cardinals All-Pro at the Combine but did not wish to meet Arizona’s asking price, Jhabvala adds. Johnson is now a member of the Texans, set to collect his full $10.2MM base salary despite Duke Johnson also on tap to earn $3.6MM in 2020. While the latter’s salary is non-guaranteed, Houston’s backfield has become quite expensive. After two years of using rookie-contract running backs, Denver’s has as well.

John Elway and Vic Fangio came to an agreement on needing a better 1-2 punch in the team’s backfield compared to what it possessed in its Lindsay-Royce Freeman setup of the past two years, Fangio said. New OC hire Pat Shurmur sought a “bellcow” back, per Jhabvala. Given that David Johnson was on the radar, the Broncos were undeterred by a large salary in their backfield.

This has created a situation in which Gordon is on track to displace Lindsay as the Broncos’ top running back. Gordon is also attached to a two-year, $16MM contract. Lindsay will make $750K in 2020. Despite becoming the first UDFA to start his career with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, Lindsay denied he will seek a trade or prioritize a new deal. Elway confirmed Tuesday a new Lindsay agreement is not out of the question, but the 10th-year GM appeared to be more optimistic on this front at the conclusion of the 2019 season.

I’ve talked to Phillip’s agent and we’ll see what happens and what we can do later on,” Elway said. “That’s not a guarantee either way, but we’ll see what we can do later on.”

Lindsay’s agent, Mike McCartney, said (via Jhabvala) he hopes the Broncos will “do right by” his client after he “exceeded expectations.” No Lindsay extension discussions have occurred, however, Jhabvala adds. Lindsay cannot become an unrestricted free agent until 2022; he will be an RFA next March.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cards, DeAndre Hopkins Discuss Contract

After the Texans received extensive scrutiny for the haul they received for three-time All-Pro DeAndre Hopkins, it became known the accomplished wide receiver sought either an extension or a raise. Three years remain on Hopkins’ deal, which makes that process trickier.

Hopkins’ new team has addressed this situation with the seven-year veteran. Cardinals chairman Michael Bidwill and GM Steve Keim had engaged in conversations with Hopkins about his contract, ESPN.com’s Josh Weinfuss notes (on Twitter).

When Hopkins signed a five-year, $81MM extension in August 2017, he became the NFL’s highest-paid wideout. As is the case with most positional markets, the receiver salary landscape has changed since. On a market now topped by Julio Jones‘ $22MM-per-year deal, Hopkins’ $16.2MM-AAV contract sits ninth among wideouts. Amari Cooper, who has yet to land on an All-Pro first or second team, just signed to a $20MM-per-year deal with $60MM guaranteed. Hopkins received $49MM guaranteed when he signed. The Cardinals have Hopkins under contract through 2022; no guarantees remain on that deal.

Kyler Murray‘s rookie contract makes veteran extensions easier for the Cards; the Texans taking David Johnson‘s deal off Arizona’s payroll helps as well. Teams are not big on redoing deals with three years remaining, but the Cardinals are in a position to accommodate their prized trade acquisition.

Hopkins is set to count just $12.5MM against Arizona’s cap this season, and his cap charges over the remainder of his deal do not exceed $14MM. This deal obviously represents a bargain for the Cardinals; how the sides proceed will be a key offseason matter for the franchise.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Contract Details: Funchess, Blythe, Redskins, Cardinals

We’ve got a handful of contract details to pass along. We’ll start with the latest NFC notes, all via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle on Twitter:

  • Devin Funchess, WR (Packers): One year, $2.5MM. Includes $3.75MM in receptions, receiving yards, touchdowns incentives.
  • Austin Blythe, OL (Rams): One year. Worth $3.9MM, including $3.5MM guaranteed. $950K signing bonus, $2.95MM salary (of which $2.55MM is guaranteed).
  • Peyton Barber, RB (Redskins): Two year, $3MM. Includes $600K signing bonus. Salaries: $910K (2020), $1.14MM (2021). $150K per-game maximum roster bonus in 2020, $199K+ per-game maximum roster bonus in 2021.
  • Nate Orchard, LB (Redskins): Re-signed. One-year, $1.047MM deal. Includes $137.5K signing bonus, $910K salary.
  • Seth Roberts, WR (Panthers): One year, $3.75MM. Includes $600K signing bonus, $3.1MM salary, $50K workout bonus.
  • Marcus Gilbert, OT (Cardinals): One year, $3.75MM. $1.05MM base salary (of which only $150K is guaranteed). Up to $2.7MM in playing time incentives.
  • Max Garcia, OL (Cardinals): Re-signed. One-year, $1.25MM deal, including $600K guaranteed. Up to $190K per-game maximum roster bonus, up to $1MM in playing time incentives.
  • Cameron Fleming, OL (Giants): Signed. One-year, $3.5MM deal (as opposed to previously-reported one-year, $4MM deal). Includes $2MM guaranteed. Up to $500K per-game roster bonus, up to $500K playing time incentives.
  • Kerry Hyder, DE (49ers): One year. $1.5MM, including $550K guaranteed. Up to $250K in per-game roster bonus.

Cardinals Re-Sign T Marcus Gilbert

The Cardinals have re-signed offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert to a one-year deal worth $3.75MM deal, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Arizona has since confirmed the transaction.

Arizona acquired Gilbert from the Steelers last spring in exchange for a sixth-round pick, and had been planning to install him as its full-time starter at right tackle. However, as has been so often the case during Gilbert’s NFL career, injuries prevented him from getting on the field.

A knee injury forced Gilbert to injured reserve in early September, and he didn’t end up playing a single down during the 2019 campaign. Gilbert, 32, appeared in only 12 total games from 2017-18, and hasn’t played a full 16-game slate since 2015.

While Gilbert certainly won’t give the Cardinals security at right tackle, he will give the club options. He’ll likely compete for time with Justin Murray, who started 12 games in Gilbert’s stead a season ago. With both Murray and Gilbert in tow, and blindside protector D.J. Humphries back on a three-year deal, Arizona may no longer view offensive tackle as a priority for the eighth overall selection.

Gilbert, a second-round pick in the 2011 draft, has appeared in 88 career games, all with the Steelers. While injuries have taken a toll on his overall production, he’s generally performed as an above-average tackle when able to take the field.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 3/25/20

Here are today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Las Vegas Raiders

Minnesota Vikings

Pittsburgh Steelers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Washington Redskins