Mike Iupati

Cardinals Place Kirk, Iupati On IR

The Cardinals upset the Packers on Sunday – and cost Mike McCarthy his job in the process – but the win proved to be costly. On Monday afternoon, head coach Steve Wilks announced that wide receiver Christian Kirk (knee) and guard Mike Iupati (knee) have been placed on season-ending injured reserve. 

Kirk, 22, was selected in the second round of this year’s draft out of Texas A&M. While this has been a largely forgettable season for the Cardinals, Kirk has flashed at various points during his rookie season, including four games with upwards of 70 yards receiving. His campaign will end with 43 catches for 590 yards and three touchdowns plus a 7.8 yards-per-return average on punts.

Iupati, a four-time Pro Bowler, has struggled to stay healthy in over the last two seasons. Last year, he was shelved after just one game thanks to bone spurs in his elbow. The injury could mark the end of his run in Arizona – last year, he agreed to a restructuring of his deal that will allow the Cardinals to dump him before the 2019 season with just $1.7MM in dead money.

The Cardinals’ depth on the interior line could allow them to get by without adding a guard, but they’ll almost certainly add a wide receiver to replace Kirk, who served as the No. 2 option behind Larry Fitzgerald. Chad Williams‘ status for Week 14 is in doubt due to an ankle injury, leaving Fitzgerald, J.J. Nelson, and Trent Sherfield as the club’s only healthy receivers.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Contract Restructures: 3/15/18

With the 2018 league year officially underway, a number of teams have reworked player contracts in order to create additional cap space. Here’s what moves clubs have made today:

  • Broncos: Created $12.375MM in 2018 cap space by converting $16MM of LB Von Miller‘s $18.5MM base salary into a signing bonus (Twitter link via Adam Schefter of ESPN.com).
  • Cardinals: G Mike Iupati accepted $3MM pay cut. 2018 base salary reduced from $7.75MM to $5MM. $250K roster bonus eliminated. 2019 contract season is now voidable (Twitter link via Field Yates of ESPN.com).
  • Cowboys: Created ~$7.5MM in 2018 cap space by restructuring C Travis Frederick‘s contract (Twitter link via Jane Slater of NFL.com).
  • Eagles: Created $5.407MM in 2018 cap space by converting $7.21MM of TE Zach Ertz‘s $8MM base salary into a fully guaranteed roster bonus (Twitter link via Yates).
  • Ravens: Created $5.625MM in 2018 cap space by converting $7.5MM of DT Brandon Williams‘ $8.5MM base salary into a signing bonus (Twitter link via Yates).

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/30/17

Here are today’s minor moves.

  • The Cardinals officially placed Mike Iupati on IR, sidelining the guard for at least eight weeks, and they filled his spot by promoting offensive lineman Vinston Painter from the practice squad. A 2013 draft pick, Painter’s bounced around. He saw action as a backup/special-teamer for the 2014 Browns and 2016 Redskins. The Cardinals added the swing lineman to their practice squad earlier this season.
  • Linebacker Thurston Armbrister will move from the Lions‘ practice squad back to their 53-man roster, Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com reports. Detroit placed offensive lineman Zac Kerin on IR. Kerin joins Joe Dahl among Lions offensive linemen to be IR-bound this week. The Lions also placed tackle Corey Robinson on IR earlier this season. A third-year veteran, Armbrister played in 14 games — starting two — for the Lions last season after seeing action in all 16 games for the 2015 Jaguars.

Cardinals To Place Mike Iupati On IR

The Cardinals will place Mike Iupati on IR because of bone spurs in the starting guard’s elbow, Bruce Arians said (via Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com, on Twitter).

Iupati has been out since Week 1 with this malady but will miss extensive time now, and this could end his season. The 30-year-old left guard will miss at least eight more weeks as a result of this decision. Iupati will undergo surgery to address this problem, and the Cardinals are short on guards right now. And offensive line is reeling.

Arians added Alex Boone will miss “a couple weeks” with a chest injury suffered Monday night. Arians, via Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic (on Twitter), didn’t seem to point to left tackle D.J. Humphries playing Sunday either.

The Iupati decision also complicates matters for the Cardinals regarding how they will manage their roster this season.

David Johnson already resides on IR with a wrist injury, and although it could be December before he’s ready to come back, the All-Pro running back profiles as an obvious IR-return candidate — especially if the team is contending for a playoff spot. As of now, Iupati would stand to occupy Arizona’s other IR-boomerang slot, but given that the Cards haven’t played their fourth game, it would be too early to proclaim their IR-return decisions set.

However, Iupati and Johnson profile as key players who would fit the bill over just about anyone else who would venture onto IR with an injury that could heal in time for late-season contributions. A four-time Pro Bowler and one-time first-team All-Pro with the 49ers, Iupati signed with the Cardinals last year and played 15 games. This will mark the first season he’s played fewer than 12. And in six of Iupati’s seven full NFL seasons, he’s suited up and started at least 13 games.

John Wetzel and rookie Will Holden would be options to replace Humphries at tackle, while rookie Dorian Johnson is an option be promoted from the practice squad. Arians said a roster move will be made to address the depth up front.

Cardinals Restructure G Mike Iupati’s Deal

The Cardinals have restructured guard Mike Iupati‘s deal, as Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. The two sides agreed to convert $2MM of his salary into a signing bonus, creating $1.5MM in 2016 cap room. Mike Iupati (vertical)

Iupati, 29, left the 49ers to join the rival Cardinals prior to the 2015 season. The deal, worth $40MM over five years with incentives, naturally eats up a good amount of cap room. The Cards don’t have any regrets about the signing, however, as Iupati earned his fourth-straight Pro Bowl nod in 2015.

Through four games this season, David Johnson is averaging 4.7 yards per carry and he owes a great deal of credit to Iupati’s blocking on the interior line. At the quarter mark, Pro Football Focus has Iupati ranked as the 12th best guard in the NFL.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Newton, Peterson, Others Get Salary Guarantees

Several NFL players have contracts containing language which states that they’ll get a full or partial salary guarantees for 2016 and/or 2017 if they remained on their respective teams on Friday, the third day of the league year. Let’s check in some of those players (link courtesy of CBS Sports’ Joel Corry):

  • Cam Newton, quarterback (Panthers): $13MM base salary for 2016 is now fully guaranteed. Friday is also the deadline Cam Newton (Vertical)for the Panthers to pick up Newton’s 2020 option for $10MM.
  • Eli Manning, quarterback (Giants): $17.5MM base salary for 2016 is now fully guaranteed.
  • Jay Cutler, quarterback (Bears): $16MM base salary for 2016 is now fully guaranteed.
  • Adrian Peterson, running back (Vikings): $7MM base salary for 2016 is now fully guaranteed.
  • Julio Jones, wide receiver (Falcons): $11.5MM base salary for 2017 is now fully guaranteed.
  • A.J. Green, wide receiver (Bengals): $6MM roster bonus is payable.
  • Brandon Marshall, wide receiver (Jets): $9.5MM base salary for 2016 is now fully guaranteed.
  • Mike Iupati, guard (Cardinals): $6.75MM base salary for 2016 is now fully guaranteed, as is $2MM of Iupati’s $8MM base salary for 2017.
  • Rodney Hudson, center (Raiders): $7.35MM base salary for 2016 is now fully guaranteed.
  • Gerald McCoy, defensive tackle (Buccaneers): $13.25MM base salary for 2017 is now fully guaranteed.
  • Marcell Dareus, defensive tackle (Bills): $9.75MM base salary for 2017 is now fully guaranteed.
  • Justin Houston, linebacker (Chiefs): $14.75MM of Houston’s $14.9MM base salary in 2016 is now fully guaranteed, as is $6.75MM of his $16.35MM base salary for 2017.
  • DeAndre Levy, linebacker (Lions): $5.25MM base salary for 2016 is now fully guaranteed.
  • Aqib Talib, cornerback (Broncos): $8.5MM base salary for 2016 is now fully guaranteed.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Corey Peters Tears Achilles, Out For Year

FRIDAY, 12:39pm: The Cardinals have officially placed Peters on injured reserve, ending his season, tweets Urban.

THURSDAY, 1:11pm: After losing multiple defensive starters to various injuries and suspensions during the 2014 season, the Cardinals are now down a starting defensive lineman in 2015. Head coach Bruce Arians confirmed today that nose tackle Corey Peters has suffered a torn left Achilles, and will be sidelined for the season (Twitter link via Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com). Peters has yet to officially be placed on injured reserve, but figures to land there shortly.

It’s a devastating blow for Peters, who tore his right Achilles at the end of the 2013 season. He returned from the injury last season to play 15 games for the Falcons, but didn’t have quite the same impact on the field, recording 26 tackles and two sacks – down from 46 and five in 2013 – as he transitioned into a reserve role.

Another year removed from that 2013 Achilles injury, Peters was poised to take over for Dan Williams as the Cardinals’ starting nose tackle this season. Instead, he’ll spend the first season of his three-year contract with Arizona on the IR list, with fourth-round rookie Rodney Gunter stepping into the starting lineup (Twitter link via Urban).

Arians also addressed Mike Iupati‘s health, telling reporters that the veteran guard is getting his meniscus repaired. The recovery timeline for the procedure varies, so Iupati could be on the shelf for anywhere from three to eight weeks (Twitter link via Urban).

Cardinals Guard Mike Iupati Injured

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.

 

Cards, Mike Iupati Agree To Five-Year Deal

WEDNESDAY, 11:43am: The Cardinals’ five-year deal with Iupati is now official, tweets Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com.

TUESDAY, 4:24pm: Iupati’s deal is worth $40MM over five years with incentives that can take the total package up to $41MM, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. In total, the deal has $22.5MM in guaranteed cash.

MONDAY, 5:40pm: Free agent guard Mike Iupati has told people he plans to sign with the Cardinals, sources tell Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Iupati was widely viewed as the top available interior offensive lineman of the offseason. Financial terms of the possible agreement are not yet known.

The Raiders were said to be “hot after” Iupati 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. The marriage makes quite a bit of sense, however, as Arizona could use a boost on the interior of their offensive line. That’s a role that 2013 first-round choice Jonathan Cooper was expected to fill, but so far he hasn’t realized his potential. Assuming Iupati stays on the left side, Cooper could wind up shifting over to right guard.

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. The Cardinals, therefore, could look to add a running back in the coming days, and have been tied to both Adrian Peterson and DeMarco Murray.

Iupati will be just the latest player to leave the Bay Area in recent days. Justin Smith and Patrick Willis are expected to retire, Frank Gore will sign with the Eagles, Stevie Johnson will be released, and Michael Crabtree isn’t expected to be retained.

Bills Preparing For Run At Charles Clay

4:26pm: Clay will in fact be visiting the Bills, according to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald (via Twitter). Buffalo will attempt to structure its offer sheet to Clay so that it’s difficult for the Dolphins to match, adds Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). In fact, the Bills value Clay so highly that they’d be happy with landing him and little else, tweets Tim Graham of the Buffalo News.

2:14pm: The Bills plan to prepare the strongest possible offer sheet for Clay, tweets Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News, adding that the Browns are also interested in Clay.

7:20am: The transition tag isn’t expected to stop the Bills from making a run at tight end Charles Clay, says Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports (via Twitter). Clay, who received the one-year transition tender worth $7.071MM from the Dolphins last week, is still free to negotiate with other teams starting this afternoon, and according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (via Twitter), Buffalo is preparing to make the tight end an offer.

While that offer could come as soon as today, Garafolo (via Twitter) cautions that things may not play out quite that quickly. For an unrestricted free agent, teams will race to get him to put pen to paper to finalize a deal, but for a transition player, the Dolphins will have five days to match any offer sheet, so there’s no rush to get anything done immediately. Garafolo expects the Bills to try to bring Clay in for a visit later this week.

In other Bills-related news, La Canfora notes that the team also hopes to sign former Vikings fullback Jerome Felton, who is a free agent this winter. With former Niners offensive coordinator Greg Roman ready to take over control of Buffalo’s offense, the Bills are expected to add some sort of fullback this offseason, whether it’s Felton or someone else.

Finally, speaking of San Francisco, Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News adds (via Twitter) that – despite multiple reports to the contrary – the Bills weren’t actually among the teams pursuing former Niners guard Mike Iupati, who is expected to sign with the Cardinals.