Patrick Peterson has known for quite some time that he was facing a suspension for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs, and that may have had something to do with why he seemed unhappy with the Arizona Cardinals.
Peterson created a stir on social media last month with a cryptic post that made it seem like his future in Arizona was in doubt. According to John Gambadoro of 98.7 FM Arizona Sports, Peterson’s discontent was directly related to his suspension, as he was hoping the Cardinals would rework his deal before the NFL handed down punishment.
Peterson has two years remaining on his current contract and is scheduled to make $11 million in 2019 and a little over $12 million in 2020. Had the Cardinals been willing to work with him on a new deal, he believes he could have saved himself $2 million of the nearly $4 million he will have to forfeit during his six-game ban.
A six-game suspension is set to cost Cardinals’ CB Patrick Peterson $3,882,352 in lost wages.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 16, 2019
For what it’s worth, Gambadoro does not believe the NFL would have approved such a restructure with a suspension looming.
If Peterson was hoping the Cardinals would help protect some of his salary, it would not have been unprecedented. Back in 2016, the New England Patriots signed Tom Brady to a two-year extension that paid him less in the short-term and more in the later years. That allowed him to save $2 million when he was eventually suspended four games over the Deflategate scandal.
However, Brady’s new contract was agreed to before the Deflategate situation played out, so the circumstances may have been a bit different. After Peterson tested positive for PEDs, it was obvious that a suspension was coming.
Peterson seemed unhappy with the Cardinals last season but eventually publicly apologized for the way he handled things. New Arizona head coach Kliff Kingsbury said this week that he is unsure if Peterson will show up to OTAs, so the relationship could be back on rocky ground.
The Arizona Cardinals tried their best to make people think they had not made up their mind about taking Kyler Murray with the first overall pick leading up to the draft, and that apparently included keeping their former quarterback in the dark about it. In fact, Josh Rosen is still waiting to hear from Cardinals general manager Steve Keim.
In an appearance on “The Rich Eisen Show” Tuesday, Rosen spoke about the process leading up to him being dealt to the Miami Dolphins during the draft. He said Keim never called him to inform him about the trade, and he still has not heard from the GM.
Rosen said he still hasn't heard from #AZCardinals GM Steve Keim. Didn't hear from him in months leading up to this year's NFL Draft and hasn't heard from him since.
— Rich Eisen Show (@RichEisenShow) May 14, 2019
There can’t be an easy way to tell your 2018 first-round pick that he is already being replaced by your 2019 first-round pick, but it feels like Keim should have had some sort of communication with Rosen. Head coach Kliff Kingsbury at least reached out to Rosen, though the message was less than inspiring.
Josh Rosen tells us he got a call from Kliff Kingsbury one minute before the Cardinals drafted Kyler Murray saying they were drafting the Heisman Trophy winner.
Said it went like this from KK: "Hey, so we're about to draft Kyler… I don't really know what happens now."
— Rich Eisen Show (@RichEisenShow) May 14, 2019
We’ve already explained to you in detail how we feel Keim botched the Rosen situation, but not calling him to at least wish him well seems unprofessional. Granted, that is just Rosen’s side of the story. Perhaps Keim did reach out and Rosen just didn’t want to speak with him.
The active part of the NFL offseason is now over. There will be some more cap casualties and other late moves, but the bulk of free agency is finished, and the draft is in the rearview mirror. That means the players that will be competing for jobs in minicamps and training camp are by and large in place.
Which teams have improved the most? Many have tried, but only a handful have done a really good job improving their rosters from where they were at the end of the 2018 season. Here are the ten teams that have done the best with it.
10. Arizona Cardinals
Toward the end of the 2018 season, Arizona’s offense, in particular, was borderline unwatchable, lacking much in the way of a passing or running game. Kliff Kingsbury’s arrival is expected to help the passing side of things, and while much can be said of the team’s handling of the Josh Rosen situation, Kyler Murray is more in line with what he wants to do. The likes of Jordan Hicks and Terrell Suggs should help the defense, while cornerback Byron Murphy could be a good value pick at the start of the second round. The Cardinals won’t be great, but they’ll be better.
The Arizona Cardinals obviously drafted Kyler Murray first overall with the intention of making him their starting quarterback, but head coach Kliff Kingsbury is not ready to just hand him the job before his first NFL training camp. The same cannot be said for Cardinals general manager Steve Keim.
During an appearance on “The Rich Eisen Show” earlier this week, Keim was asked if he expects Murray to be Arizona’s starter in Week 1 against the Detroit Lions next season. He said “yes” without hesitation.
— Rich Eisen Show (@RichEisenShow) April 30, 2019
“We didn’t draft him No. 1 overall for him to ride the pine,” Keim said. “I know it’s a lot to put on his back, but that’s why we drafted him. He’s a fierce competitor and that’s what he did at Oklahoma this year.”
Kingsbury, on the other hand, wants to create the perception that Murray is going to have to earn the starting job. After Keim made his comments, Kingsbury appeared on “The Jim Rome Show” and pretended Brett Hundley has a chance to beat out Murray.
“We’ll see. We’re still working through all those things,” Kingsbury said. ‘We have Brett Hundley here, who we’re very excited about, but we’ll see where that kind of goes.”
Unless he suffers an injury leading up to the season, Murray is going to start Week 1. The Cardinals didn’t name Josh Rosen their Week 1 starter last year after trading up to get him at No. 10, but they had a much more established veteran on the depth chart in Sam Bradford. The situation with Murray is totally different, and there’s virtually no chance he ends up second on the depth chart heading into the season if he’s healthy.
The Josh Rosen era lasted one year in Arizona, and it ended when Rosen was shipped out for a late second-round pick (and a future fifth-round pick). A year ago, Arizona traded up to No. 10 by giving up the No. 15 overall pick and picks in both the third and fifth rounds.
When you look at the evidence as a whole, it sure looks like Arizona GM Steve Keim botched the handling of this when he ended up with a late second-round pick for Rosen once the draft was underway. A GM cannot fall for the sunken cost fallacy, and there was no way that the Cardinals were going to come out of this getting anywhere near the value they surrendered a year ago. But they could have gotten more, and a better result from the whole process.
Robert Klemko has a deep dive into the Josh Rosen situation at Sports Illustrated, and he talked to Josh Rosen and his agent, Ryan Williams.
Despite the likelihood of the Cardinals taking Kyler Murray at the No. 1 overall pick being out there in the public sphere for awhile, Arizona did not formally initiate trade discussions until the draft was getting going. Rosen was holding out hope that those were just unfounded rumors. In the end, Arizona ended up having a very limited market, with the New York Giants, Washington, and Miami engaging in some trade discussions.
So let’s talk about some of the errors.
The first thing is that Arizona absolutely could have started trade discussions for Rosen before the day of the draft. Sure, the downside is that it gets leaked out that the team is trying to trade Rosen, but they enlist the help of his agency in trying to find the landing spot, in an environment where the time-intensive nature of the draft is not hurting the ability to find a deal. Even if it gets out that the team has talked to Rosen about exploring a trade, they have the first overall pick. No one can outbid them for Kyler Murray. If that is the way they decided to go, there is not that much downside in letting it get out to facilitate the deal. The top overall pick no longer negotiates a big deal; it is basically slotted how much Murray will make.
Sure, teams know that the Cardinals want to take Murray, but they also then know Rosen is officially available, and the price point can take more time to shape up. It can also shape up before teams finalize their draft board and plan of attack.
The second error is to apparently not understand that market, as this segment reveals:
Then at 6 the Giants took former Duke quarterback Daniel Jones, and Keim asked Williams if the Patriots liked his client and might be open to making him the heir apparent to Tom Brady.
Williams was taken aback and grew angry. How did Keim not already know the answer? The whole world knew, or had a good idea, that the Cardinals were taking Murray on Thursday. Why the secrecy? Why are we negotiating trade terms now instead of weeks ago?
And then third, by not understanding that market, the early word that came out is that Arizona wanted a first-round pick. That wasn’t happening. An anonymous Washington executive is quoted as saying “[t]hat’s really bold for someone who just took a QB,” while laughing. If Arizona entered the market early, and understood the value, they could have maybe obtained an early second-round pick for Rosen.
But once Washington selected Dwayne Haskins, it was basically down to Miami bidding against themselves until the price point got to a position where a team that needed a backup would consider trading a third-round pick. Miami played it brilliantly at that point and ended up getting Rosen for cheap. They could have traded the 48th overall pick for Rosen. Instead, they shrewdly traded down, added a 2020 second-round pick from Saints, and got to the end of the round. When you add up all the compensation that Miami got in that trade with New Orleans along with their trade for Rosen, they basically got Rosen and his cheap contract for a mid-to-late third round pick (depending on how valuable that future Saints pick is).
If Keim had made the move earlier, the option of retaining Rosen would have also been on the table. He could have communicated honestly with the agent, could have communicated a price point where they would not make a deal but keep Rosen because he was more valuable than how others perceived him. You could present that as “hey, Josh, we think you are a starter in this league. No one else seems to be willing to give up a pick at this point that represents that, so we think you are more valuable here. If things change and someone makes an offer in the future because of an injury, we will facilitate a deal.” That kind of honesty could have kept the possibility of keeping that relationship intact. Instead, despite the public comments to the contrary about keeping both, it felt like the relationship had to end. Once the Cardinals strung Rosen along past the draft starting, the relationship was gone.
The Arizona Cardinals certainly do not appear to have maximized their timing and potential when it came to trying to trade quarterback Josh Rosen.
According to Robert Klemko of Sports Illustrated, Cardinals general manager Steve Keim did not even start taking calls on Rosen until minutes before the draft started, and never came close to getting the first round pick they sought as his trade value began to diminish.
Cardinals GM Steve Keim didn’t start taking calls and texts on a Josh Rosen trade until minutes before the draft started, per sources, and Rosen’s value diminished with every pick. As a result, nobody came close to offering the 1st round pick the Cardinals were seeking. https://t.co/wjPZ04t77u
— Robert Klemko (@RobertKlemko) April 26, 2019
Draft night did not unfold the way the Cardinals would have wanted it to in terms of where quarterbacks went. The New York Giants got their man in Daniel Jones at No. 6, while the Washington Redskins, believed to be a prime suitor for Rosen, were able to stay put at 15 and land Dwayne Haskins. The latter part of the round did not feature a lot of interest in quarterbacks to the point that Drew Lock fell out of the first round entirely.
Now the Cardinals have an unhappy player on their hands, and seem to have botched his trade value. The Kyler Murray era may end up being a success, but it’s off to an inauspicious start in terms of handling of personnel.
On Friday, one day after the Arizona Cardinals made Kyler Murray the first overall pick in the NFL Draft, Josh Rosen has fought back in the most 2019 way possible. He has unfollowed the Arizona Cardinals account on Instagram.
As negotiations continue centered around QB Josh Rosen… he has unfollowed the Cardinals on Instagram. 💻📸✌🏼 https://t.co/WmM3bX0OjM
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 26, 2019
Rosen was no doubt getting a lot of notifications last night after one of his old Instagram posts with Kyler Murray from 2015 went viral in the aftermath of the pick.
There was also this one from the Arizona Cardinals Twitter account that looks ridiculous in retrospect.
Y’all are having fun with speculation, but… pic.twitter.com/dy4NbJ82iB
— #KardsGotKyler (@AZCardinals) February 12, 2019
Publicly, the Cardinals seem to be maintaining the position that they can go forward with both Kyler Murray and Josh Rosen if they do not get a sweetheart deal for Rosen. That is a great position assuming you ignore people, personalities, and how the world works. Arizona became the first franchise to select quarterbacks in the first round in consecutive drafts since the Colts in 1982 and 1983 with Art Schlichter and John Elway. But that one comes with a caveat that Elway had already said he would not play for the Colts and was traded after the pick was made. Rosen has played nice publicly through this process until now, but with the draft engine churning on, we’ll see if that changes and a trade becomes inevitable.