So Edgerrin is finally gone. That had been coming for a long time – a scenario that was all but set way back during the season, when Edge was unhappy and not playing. James' resurgence in the offense was a nice side story to the magical postseason run, but it didn't change reality.
But I don't suspect reality turned to the current state for Rod Hood and Travis LaBoy until draft weekend. Putting the pieces together, it can't truly surprise anyone, not with the salaries they made and the draft picks with which the Cards ended up. Getting the highest players left, even if you have players at that position, makes you better. It also gives you flexibility in making roster decisions. Still, today's moves do have a jaw-dropping feel to them. LaBoy just got here and he was the youngest of the outside pass rush veterans. But there were concerns about LaBoy being injury prone, and he couldn't shake those concerns in his one season.
As for Hood, it was all about the numbers. He was fairly steady as a starter – certainly moreso that the departed Eric Green – but DRC is the No. 1 guy, and Bryant McFadden was going to be the other starter. Then they took Greg Toler in the draft and like to play a ton of safeties (drafting Rashad Johnson as well) and the numbers looked bad. I thought when they nabbed Johnson that Matt Ware or Aaron Francisco were in deep trouble – and they still are going to be in for a fight – but I should have figured a CB (especially a backup making $3 million) could end up a target.
Look, coach Ken Whisenhunt is still building his kind of roster. LaBoy notwithstanding, most of the significant guys he has moved out are from the old regime. He's certainly not a coach that wants to stay static. And if he learned anything in Pittsburgh, it's smart yet constant roster churn. It's the only way to stay young yet competitive.
UPDATE: And now we know why those uniform numbers weren't set in stone. Beanie Wells, who was originally going to be No. 36, instead takes Hood's No. 26. Toler, who was going to be No. 41, took Edge's No. 32. There were a couple of other changes. All the numbers are here.
UPDATE II: Here's how I figured the (approximate) cap savings in my story. First, with an uncapped year coming, there is no spreading bonus money into future years, so everything is immediate. Edge had a $6.75M scheduled cap hit and a $5M salary, leaving $1.75M in dead space. LaBoy had a $4.65M cap hit and a $2M salary. He had $4.5M left in bonus pro-ration and another $1.5M in a roster bonus which he already received. That's $6M of a hit -- or more than he would have cost cap-wise if he had stayed. Hood had a $3.5M cap number, a $3M salary and $1.5M left in bonus proration. Adding their original cap numbers gets you around $15M. Adding the remaining dead money is around $9M. $15M - $9M = about $6M in space. And remind me never to get this complicated again.