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You've Got Mail: A Newsy Week At The Scouting Combine

Topics include contract extensions, running back options and plane interiors

Steve Keim at combine mailbag

The Combine is underway, Kliff Kingsbury and Steve Keim addressed the news of the week, and it's time for another mailbag. Questions have been edited for length and clarity. As always, you can send in a question for a future mailbag here.

From Wesley C:

"Hiya, D. My two cents regarding the blockbuster extensions of Steve and Kliff. I'm OK with the Kliff deal. I think he's a good coach and players like him. He needs to get better at adjustments when guys get injured but otherwise he's proven to be one of the better offensive minds in the NFL. The Keim deal I don't understand as much."

It makes no sense to me if you are going to keep Kliff that you wouldn't keep Keim; if there was a new GM, he would want his own coach. I know there are critics -- because you all let me know, frequently -- but it isn't as if this organization hasn't had success under his tenure. Arguably more success than any GM ever for the franchise.

From Rise Up Red Sea:

"Hi Darren. I have an idea about what the Cardinals could do at running back in free agency. I love Chase Edmonds, but if he goes, I recommend that the Cards re-sign James Connor, and sign Leonard Fournette to a one-or-two year deal. Because the one thing that bugged me last year was that Connor was our only short yardage back. Two bruising backs and a speedy Eno Benjamin, I'll take that for our RB room. What are your thoughts on it?"

I do not see James Conner and Leonard Fournette -- who is coming off a good season, like Conner -- having any desire to share a backfield, especially since both would fill similar roles. Besides, I don't see the Cardinals paying the kind of money needed for both those guys.

From Ben Brueggemeyer:

"Would you give Kyler the extension now, or would you wait it out?"

You don't know me very well -- and that's understandable -- but I would need much more information than what I have. Yes, I can see what happens on the field, positively and negatively. But even as much as I am around the team, I don't know all the details that would go into such a deal. I understand why Kyler would be asking for this now. I understand why a team wants to be certain about committing such a gigantic amount of money. We will see if the extensions for the coach and GM are a harbinger.

From Kate Hodge:

"I'm not surprised by the deals themselves. But how do we go from Michael Bidwill rumored being on the verge of firing everyone after the collapse this year to six-year extensions?"

I believe your key word is "rumored" (which to be honest, I never saw that rumor.) If there were ever any rumors about either guy being let go, they were totally false, and I would've thought that before the extensions. Kingsbury and Keim were always going to be here in 2022.

From Tyler Durden:

"Mr. Urban, thanks for the mailbag, it helps to feed my 40-plus-year addiction to Cardinals football. First let me say K1 is the most talented (talented not best) QB I've ever seen in a Cardinals uniform. Kliff has said that the team's success is dependent on his success. It all starts with the O-line. If the Cardinals don't believe there will be a can't-miss guard at No. 23 who can start from Day One, then they have to make a run at an elite (Brandon Scherff) guard in free agency. If that doesn't work, then do what it takes to move up in the draft and get that can't-miss (Kenyon Green) guard."

Clearly you see guard as the most important position in the offseason. I agree that making sure the offensive line is solid -- both as a general football need and to help Kyler -- is important. Guard is an intriguing spot. Justin Pugh is going into the last year of his deal, Steve Keim believes Josh Jones, while he can fill in at guard, is best suited for right tackle. Justin Murray is coming off a back injury, So yes, there are questions that need to be answered. I think the Cardinals are much more likely to address the position in the draft rather than pay giant money to someone like Scherff. Trading up takes capital, and what are you giving up? Can't-miss is a strong term. Robert Gallery was once can't miss.

From Jazzy Jeff:

"After the Adrian Wilson-to-Jacksonville scare has there been any internal motivation to promote him or do anything, even just in a ceremonial sense, to lock him up? His importance has been discussed ad nauseum so I won't repeat it here but A-Dub is critical to this team's future."

As I have noted before, he's been promoted a couple of times in his relatively short time in the front office and he is currently a vice president. He can't get any higher up the food chain in the current structure. I feel confident Wilson knows how much the organization values him.

From Phillip Gillam:

"Darren, I've been following the Cards for 58 years, and I've come to the conclusion that the teams' success has been sporadic and in short lengths; 1974-76 (Hart/Coryell); 2008-09 (Warner/Whisenhunt); and 2013-15 (Palmer/Arians). For the upcoming season and beyond, do you think we may have finally turned the corner for multi-year sustainable success with the Murray/Kingsbury foundation, or are we just facing another 'All or Nothing' season similar to 2015? Notice that the QBs during our sporadic success periods were all seasoned, veteran QBs."

That's the big question, isn't it? If Kyler Murray is the quarterback I think he can be, then success should last. The top quarterbacks keep you in the mix even if the talent level can fluctuate. That's why the Cardinals looked so long for that long-term QB, because they knew when Warner and Palmer were the QBs there was a limited shelf life.

From Jerry Brown:

"Do the Cards have a new D-line coach yet? If so, who is it and what is his background? Thanks."

The Cardinals have not officially announced it yet while waiting to complete all the coaching changes of the offseason, but Matt Burke will be the guy. He has been in the NFL for 18 years, serving as an assistant with the Jets last season and the defensive line coach with the Eagles in 2020 most recently.

From Glenn Jackson:

"There's an interesting article on Bleacher Report about how the Rams might span a decade without a first-round pick, and winning a lot, including a Super Bowl, in the process. Which prompts the question about the actual value of first-round picks. Should we start employing more of a Rams view of things and trade picks away for players?"

It's a fascinating topic, but ultimately, I don't know if it can be replicated. The Rams have hit on some later draft picks -- Kupp, most notably -- and have drafted a top-5 all-time defensive player with a first-round pick. Yes, they traded for Ramsey, but OBJ and Von Miller they got as a free agent and a low-pick respectively. I'm not ruling out trading first-round picks, but I'd want to know for who. Get a top cornerback in his prime? Sure. How often does that happen, though?

From Glenn Martin:

"I would like to see the NFL and the players discuss limiting a players salary to a maximum of 10-15 percent of the salary cap. I understand the QB is the most valuable position, but I don't like seeing good players cut for cheaper replacements. I would think the majority of players would agree, because that would free up money for them."

While I respect your perspective, I don't agree. I don't think the players' union wants to pit players against players like that, nor should they. And I also don't believe there should be a cap within the cap, which is what you are proposing.

From Jefty Joffer:

"We passed on Ceedee, we passed on DK Metcalf, we saw what happened when D-Hop got hurt. We looked bad and it got easy for teams to gameplan on our team because we had no threats. In my mind - I feel like we need two receivers. And we need one of those receivers to be at least 6-3 or taller. We need a great compliment to D-Hop. Draft one and pick one up in free agency. One with youth & one with some experience would be awesome. Our top three picks in the draft should be a receiver, a lineman and a corner. And in that order. Plus the FA's. That equals Super Bowl."

Not sure if there is a question tucked in there. But a receiver is an important piece they need to add. I don't think anyone is arguing that. We will see what happens with Kirk and Green in free agency -- if Kirk comes back, that would be your FA receiver, I would think -- and I get the idea of getting a bigger body young guy.

From Rafael Lozano:

"Hola Darren buen dia, es mi primer contacto en este block soy de Mexico y unos de pocos fanaticos que existen por aqui, tendria dos preguntas, la primera si estaria confirmado el partido de lunes por la noche en esta temporada en la ciudad de Mexico, y la segunda es por que los Bengals si llegaron y los Cardinals no, que diferencia hay entre uno y otro. Saludos."

Sí, los Cardenales jugarán un partido en México en 2022. Aún falta anunciar la fecha y el oponente, pero los Cardenales harán un viaje de regreso al Estadio Azteca. En cuanto a por qué los Bengals llegaron al Super Bowl y dónde no lo hicieron los Cardinals, a veces, es tu año. Eso fue algo por lo que pasaron los Cardinals en 2008 cuando hicieron su carrera por el Super Bowl. Los Bengals hicieron que sucedieran las cosas correctas en cada juego de playoffs. Probablemente no eran el mejor equipo de la AFC, pero eran los mejores cuando importaba. Los Cardinals no pudieron encontrar esa magia en la postemporada.

From BDUB Wooten:

"Darren, you all posted some pics this season of the Cards' sweet new plane. Any chance we could get some pics and video of the inside? I'm sure other fans like myself would be really interested to see what the inside looks like. Thanks!"

If we were to do that, it wouldn't be until next season -- it's going to be awhile before we climb aboard again. It looks like a normal plane on the inside. Nice, but normal. We'll see what we can do about photos down the road.

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