Skip to main content

Arizona Cardinals Home: The official source of the latest Cardinals headlines, news, videos, photos, tickets, rosters and game day information

You've Got Mail: Choices To Make At Wide Receiver

Topics include virtual reality, foreign games, and offseason distractions 

Dortch JG Mailbag 052824

We have already reached the end of May. Where does the time go? There is a TV in our office counting down the days until the home opener -- I haven't even gotten my vacation yet. Meanwhile, the mailbag marches on. Questions have been edited for length and clarity. Don't forget to send a question for a future mailbag with at least a first name and last initial.

From Jeffrey Holifield:

"Hello sir! I noticed a question (last week) about RBs, so let me ask about WRs. Regardless of if the Cards carry five or six, who do you think fills out the bottom? Monti gave guaranteed money to Xavier Weaver, drafted Tejhaun Palmer, signed Zay Moore, with Zach Pascal still under contract. Adding Zay really makes it interesting to me on who fills out the rest. What are your thoughts?"

My thoughts are the same as the running backs. That's what the offseason is for. I would be shocked if Jones isn't on the team, but beyond that? It'll be a battle royale. Yes, Weaver got good guaranteed money but it doesn't lock up a spot by any means. I think they like what Greg Dortch brings to the table too, but again, after MHJ, Michael Wilson and probably Zay, I think there is a fight to be had -- which is exactly what they want.

From Daniel Axt:

"Hey Darren. For the longest time I only read the articles on the Cards app. So it was a cool sort of expansion for me to start listening to the all the podcasts too. Nice to put a face to the name. In the most recent Cardinals Underground, you said something like 'Zoom in with the camera.' And I was wondering if there is any way to watch you guys record the podcasts. I couldn't find anything on YouTube. I've heard people mentioning several times that Jonathan Gannon is his own TV show. Where can I watch? Maybe I should add that I'm listening in from Switzerland and Germany. Thanks for the 'bag and all your articles. I love your smart and sometimes funny headlines."

That's appreciated Daniel. I don't know if there is something that could hang up because you are overseas, but you can get to the podcast YT page here. As for Gannon's show, that is on during the season, and it gets posted here at

From Don P:

"Hi Darren. I remember that Carson Palmer really liked the virtual reality system they bought for him. I'm wondering if that is something Kyler does/has used. I imagine that is a pretty expensive system just to sit in a storage room."

That system wasn't bought it was leased from a company. After Palmer left -- and Arians -- the system was no longer used by Josh Rosen and Steve Wilks at the time, so no, Murray has never used it.

From Chris Jones Jr.:

"Hello Mr. Urban. Something we don't talk enough about is the regret of cutting Tyrann Mathieu. If you go look up his post-Cardinals career, you'll be interested to see he's actually been extremely healthy for many years now. Never misses games, and consistently a good player; even if he's not the "Honey Badger" all-pro anymore. Tyrann was a beloved Cardinal, a very good football player, and a heart and soul type guy. As we speak he makes half as much as Jalen Thompson. It's an absolute shame we missed out on Tyrann being the face of our team for 10+ years."

*Inserts gif of guy looking around puzzled*

If I look up those things? You talk as if I haven't paid attention to the NFL, or to Tyrann. I am well aware of all the points you made. He makes less than Thompson, sure, but JT is in his prime and Tyrann isn't. Apples and oranges. If the plan had been to keep Mathieu, you likely never have Budda. (Yes, they would need two safeties but not at that similar size). I mean, you can lament players lost, but we don't talk enough about it? What is the point of that?

*Waits for question about the regret of trading Anquan Boldin*

From Cory P:

"What do you make of all these foreign games? London getting two? Brazil? BRAZIL? I get Mexico City, but BRAZIL? Why? At this point we're counting the days until Saudi Arabia starts buying games up, like they do everything else. I'm not naïve. I understand the economics of these decisions, but I don't like it and won't pretend otherwise. It flies in the face of player safety and game quality. Until there is teleportation technology available, it's not feasible to host a worldwide NFL."

You say it's not feasible, and yet, here we are. If you understand the economics, then what is your question exactly? (And are you seriously saying the reason you are against this is for safety reasons? So if it was proven safe, you'd be OK with it?) Bottom line, the NFL is looking for ways to expand the brand and there are untapped fans outside the country.

From Jacob Lagang:

"Hello Darren. First off, I want to say how are you doing? I want to talk about how these Cardinals remind me of the 2019 49ers. QB Jimmy Garoppolo going into Year 6 year six coming off of a torn ACL and Kyler Murray coming off of an ACL tear and going into Year 6. Their first two draft picks were Nick Bosa and Deebo Samuel - DLine and WR. The Cardinals, with MHJ and Darius Robinson, have a WR and DL. That Niners team had one of the best defenses and the year before, their defense was one of the worst. I am not saying the Cardinals will have the best defense in football, but people are sleeping too much on our defense. A fourth reason: Kyle Shanahan did go to a Super Bowl as a coordinator and that makes me think of Jonathan Gannon with the Eagles. Thank you Darren and let's go Cardinals!

Why Jacob, I am living the dream, so thanks for asking. As for the comparisons, feels a little like the legend that Lincoln had a secretary named Kennedy and Kennedy had a secretary named Lincoln. (Not true, by the way.) Do I think there is a chance the Cardinals could make a big jump this season? Sure. But if they don't make a 2019 Niners jump, that doesn't come close to making it a failure.

From Connor Rogotzke:

"Hello Darren! Quick question I have not seen asked yet in my time reading the mailbag. I got my Masters in Sport and Performance Psychology a few years ago and have a passion and belief that the mental side of athletics unlocks a ton of potential in athletes. Do you see any sports psychologists or mental skills coaches working directly with NFL/Cardinals players? Thank you for the mailbag!"

Yes, the Cardinals have brought in-house some specialists in that regard to help with the players' mental side of the game, just like they have strength coaches for the physical side. It has to do more with mental well-being as anything, but as with society as a whole, the mental side has grown in importance.

From Jason B:

"When can we have an offseason where the focus is just football and the team can gel with no distractions? I feel we have amazing players that if they come together as a team, they can go far, but it is very hard to do when there is always some drama looming over them. This year we have Fanatics vs. Harrison Jr. In 2023 it was the departure of Kingsbury and Keim regime, Murray ACL, and a new coach and GM. In 2022 it was Murray's contract/video game usage. In 2021 it was Fitzgerald retiring without really retiring. In 2019 the drama was why did we pick Kingsbury as an coach. We are one of the oldest franchise, yet I feel when we are spoke of in the media it is not in a good light."

Name me a team -- truly -- that doesn't have offseason drama. There is usually something. Teams change coaches, players are locked in contract disputes, players have off-field issues. You don't think about the other teams because they are not your team, but if you can find me a team that doesn't have a "distraction" -- which in the end are stories about the team that aren't necessarily about football but mean something.

In the NFC West alone, I can note the 49ers (Brandon Aiyuk contract, Deebo Samuels potential trade and before that, contract, the bad trade for Trey Lance, Jimmy G future, questions about Kyle Shanahan winning it all), the Seahawks (Who is the QB, do they replace Geno Smith, does Pete Carroll have anything left, why did they fire Carroll and not Schneider, when do they dump Russell Wilson, why are all the drafts bad), and the Rams (Aaron Donald is gone, cap issues, F them picks, do you extend Matthew Stafford long-term, will Sean McVay retire) and I think, man, those teams have distractions too. And that's just off the top of my head. You can do it with every team.

In terms of distractions this offseason, would you rather be the Cardinals or the Chiefs?

From Cris Pepper:

"Hi Darren, is the rookie contract signing largely ceremonial or signing actually matter? Reason I ask is I see some guys signed way back on May 3, May 10, May 15, etc. If something bad happened between draft day and today, and that contract is not yet signed, is the player 'under contract' and does he have a right to that money at that time? I know if I were a rookie I would want to sign that paper ASAP to get those funds locked in."

No, the contract signing is definitely not ceremonial. That reported $22.5 million in signing bonus MHJ was getting? That wasn't going to be available until he signed his rookie deal. There are mechanisms in place to protect the draft picks if they are doing football things before they sign their contract. Essentially, they get a waiver that promises them a fair contract if they get hurt. But it is still important to sign the regular deal, because you aren't getting any of the cash until then.

From Ted Beck:

"As always, thanks for the mailbag. You seem to have a good knowledge of the business part of professional sports, so now that the draft is over and the schedule has been revealed, how about a non-football question? It looks like MLB will be adding two new franchises, and I think it's a given that Nashville will be one of the selected cities. Now there seems to be a lot of momentum about Salt Lake City being a strong candidate for the second franchise. Do you see Salt Lake City as a better candidate, then say, Portland, Charlotte, or Montreal? And if they got the team, do you see them as a natural rival for the Diamondbacks?"

OK, this comes out of left field. Pun intended. I'll be honest, I follow MLB less than I used to; I follow the DBacks closely but I don't really know what's up in the American League. When you ask about those cities for baseball, I don't have an earthly idea which would be better. Salt Lake City isn't a huge place, so it's hard to see them with three major professional franchises. Whether they would be a rival would first be about if they were in the AL or NL. But let's face it -- as a DBacks fan, are you gonna see SLC To-be-named as a bigger rival than, say, the Dodgers?

From Freddy Martson:

"Hi Darren. You're a known hoops man, so what are your thoughts on Mike Budenholzer? I'm a sucker for passion, so Bud's emotional intro presser got me fired up. The guy clearly loves Suns basketball. I don't think Bud will be enough on his own, players play and we definitely have personnel issues; but the say a team takes the personality of its coach and Bud is much more emotional than Frank was. To tie it back to football, it's no coincidence that B.A.'s teams were explosive and confident. JG's team is tough above all else. I think this bodes well."

I mean, once the Suns take Bronny James in the first round and sign LeBron for the vet minimum, does it matter? (I kid, I kid. ... Or do I?)

Look, I want the Suns to do well. Do I think a coaching change makes enough of a difference? I do not. I think they have to get Book back off the ball, I think they need to get an offense that can incorporate these three guys -- which, given their games, I am not sure is possible -- and I think if they don't shoot threes more often/better, it's tough to win consistently. I agree with many too, they need more athleticism (that can play) and size. Budenholzer doesn't fix those last couple of things.

Related Content