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You've Got Mail: Combine Cleanup

Topics include safeties, free agency and the draft board


The mailbag has returned, my friends. I'm sure you are stunned to know that there are a couple of quarterback questions this week. But now the Scouting combine is over and the countdown of the draft heads full speed to late April. As always, if I don't get to your question, I likely answered one similar. Click here to send in a question for next week's mailbag. On to the questions.

The Cardinals have already said they want Budda Baker to move back to safety. Tre Boston is also looking for a bigger contract that, with Baker and D.J. Swearinger already in the fold, is unlikely here in Arizona. I think ultimately they'd like to have a true slot cornerback in that spot. Free agency will be key when it comes to sorting out this secondary.

From Blaine Pierce via

"Markus Golden worked very well in tandem with Chandler Jones and in the 3-4. Why is no one mentioning his name anymore? Was his injury more significant than we know?"

Well, oftentimes a player comes back off an ACL tear and can play but it takes time for the impact plays to return. I think that's what happened with Golden. It was a fairly significant tear. That's why Golden's situation is more dicey right now; whether it is this team re-signing him or another on the open market, can he get a big long-term deal? Or will he need to play on a one-year contract and reestablish himself as the guy who was pretty darn good in 2016?

Lot of questions in one tweet. Props for jamming all that in.

1) There is no "big board" yet. There will be trips to pro days and all the draft meetings. That's when the Cardinals will put grades on all these guys and start stacking their board.

2) I don't know who the most likely trade partners are because it would be based on what player they want. If we assume Kyler Murray is that guy, then maybe the Raiders or any of the QB-hungry teams. But maybe someone ends up wanting Bosa so bad they'll pay to move up.

3) Not sure what you mean by level of interest in Harry. I mean, would they take him on their team? Yes. It'll depend on how they end up grading all these guys and where their pick falls to figure out anything beyond that.

The best scenario, at this point, still hinges on what the Cardinals think of the top players. You don't want to pass on a guy you expect to be a superstar. That said, I've thought all along if they can trade down and pick up a bounty they'd have to seriously consider it. But you are assuming they can get "a couple #1's." The true value of that pick in trade won't be known until late April.

We are so close to free agency it might be difficult to get any of them to re-sign before at least testing the open market. But at this point, my gut instinct would be Golden on that list as "most likely." I don't rule out the return of any of the three, but again, once a guy is on the open market, it only takes one team to sweep them off their feet.

Nkemdiche is still under contract and he figures to be around this season for another look. But even if Nkemdiche comes back healthy and plays well, that doesn't mean you wouldn't need/use him and Williams.

From Pascal Pierre via

"Hi Darren. Do you have any indication of the Cardinals will to keep Markus Golden? And if they manage to keep him does it make Quinnen Williams the favourite to be drafted with the 1st overall pick after his explosive showing at the combine?"

Always nice to see a query from Canada and that excellent way to spell "favorite." I see where you would connect the dots, that Golden as pass rusher would mean less of a need for a Bosa or Josh Allen. That makes a certain amount of sense, but to me, if you are drafting No. 1 overall (and keep the pick), you have to take the guy you believe will be a superstar, regardless (to an extent) of the position. So I don't think it would necessarily rule out anyone.

(That said, if Golden signs a 4-year, $40 million deal with the Cardinals, that would pretty much signify he's their guy across from Chandler Jones.)

I couldn't begin to tell you. That may be an apples and oranges thing. I mean, at first blush it would seem to be Bosa, simply because there are a lot more variables with Murray. Does Bosa's injury -- and the fact his brother has been nicked up as a pro -- give pause though? I think you have to make the pick based on the player, not on his "safety" factor.

Not that I am aware. But I'm impressed people continue to ask.

As I mentioned above, with Baker and Swearinger as your safeties, there isn't a lot of room at the position for a big-money acquisition. And Earl Thomas is gonna get big money.

There aren't a whole lot of Cardinals interviews being done right now, so no. I'm not sure how many are actually watching this as closely as we all are; this is when these guys are off and taking vacations and living their non-football lives. They'll get plenty of football -- and this topic -- when they return for offseason work.

Good to see time being spent across the pond on the deep seventh-round possibilities. It would seem that Pipkins would be a 6-6, 309-pound project. You'd hope a man that big on the offensive line would do more than 16 reps on the bench press, but then again, he was the first player from the University of Sioux Falls to earn a Scouting combine invite. We'll see. The Cards do have three seventh-round picks (*quietly prays that the Cards trade a couple away to make end of draft coverage easier.*)