It's my last mailbag before turning it over to Kyle Odegard for a couple of weeks, and please, hold the applause. My ego can't take it. But as always, feel free to send in a question for a future (Kyle?) mailbag right here:
From jpr cards:
"Why do you suppose that Larry Fitzgerald hasn't made his intentions clear at this point? I just don't see any reason that he wouldn't let the club, the league and the fans in on his decision. I would guess that he knows what he is going to do by now and I also strongly suspect it is to retire. Why not let us in on it? I think the team likely sees him as a fifth receiver at best (NOT saying that I do) and is ready to move on from him. Do you think that is the case?"
I think if Fitz had told the Cardinals in February he was going to come back, they would have worked out a contract and he would've been back. I think when that choice had not been made by March and then April, the Cardinals had no choice but to build the roster with the idea he wasn't going to be around. Otherwise you get caught in a bad place. I'm sure Fitz is at least a little disappointed he wasn't used a little more often last season. But we also don't know his thought process -- he might've re-signed in early 2020 with it in his head that it would be his last year and then COVID complicated things. I don't know why he hasn't said anything yet. It's kinda odd. At the same time, once you say you're done, you're done (unless you're Brett Favre) and that can be a difficult final step to take.
From Cayetano Charley:
"Hello Darren. So up to now there has been no news about Fitz. If we do great and have great playoff chances and say we get injuries at WR, is Fitz signing then and be much healthier to help because a 17-game season might have changed everything?"
I mean, it's a theory. Fitz never seemed to be that guy with me, coming in after the fact on purpose. I guess I can't rule it out. It just seems odd he'd want to be the injury-replacement guy.
From Michael Travers:
"Hello Darren, it is that time of the year where roster adjustments are few but meaningful. Big fan of your crew reporting on our team keeping us informed with the latest developments. Looking forward to training camp where many questions will be answered. Questions like, will the OL jell together with all the new players? Will the DL jell with JJ and CJ playing together? How fast will the new LB tandem fit into VJ's defense? Not to mention the CB position. The defense seems to have a vast improvement over last year but where do you think the most improved area is for this year's team?"
Given that J.J. Watt has arrived, I'm thinking defensive line. Linebacker has a chance depending how quickly Simmons and Collins come along. But I think with Watt, a healthy Jordan Phillips (and he has to stay healthy) and the development of Allen, Fotu and Lawrence, that can be a solid group. I thought about outside linebacker with Chandler Jones coming back, and that does make a difference, although the pass rush did pretty well last season.
From Joe Cardea:
"Darren, what position groups do you think are thin and thick, by quality? And who can help another? For example, on passing downs the wide receivers can help tight ends. Can safeties help cornerbacks?"
Of course the safeties can help the cornerbacks. I mean, really, they all are working in tandem -- you wouldn't normally make the straight line of the offensive line helping receivers, but if there isn't pass protection, the receivers aren't getting the ball. In terms of depth of position, I think they are in pretty good shape most spots. I think if Jordan Hicks is not around, there might be some questions at inside linebacker. And tight end remains pretty thin. There are no stars at cornerback, but they have some experience and bodies.
From Joseph "Ranty" Cammiso:
"Darren, I appreciate your fiery responses. Now that I have been amply reassured you did not ignore my Zaven Collins speeding question. I want to apologize for my directness in my question as well as the assumptions I may of made. Either way. I just want to tell you how much I enjoy these mailbags they are cool. But I digress. Now I am going to ask a question that is going to get you in trouble. Who is your favorite player who has played in the NFL? Why? It can be any team, present, or past. It can be for relationship reasons or for pure fandom reasons. Are you naturally a Cardinals fan? Or did you grow up liking an 'ass team' like the Cowboys?"
Plus one on the personalized nickname, Joseph. And sometimes, I'm gonna get fired up. As for the favorite player thing, I don't think that'll get me in trouble. That assumes players actually would care about what I think. I'll start by going backwards first -- I was living in Arizona in the late 70s when as a kid I first got into football -- so long before the Cardinals came to town. The Cowboys and the Broncos got the most TV run out here. But my Mom happened to buy be a Steelers Lynn Swann jersey at a garage sale about a week before the Steelers played the Cowboys in the Super Bowl after the 1978 season, and that was all she wrote. I was 8 and I had a team. That faded as I got older and aimed to become a sportswriter, although I did enjoy it when the Cards did well (which was rare.)
As for favorite players, a lot of those late 70s Steelers I loved in the way a kid idolizes athletes. I was a huge fan of Jerry Rice during his career (although not necessarily the 49ers.) But it's been about relationships since I started covering this team. Fitz. Josh McCown. Anquan. Steve Breaston. Calais. Tony Jefferson. Tyrann Mathieu. P2. Jerheme Urban. There are others. But it's tough to vote against A-Dub, since he was a great player and I can still call him a friend (and not because he wouldn't like it if I picked him.)
From Kenyon Carlson:
"I recently heard on the Cards Cover 2 podcast (hosted by Craig Grialou and Mike Jurecki) that Steve Keim was offered a second-round draft pick for Dennis Gardeck (an undrafted player) and declined. Is there any reason to believe that what they are reporting is false?"
You misheard what they said. They were talking about the tender offer Gardeck received as a restricted free agent. That tender was at the second-round level -- which meant that any team signing Gardeck to an offer sheet that the Cardinals did not match meant that team would've had to give up a second-round pick for the move. The Cards did that because they had reason to think a lower tender offer -- which would've meant no draft pick compensation if Gardeck was signed away -- meant they might've lost him. There was never a trade offer, and Mike and Craig never said as much.
From Jacob Lagang:
"Hello sir. I am really confident that our defense looks like they're going to ball out. Lots of people keep saying Chandler Jones is holding out though but yet I see he's rehabbing. Can I hear the word from a professional like you to make sure he is just rehabbing because I doubt he'll leave because he also recruited Watt. Also is there any update on Corey Peters because I do know he wants to come back but I understand he's trying to be clear from his injury. I know Steve Keim is looking for a tight end right now but do you think we will add one? One last thing sir is there a way you can just not answer the people that ask about jerseys because that gets annoying."
- Jones may be rehabbing but -- although he hasn't said anything publicly, I'd guess his contract is on his mind. He hasn't held out of anything (the Cards talked to him about minicamp.)
- No update on Peters.
- I do think they will add a veteran tight end.
- People ask about uniforms? I hadn't noticed.
From Jason W:
"Darren: New uniforms, re-sign Daryl Washington, Donovan McNabb because he lives here, fire Kingsbury, fire Keim, it's Bidwill not Bidwell, what is up with Fitzgerald, it's a dry heat and make sure we only pick future Hall of Famers in the draft please. That's all I have right now. Thank you for your time, have a good day."
Solid contribution. If we set it to this music, does it work?