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You've Got Mail: Free Agency, Just Not Yet Official

Topics include free agency, wide receiver thoughts and the draft


It's a different world right now, with self-quarantine for many even as the NFL edges closer to a new league year. The mailbag does not stop. Remember that anything that happens with players from other teams -- like any potential trade -- can't be official before Wednesday at 1 p.m. Arizona time. Also, please remember to wash your hands (20 seconds at least) often and try not to go out unless you have to. Flattening the curve for this thing is gonna take all of us. And now, here are you questions. As always, send me questions for next week by going here.

From Michael Travers via

"Hi Darren, thanks for your insightful answers to our questions. By this time free agency has started but we do not know who the Cards are targeting only our speculation. So here is my question, do think the Cardinals target OLB Markus Golden to team up with Chandler Jones for a second go at it? Or do they go after a defensive line candidate first? I believe if the goal in 2020 it begins with beating teams in our own division. That begins with players who are matchup problems. What do you think the possibility that K.C. signs and then trades Chris Jones to the Cardinals based on the money it is going to cost to sign Patrick Mahomes? No one though that Chandler Jones was available from the Patriots. Anyway, this is why we love the game."

I don't see Jones being traded, and besides, I think we already know what trade the Cardinals were apparently targeting. There is no question defensive line has to be something that is improved, but the Cardinals need another edge rusher too. I've said it before, I'd love to see Golden return, but we will see how that plays out. Only so much money to go around.

From Kevin Campbell via

"Simple question Darren: Do you think these players will be there in the rounds I have them in this mock draft? 1. CeeDee Lamb, WR; 2. Marlon Davidson, DE; 3. Bradley Anae, OLB; 4. Lamar Jackson, CB."

I wish I could tell you, Kevin. Davidson is seen as a late first-round pick by many. I could see Anae gone before pick 72. And as you have probably noticed, it doesn't look like the Cardinals are going to have their second-round pick if the Monday reports prove correct. That potential trade also could impact what that first-round pick could be. The chance at taking a wide receiver probably dissipated quite a bit.

From A.J. H via

"With limited time between draft picks in the draft, if the team does indeed attempt to trade back or even ahead, roughly how many Cardinals brass is in that war room on the phones? So many moving parts in little time I am assuming."

There are frequently multiple guys on the line, but often, the groundwork for potential trades has already been laid before a team gets on the clock. There might be a couple of details to nail down, but it usually isn't a brand-new idea. In the later rounds, if a team wants to move up to get a guy, that's easily enough pulled off in a short amount of time.

From Artie Bratton via

"It seems to me that Isaiah Simmons is perfect fit for what the Cardinals need. He is good enough to probably go in the top 4 and he plays a position that which the Cardinals have a dire need. From most of the mock drafts I have seen he definitely won't be there at 8. But I have yet to here anyone mention the possibility of the Cardinals trading up to get him. How crazy of an idea is this?"

Crazy? I don't know if it's crazy. But I don't see it happening. If anything, I think the Cards are much more likely to trade back, unless they see a guy at 8 they drool over. I too like Simmons. But it would take capital to make that move, and I think the Cardinals would eventually believe that capital would be best served elsewhere.

I still believe all three guys -- Andy Isabella, Hakeem Butler and KeeSean Johnson -- are going to be there. Too soon to know for sure what Isabella and Butler would do, and Johnson flashed early last season. We will see. I'm interested in seeing if they try to bring back Byrd and/or Cooper, or how that plays out.

From William Barry via

"Hi, Darren. It would be great to get CeeDee Lamb at number 8. Since Defensive Line is a need position, do you think Derrick Brown or another high quality defensive player would be great as our second-round pick? I know the 2020 WR draft class is deep, but is the defensive line 2020 draft class loaded with quality players too? Besides Chase Young and Javon Kinlaw, what about Neville Gallimore or Ross Blacklock?"

Unfortunately, William, this is what happens when questions come in before fast-moving NFL moves. There likely won't be a second-round pick now. And if this potential trade happens, I don't expect Lamb as the first-round pick. But there is little question a defensive lineman is needed, and maybe that's where the Cardinals look in the first round.

From Nathan Palmer via

"From what I've heard, Kenyan Drake is asking for 10-plus million and Cardinals won't give him more than 5. That being said, do we really need Drake? Before the injuries to Chase Edmonds and David Johnson they were considered one of the best RB duos in the league. I do think it would be smart to draft a running back, but maybe wait until 3rd-7th round, maybe Eno Benjamin. Your thoughts on that."

Well, I don't know where you heard the monetary things but the Cardinals are obviously already willing to give Drake more than $8 million this year given the transition tag. As for Drake, the Cardinals made it clear they thought Drake was the best fit for what Kliff Kingsbury did on offense. Given the events of Monday, with the Drake tag and potential David Johnson trade, I think the Cardinals have put tangible points on that belief.

From Tzur Perets via

"Hi. Steve Keim said he and coach Kingsbury looked to sign Kenyan Drake in free agency before the trade. Since they already saw the potential in Drake, was it smarter to leave him in Miami and not spending a draft choice, waiting to get him in free agency much cheaper?"

Well, when they traded for Drake, they didn't really have a running back. And there were still games to play. This way you got to see Drake in the offense (looked good), you got a chance to have some say in his free agency (they used the tag) and it only cost a fifth-round pick. I don't think that's a bad move at all.

We'll see how this plays out. It's still early in the process. I think Steve Keim will wait to see some of these prices and where they might fall -- he's made the point the Cards have often done better in Wave 2 or 3 rather than Wave 1. I think the chances of defensive help -- especially on the line-- remains high, and probably an edge rusher of some sort. Like Jordan Phillips.

From Blaine Pierce via

"Hi Darren. This is the time of year we can all say 'what if?' from wannabe GMs. Assumption 1: Washington trades the No. 2 pick to Arizona for our No. 8, Patrick Peterson and a possible 2021 third-round or maybe second-round. With this trade, Washington chooses a starting LT and gets a starting corner. We notify Dolphins, Chargers, Jaguars we are willing to trade down, ideally with Dolphins at No. 5. Assumption 2: Miami trades the No. 5 and No. 26 picks to Arizona for No. 2. Assumption 3: Dolphins pick Tua, Lions pick Chase Young, Giants pick a Tackle and with No. 5 Arizona picks CB Jeff Okudah. Arizona then chooses either WR Brandon Aiyuk or LB Kenneth Murray with No. 26, with one of them hopefully still on the board. Worse case scenario, we use #2 and get Chase Young! Move over Steve Keim!"

So, Blaine ... lot of assumptions there. So if Pat P is gone and you don't get Okudah, how are you feeling at cornerback?

From Peter Kacmar via

"Darren, greetings from Slovakia (Europe). Thank you for all your answers each and every week. Could you please perhaps share some insider info from the locker room? Who are the key voices/most respected guys? Are relationships between players determined by their position (OL hang around together, DL etc.) or driven by their seniority within the organization? Thank you for your answer."

The key or most respected voices are the guys you would expect. Veterans. Corey Peters. Larry Fitzgerald. Jordan Hicks. And as for relationships, yes, positions make a difference, probably moreso than seniority, in part because guys spend so much time together. The exception tends to be draft class -- for instance, Christian Kirk and Trent Sherfield, wide receivers, are tight with Chase Edmonds, running back, and they have been tight since they showed up in the league.

From Brett Lawrence via

"Hi Darren. After so much Jeudy vs Lamb, I went and watched tape on both guys and I like CeeDee's power and yards-after-catch better. I would like to see Lamb at 8 and maybe Terrell Lewis at 40. How's that sound."

It sounds ... outdated, and that's through no fault of your own. But again, the reports would say, after the potential trade, the Cards don't have 40, and I find it hard to believe the Cardinals go with a wide receiver at No. 8.

From Steve Drumm via

"Hi Darren, The coronavirus has already caused some pro and college sporting events to be cancelled and I'm sure the NFL is taking notice. I have read that health experts expect the virus to continue through the summer and that the aftermath could last a year. We obviously all wish those who contracted the virus to make a full recovery but this has to be a troubling development for the league. How do you think this could all potentially affect the season, travel issues and such and particularly if teams play in front of mostly empty stadiums? Perhaps a worst case scenario could be that the players union vote to not play at all. Your thoughts?"

I think it's way too early to be talking about that side of it for the NFL, because we don't know how this is going to play out and there is some time. Now, it very well could impact the entirety of the offseason, but we have to see on that too. No one knows where exactly this is headed in five months. All that said, it's not an unfair concern. This is uncharted territory for everyone.

From Chad Johnson via

"With the CBA official now, are you a fan of the 17-game season and the new playoff structure?"

My opinion doesn't really matter much, and I have felt for a while both were inevitable, so I guess it's difficult for me to have strong feelings about having it or not having it. But I'll admit I was in the if-its-not-broke camp, and I thought it was working fine. I want to know the location of the 17th game -- to me, the only fair thing is to make it a neutral site; I don't like a team having to have an extra road game every other year. As for the playoffs, I just feel bad for that No. 2 seed ending up with an extra game. The Cardinals were a hell of a team in 2015, just happened to be behind the Panthers. That team deserved a playoff bye, and now it'd have to play an extra game.

From Michael Schmorr via

"Hey Darren, I have a 6 year old son who continuously rewatches the 2019 Cardinal games on DVR every morning before school. He can even turn them on himself in the morning when he wakes up and we'll come downstairs to Cardinals vs Bucs or Saints, etc. He often will accuse the other team or sometimes the Cardinals of 'cheating!' And he'll rewind to show me his evidence. He also went to the Giant game with me and stayed for the whole game that rain-soaked afternoon. His favorite play was the Pat P sack as it happened right in front of us. It should be noted that if he rewatched any 2018 games I'd have him medically evaluated as those are one time view games if that. Have you ever seen a 6 year old so into football? I couldn't think of anything else to write about so you get my story."

That's a great story. I'll be honest, my boys used to do the similar things when they were younger (not quite as young, but just because DVRs weren't in the house at that point) and they have constantly broken down the Cards when I got back from games each Sunday. Mostly though, I like this story because it's nice to hear during this time of such uncertainty of the world. As we deal with COVID-19, it's going to get difficult in many ways. But we'll all come out the other side, sooner rather than later, and we'll be watching Kliff and his new roster this fall, life will slowly get back to normal, and your son will have new games on the DVR to watch.