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You've Got Mail: Mandatory Minicamp Has Arrived

With guest mailbags coming, send in questions for Dani, Craig and Zach 

Trey McBride mailbag 0610

It's everybody's favorite time of the year -- it's Darren's last mailbag before taking some time off, and we are doing it a day early because of Tuesday's full day of mandatory minicamp work. Gotta keep the output of stories balanced if we can.

But fear not, mailbag denizens, the mailbag will continue on Tuesdays even without Darren (except for July 4th week, when Michael Bidwill closes the entire office.) It'll be GUEST MAILBAG time!

The schedule is thus: Dani Sureck will have a mailbag on June 18, then Craig Grialou on June 23, and Zach Gershman on July 9. I will return the following week. So if you have questions for a particular person, make note of that when you send in your queries. Otherwise, they'll take whatever comes in just like I do.

From John Ingram:

"Hi Darren. Always appreciate your work. I understand the youth movement the Cardinals are undergoing, and I support them 100 percent. However, and this is probably just me being nostalgic, but what chance would there be for the team to sign Calais Campbell? I realize he will be 38 soon, but as a mentor and a great locker room teammate, he would for sure meet the 'price of admission' requirement."

From Manuel Charbonneau:

"Hi! With one of the weakest pass-rush in the league last year and a very young and promising group, is the organization is in contact with Calais Campbell?"

Two(!) Calais questions this week. Look, I loved Campbell like everyone. Loved interviewing him, think he is great in the locker room. I do agree he has something left to be in a rotation somewhere. However ...

I don't see it being in Arizona. Monti and JG have no connection to Campbell, and that shouldn't be a driving force toward a signing anyway. Can he help on the field and in the locker room? Probably. But this team signed Justin Jones and Bilal Nichols for those roles, and bringing in someone at the end of the career means less snaps (or none) for Darius Robinson or Dante Stills or younger guys you want to develop. Would it be storybook? Sure. Does it make sense? Not really.

From Johnny Morris:

"Any of the guys drafted in Round Three and beyond jump out yet? Any steals or gems becoming apparent?"

Not really, and here's why. A) We are only allowed out a few times in the offseason (including Tuesday's minicamp practice) and B) those practices can't be reported on beyond the first 25 minutes or so, so the times when these guys are doing 11-on-11 is off-limits. C) There is only so much guys can do right now. I can't tell if Tip Reiman is a mauler yet because mauling can't happen until we get a week or so into training camp. Check back with me when we get to maul ball and it'll be easier to dissect. It's early. We have plenty of time to see guys step up if it'll happen "early."

From Pauly Ott:

"Urbz. In comparison to yesteryears, do players have a shorter time frame to become stars? Or has it been relatively consistent throughout the years? I was thinking about BJ Ojulari. Guy is only in his second season, but folks talk like this is a make-or-break year. Man needs to become a No. 1 pass rusher this year or he will lose his second-round pick shine. Team will start looking at free-agent pass rushers and high 2025 picks, fair or not. 'Veteran' used to mean long-time player. Now it seems a veteran is any player who makes it past his rookie year."

Details and nuance matter. If this team still had, say, prime Chandler Jones, no, Ojulari's spotlight wouldn't be as intense. Generally, though, yes, everyone's timeline has been sped up in this league, and frankly, unless your yesteryear is 2000 or before, higher picks are going to need to step up sooner rather than later. That's why they were high picks -- and tbh, if you spend a first- or second-round pick on a guy, you probably are going to give him greater opportunity -- and so yes, the expectations are also greater. (That said, no this isn't a make-or-break year for Ojulari. But if the second year players usually make the biggest jump, that's what you hope for.)

From Mac Murphy:

"Short and simple: is this the make-or-break, must-win last chance year for Kyler as unquestioned QB1?"

Ahh, back-to-back make-or-break. You want short and simple but it never is. Nuance matters! Now, if you are saying, there are multiple ways for Kyler to show how he makes sense as long-term QB1, I'd agree with that. I don't know what that looks like yet, and I don't know what this team is going to look like for sure. If you are setting the bar as Kyler putting up video game stats and leading them to 12 wins, I don't think the bar needs to be that high to qualify as JG's answer behind center.

From Dwight G:

"I like how the Cardinals have almost all their draft picks signed, but why is Trey Benson not signed? He's a third-round pick. You'd think if there was something taking longer it'd be one of the first-round picks. Is Benson going to sign soon or is this an issue?"

Right now, Benson is sandwiched between two other unsigned third-rounders, Jets WR Malachi Corley and Commanders OL Brandon Coleman, and it's possible that's part of it -- while contracts are slotted, there are little things that can be still negotiated (guaranteed money, offsets) that can be a holdup, especially if a player's agent is trying to get "guidance" from the deal done right before or right after the guy. But I have no doubt Benson will have his deal done in time for training camp, and he's taken part in the entire offseason.

From Matthew Stroh:

"Hey Darren, General Manager of a NFL team, I would not like that job. There's no way to make everyone happy. I know it's early but look at the two big players where this year Monti has to decide to see if rookies can take a vet's job or not, with Rabbit for Budda and Trey Benson for Conner. Like Monti told the rookies last year, his job is to replace every player on the team. Well that's got to put Monti into a big pickle. Glad not to be him."

Well, that's why GMs get paid the large dollars. No one is replacing anyone right now. And it's fair to think any future changes at any position have as much to do with what extensions would have to look like as much as how well younger players play. There are decisions like that every year, and when you get a good roster there are even more of them. The Cardinals are no different than the Eagles (who traded Haason Reddick with a year left on his deal) or anyone else. Look at the 49ers, who have two excellent receivers in Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuels, and then drafted Ricky Pearsall, and it seems inevitable that the Niners will want/need to move on from either Samuels or Aiyuk. It's the circle of NFL life.

From Jeff Wallace:

"Hi Darren, I don't expect this to be put into the mailbag but I noticed that a few of the games say CBS and in those cases is it possible to find out if that's a regional showing or would be national? I live in Tennessee so unless they play the Titans, we won't see them. I'm also one who asked about how you lost your weight. I was at your exact starting weight of 246 pounds then, and I'm down to 236 now and working hard. Thanks for your inspiration."

You may not have expected it, Jeff, but here we are. First of all, great start in changing your lifestyle. Keep with it. As for that TV games, most of the CBS games right now are not slated for the national window; they just have more CBS games these days since AFC and NFC teams started being switched up between networks more often. You need to check during those particular weeks but again, if you are trying to watch the Cardinals out there, Sunday Ticket is your best bet.

From Dana Cruz:

"Hey Darren, does the teams new TV arrangement with AZ Family include the postgame show? The one after home games with Jody Jackson and Bertrand Berry. It was a very good show. We definitely would love to see its return."

I have not yet heard of any of the specifics that AZ Family plans around their new agreement; I would guess they will have an unveiling at some point.

From Derek Cooper:

"Watched Edmonton win just now the NHL Western Conference. All defense. I loved the Ravens' patient path to the Super Bowl over Oakland with a power running back and awesome defense. Is that the model?"

Not sure there is much parallel between hockey and football (and I'd also argue reason No. 1 the Oilers got to the final is Conner McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and the league's best power play). And also ... wait, wait, wait. Are you going back to 2000, and the Ravens' winning a title with Jamal Lewis and one of the best defenses ever? I mean, we have had more than a generation pass since then. The NFL looks little like that game anymore. Yes, the cliche is "Defense Wins Championships" but if you have a run-main offense with an average QB, gonna be tough sledding.

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