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You've Got Mail: On The Brink Of OTAs

Topics include the waiver process, Paris comments, and the receiver room

Mailbag rookie camp long snap 051423

You look up, the draft is over, the schedule is out, and suddenly it's the middle of May. Where does the time go? Where does the mailbag go? (Right here.) Questions have been edited for length and clarity. As always, you can send in a question for a future mailbag here.

From J Schubert:

"Can you educate me on how the waiver process works? Is the player awarded to the first team that makes the claim or is there some type of selection order that gives teams like the Cardinals an opportunity over an aggressive (quick on the draw) team? I assume the waiver wire process in the NFL is more complicated than it seems to the average fan."

Here is a quick overview of the process. From the end of the Super Bowl through the third week of the regular season, if a player is waived -- any released player with less than four accrued seasons -- any team that wants to put in a claim for him can do so with the league. The league collects the claims and the player is awarded to the team that is highest in the claim order (which at that point is reverse order of standings from that previous season -- essentially the draft order. So the Cardinals are No. 3 right now, behind the Bears and Texans.)

Once we get to Week 4 of the regular season, it goes by the current seasons reverse order of the standings (so it can be fluid as the weeks go by.) Once the year gets past the trade deadline, every player who is cut is subject to waivers, including veterans with four or more accrued seasons. Right now, until Week 4, the Cardinals will get every player for whom they claim if the Bears and Texans do not claim that player.

From Anthony Riley:

"Did any of the rookies impress you? How do you feel about the wide receiver room?"

The reality was that nothing happened in rookie minicamp to "impress" anyone. It wasn't that kind of camp. I will say there were a couple of guys who, size-wise, look better in person than maybe their height-weight might suggest (the 5-8 UDFA CB Quavian White comes to mind; that dude is put together.) I don't think we're going to get a good sense of anyone, tbh, until training camp. As for the wide receiver room, I need to know if it is going to have D-Hop or not. That changes a ton.

From Daniel Axt:

"Can you explain why at the draft everybody is booing the commissioner? I'm sure there is some history to it but I never figured it out. And also how trustworthy do you think the 'we don't need a scheme because we change it from opponent to opponent' approach is. Thanks for the bag and the insight you grant us fans. Cheerio from Switzerland."

The boos for the Commish are nothing specific; at some point, I'm sure he has done something that goes against every team and/or something fans wanted, so it's easy to boo him. He's the personification of the league. As for the no-scheme thing, rest assured, there is a scheme. I just think JG and the rest of the coaches have no desire to say what it is, and I have no doubt there will be a way to adjust week to week, but that is every team. Vance Joseph did the same thing last year. Once the Cardinals start playing games that count, you'll see whatever scheme they have.

From Steven Biehn:

"There has been discussion and speculation about converting one of at least three guards on the team to the position of center. Other than having a high football IQ so they can identify defenses and call out blocking assignments for the rest of the line, and being able to snap the ball to the quarterback when they are in the shotgun, how does the skill set of a center differ from that of a guard?"

The ability to actually snap the ball and immediately be ready to block whatever your assignment might be is no small task, given that there can be a turnover every single time. Other than that, being able to process everything quick enough -- when you don't have to do all that at guard -- also matters. Those are the biggest things, aside from the natural differences between being in the middle of the line compared to off-center on either side (and the defenders you will be lined up across.)

From Mike N:

"I was just reading this morning punter Matt Araiza, from San Diego State and drafted by Buffalo, was found NOT guilty in an alleged rape. He set the NCAA season-record for average punt yardage. Buffalo cut him and he is available. Why don't the Cardinals get this guy?"

Let's be clear on some of these facts. He was not found "not guilty" because there was no trial. The DA declined to press criminal charges because there was no enough evidence to do so, the woman is suing he and two others in civil court, and Araiza is suing San Diego State for damaging his character. I would say with all of that and everything that still needs to be settled, most NFL teams are going to be in a wait-and-see in potentially signing him until it all gets figured out.

From Nyquill Jordan:

"I don't focus on other teams a ton, but being a Cardinals fan it feels like we develop guys and then let them go, or they leave because the Cardinals aren't good (or they are chasing the bag.) To name a few, Christian Kirk, Chandler Jones, Haason Reddick, Byron Murphy, Patrick Peterson, Zach Allen, Chase Edmonds. I'm just hoping we don't end up losing some other players that have developed. While I understand you can't keep everyone, we didn't find equal replacements for them. Do you feel the same way?"

I've been around this a long time. Some guys are going to leave. Sometimes the team wants to move on, sometimes they don't. I will start with the reasons -- it's always about the money. In all cases you have mentioned, had the Cardinals been willing to pay what those players got elsewhere, they would've stayed (except maybe Reddick, who ended up with a one-year deal in Carolina but was expecting a big bag the Cards weren't offering, and Murphy, who I think was also expecting a big bag.) It comes down to what the GM (either Keim or now Ossenfort) thinks about the player and the cost. I could go through each of the thought process on all these players, but that becomes tl;dr. I thought they'd find a way to keep Allen. Murphy was coming off a back injury. But if you lose a solid player, no, there isn't always an equal replacement. But that doesn't necessarily mean the decision to move on is wrong.

From Rojo Grande:

"What do you think about bringing Chase Edmonds back? Recently cut by the Broncos. He played well for us and provides a great change of pace from Conner. Experience and a nice receiving target out of the backfield on third downs."

On a personal level, I would love love love for Edmonds to come back. But I doubt that will be the move. I think they want to have some youth at running back, and Chase also had issues staying healthy. Because the GM and coach that used Edmonds are gone, there isn't that tie anymore.

From Itoni Nyg:

"Did you hear Paris Johnson Jr. calling out Micah Parsons and Nick Bosa? Love the competitive tenacity, but what are you doing man? lol. In your experience, what Cardinal rookies have done that in the past, and what was the outcome?"

Calling out? I'll disagree with that context. He said he can't wait to play them. "You can't have a goal to play in the NFL and then be afraid to go against these guys. Like, what? That's what you want. You say you want to play in the NFL? That's the NFL for you, and that's what I'm excited for, because I've done well in those scenarios." Now, will Parsons and/or Bosa take notice? Probably. But let's be serious for a moment. Are we going to say Parsons and Bosa aren't two of the best in the league and were going to play that way anyway? PJJ isn't saying he's better than them. As for the past, I have no idea. Most of the time that's all noise. The only one I can think about is the Josh Rosen "nine mistakes" drafted in front of him. That was not true. But I don't think this is the same as that anyway.

From Jerome R:

"What are your thoughts about Michael Wilson? If DeAndre Hopkins leaves will he be able to fill his shoes?"

I think Wilson is a great person. I've had the chance to talk with him and he is an impressive young man. He's Stanford-educated. He is driven to be good in this game. Now, does that mean he'll succeed in the NFL? I dunno. I'm not 100 percent sure they see Wilson as the same kind of wideout as Hop; Wilson may actually get some work inside. If he is healthy, I think he has the chance to be good. But it's not fair to ask a third-round rookie to replace a multi-time All-Pro.

From Ash Jones:

"How come everytime I say 'the Cardinals should just target our best player and force feed the ball to him' (that being Hop, or Fitz, or Hollywood, or David Johnson, or whoever) you always say, 'No, that's not it works.' Meanwhile, the Suns just won back-to-back playoff games where Booker and KD literally accounted for 85 percent of our total offense. It works! To keep it football focused, the Lions did it with megatron in 2012. The Saints did it with Michael Thomas in 2019. I'm not saying we have to do it every game. But I'm saying stars are meant to carry us when we need it."

Well gosh, Ash, I gotta say, I don't remember you ever saying to me the Cardinals should just target the best player. I don't recognize your name for the mailbag (or Twitter for that matter.) As for the Suns, unfortunately for you, the timing of this question doesn't look that great in the light of day, because while yes, those two guys carried them in Games 3 and 4, they couldn't do the same in Games 5 and 6 when they were still needed, and as someone who believes he knows something about basketball, I absolutely believe the Suns had no chance because they didn't have other pieces to share the load. (You have some odd NFL examples too -- the 2012 Lions were 4-12, and while the 2019 Saints were 13-3, they lost in their first playoff game.)

From Mark Mason:

"Hey Darren, just read a report that has the Falcons, Texans, Colts and Cardinals rated most likely to 'stink' in 2023. One of the main reasons listed stated that all four teams have a weak QB room and with the Cardinals being rated by some as having the eleventh most difficult schedule that this does not bode well for the Cardinals. I beg to differ. I rate the Cardinals with a B on ability to make it to the playoffs. We may have lost a number of very talented players, but if you look down through the roster, I believe you will see a team that will do a lot better in those games Kyler is out. If the Cardinals can win 50 percent of the games that Kyler is out, do the Cardinals have a chance at making the playoffs?"

I think if the Cardinals go .500 with Kyler out it would be an important accomplishment. But not know how long Kyler would be out, that makes it harder to predict what would that would mean for the postseason. Does Kyler miss four games? Eight? 12? I know this -- the NFC is not as strong as it has been. What the record of the sixth or seventh playoff seed in the NFC will be interesting to see.

From Greg Painter:

"I'm seeing multiple articles that the Cards were working a deal with the Falcons for Kyler Murray. Have you heard these rumors? I'm not sure they are true because they would have close to a $60 million dead cap hit. Is it possible the new regime wants their own man? Also, will Budda or D-Hop be on the roster when preseason starts?"

I have seen these rumors and I do not believe them in the least. As far as Baker and Hopkins, I have already said I never thought Baker was going anywhere, and as we move along, it's looking more and more like Hopkins too could be around. But can I say for certain? No.

From John Tharp:

"There was a report from Action Network's Simon Hunter that came out that claims the Cards were in conversation with Atlanta about trading Kyler Murray to them. I do not see the Cards trading Murray right now, but anything is possible. Do you know what it would take financially to trade Kyler? Can the Cards be off the hook for his cap hit somehow?"

As I mentioned, I, I do not believe the Murray/Falcons rumor in the least (I find it funny that for something so high profile it wouldn't have come from any of the "big" NFL newsbreakers if it was true.) Murray is not being traded right now. If he were to be dealt next season, the Cardinals would still have $46 million in dead cap money and that is assuming whatever team that traded for him would take on 100 percent of what is left with his current deal.

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