Cardinals Rumors

Cardinals Sign TE Charles Clay

The Cardinals signed former Bills tight end Charles Clay to a one-year deal worth up to $3.25MM, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. His deal includes a $350K signing bonus. 

Clay was heading into the final year of a five-year, $38MM deal with the Bills before his release earlier this month. The Cardinals did not want to wait around and risk other teams scooping up Clay, so they’ve signed him here in February. Recently, the Cards also signed cornerback Robert Alford and defensive end Brooks Reed after they were released by the Falcons, so a pattern is emerging.

Clay had just 21 catches for 184 yards last season, a massive drop-off from his 56/600 average over the previous five years. He’ll join youngster Ricky Seals-Jones and veteran Jermaine Gresham on the TE depth chart.

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Kingsbury, Bidwill Dismiss Murray Speculation; Baker To Be Moved Back To Safety

  • Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury continues to dismiss the speculation connecting Kyler Murray to Arizona. Many pundits believe Murray would thrive in Kingsbury’s offense, but Kingsbury insists that the team is committed to last year’s first-round pick, Josh Rosen (Twitter link via Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com). Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic tweets that team president Michael Bidwill is also adamant that his club will not pursue Murray (at least not with the No. 1 overall pick).
  • Budda Baker has functioned as the Cardinals‘ slot corner, but new DC Vance Joseph said that Baker will be moved back to his natural safety position in 2019 (Twitter link via Mike Jurecki of AZCardinals.com).

Cardinals Hire Defensive Assistant

  • More new Cardinals assistants are emerging. The team announced Rusty McKinney will join Kliff Kingsbury‘s staff as a defensive assistant. Like Charlie Bullen, McKinney spent the past three seasons on Adam Gase‘s Dolphins staffs. The former defensive quality control coach worked with new Cardinals DC Vance Joseph in 2016.

Cardinals Hire 4 New Assistants

  • Steve Wilks received interest from teams aside from the Browns but scheduled the Cleveland summit first because that was his top choice, according to McManaman. The one-and-done Cardinals coach is now the Browns‘ DC, coming to Cleveland after receiving a substantial buyout from his four-year Cards contract.
  • Elsewhere in the NFC West, the Cardinals continued to add new assistants. Kliff Kingsbury‘s staff will include Charlie Bullen as assistant linebackers coach and Peter Badovinac, Bob McManamon of the Arizona Republic notes. Bullen spent the past seven seasons with the Dolphins, serving as a defensive assistant throughout the Joe Philbin and Adam Gase tenures. Bullen and new Cardinals DC Vance Joseph worked together in 2016. Badnovinac will follow Kingsbury from the college ranks, moving to Arizona after stays at Missouri State and Ohio State. Badnovinac accepted a graduate assistant position at Oklahoma recently but will begin his first NFL job instead. The Cardinals also hired Spencer Whipple and Rob Grosso as quality control coaches.
  • Steve Wilks received interest from teams aside from the Browns but scheduled the Cleveland summit first because that was his top choice, according to McManaman. The one-and-done Cardinals coach is now the Browns‘ DC, coming to Cleveland after receiving a substantial buyout from his four-year Cards contract.

Cardinals Sign DE/OLB Brooks Reed

Robert Alford isn’t the only former Falcon the Cardinals are signing. Two days after signing Alford, the team has agreed to terms on a one-year deal with Brooks Reed, the team announced on their official site.

Reed’s one-year deal is worth $1.625MM with $250K fully guaranteed, Adam Caplan of SiriusXM tweets. The team’s announcement stated that Reed, who played defensive end in Atlanta, will move to outside linebacker in the Cardinals’ 3-4 scheme. Reed had been with the Falcons for the past four seasons, and had one year left on his contract when the team cut him Wednesday.

Reed initially entered the league as a second round pick of the Texans back in 2011, and signed a five-year, $22MM deal with Atlanta in March of 2015. This past year he appeared in all 16 games for the Falcons with eight starts, but notched just one sack. For his career he has 21.5 sacks through eight seasons. He restructured his deal and agreed to take a pay cut last March to help him stick with the team, but it apparently wasn’t enough to keep him around this year.

Reed had his best years, including a six sack rookie season, while playing outside linebacker with the Texans, so perhaps he’ll return to form here. Since Reed was cut before his contract expired, he was eligible to sign right away and didn’t have to wait for free agency to open. The Cardinals have been aggressive in pursuing veteran players before the market opens, as they already claimed Tanner Vallejo off waivers earlier this week in addition to signing Alford to a three-year deal. They also claimed D.J. Swearinger off waivers from the Redskins late in the season.

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Cardinals Hire New Contract Negotiator

  • The Cardinals are hiring Matt Harriss away from the Lions as their new director of administration, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network (Twitter link). Garafolo notes that Harriss will be Arizona’s contracts guy, and that the Lions and Cardinals essentially swapped contract negotiators because Detroit had just hired Mike Disner away from the Cardinals.

Cardinals Sign CB Robert Alford

The Cardinals have signed former Falcons cornerback Robert Alford to a three-year contract, the club announced today. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com first reported (via Twitter) that Alford, who was released by Atlanta earlier this week, was working out an agreement with the Cards.

Alford’s thee-year pact has a base value of $22.5MM and could be worth up to $24MM, tweets Rapoport. The ex-Falcons defensive back was earning $9.5MM annually under his Atlanta contract, so Alford will take a pay cut as he heads to the Cardinals. His deal reportedly contains $13MM in guarantees, although those are likely injury guarantees and not full guarantees.

Arizona has previously attempted to fill its No. 2 corner void by making veteran additions, and it’s worked at points, with Antonio Cromartie and Tramon Williams representing success stories opposite top defensive back Patrick Peterson. The Cardinals attempted a similar strategy in 2018 by acquiring Jamar Taylor from the Browns prior to the regular season, but he struggled in the desert and was ultimately released in November.

Career journeyman Bene Benwikere ended up playing the second-most snaps of any Cardinals cornerback last year, but Arizona ranked just 23rd in DVOA against opposing No. 2 wideouts, so they were searching for an upgrade. As a bonus, Alford won’t affect the Cards’ compensatory pick calculations given that he was a street free agent following his release from the Falcons.

Alford, 30, had been one of Atlanta’s longest-tenured players, as he’d been with the club since being selected in the second round of the 2013 draft. An 88-game veteran, Alford started 15 games a season ago but posted arguably the worst campaign of his pro career. Pro Football Focus graded Alford as a bottom-10 cornerback league-wide, while he ranked dead last among 85 qualifiers in Football Outsiders’ yards per pass allowed and success rate.

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Cardinals Claim Tanner Vallejo Off Waivers

Tanner Vallejo has found a new team. After being waived by the Browns yesterday, the linebacker has been claimed by the Cardinals (via the team’s website).

While the 24-year-old has been waived twice over past five months, there were still plenty of teams lining up to make a claim. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that the Jets, Giants, Bengals, Vikings, and Chargers also made an attempt to claim Vallejo off waivers. Thanks to Arizona’s league-worst 3-13 record, they got first dibs on the player.

The Boise State product was selected by the Bills in the sixth-round of the 2017 draft, and he proceeded to appear in 15 games as a rookie. Vallejo was waived by Buffalo prior to this past season before landing on the Browns. In fact, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo points out (via Twitter) that the Cardinals made an unsuccessful claim on the linebacker at that time, so their interest in the linebacker isn’t anything new.

Vallejo ended up being relatively productive in Cleveland, compiling 27 tackles and one forced fumble in 13 games (one start). He ultimately finished the season on IR due to a hamstring injury. The Cardinals will now pick up the two years remaining on his rookie contract.

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Cardinals Promote Assistant From Wilks' Staff

  • New Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury isn’t just retaining one member of last year’s coaching staff, he’s promoting him. Kingsbury will promote Chris Achuff, who was an assistant defensive line coach on Steve Wilks’ staff last year, to be his defensive line coach, a source told Bob McManaman of The Arizona Republic (Twitter link). Achuff had been with Baylor for nine years before joining the Cardinals, so perhaps he had some familiarity with Kingsbury from their Big 12 days.