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A Quick Turnaround Plan For The Cardinals

The Dirty Bird

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I've thought a perfect reunion all offseason would be for Mike Wallace to go wherever Bruce Arians ended up as head coach. Wallace was one of the best deep threats under Arians in his vertical offense and was becoming one of the best all-around WRs with his development in the underneath and middle routes as well. To a lesser extent, I also think Mendenhall who was an ascendent talent with Arians calling the plays should follow Arians on a short deal and a power back before he re-hits free agency.

Arians is in Arizona now, and they have a massive hole at #2 WR opposite Larry Fitzgerald. Yes, they have recent 1st round pick Michael Floyd -- but a combo of Fitz and Wallace, with Andre Roberts as the slot WR would be amazing. The Cardinals have also soured on power back Beanie Wells, who could be traded or released, and have a speed back in Ryan Williams that BA really likes. A combo of Williams and Mendenhall could be a very good one for Arizona, especially seeing how Vick Ballard and Donald Brown performed for the Colts this year.

Then the question is do you keep Floyd as the #3/#4 WR and eventual Fitz replacement, which you certainly could......or do you put him in the trade market and see what you can get. He'd likely be the #1 WR taken this year, and he flashed down the stretch. If they can get a QB for him, or a prospect at a position of need, or a pick -- or some combination -- it may be worth moving the kid despite his potential. Fitz, Wallace, Roberts....not much room for a 4th WR there at the moment.

Trade: WR Michael Floyd and 2nd round pick to the New England Patriots for QB Ryan Mallett and TE Rob Gronkowski.

This is more about the Pats getting Floyd as a #1 WR for Brady and divesting some big time money in Gronk they could use elsewhere: will explain below. They just moved up to take Hightower to pair with Mayo, and could much more easily find a third LB than a #1 WR of Floyd's talent. More importantly the Cardinals get an underrated QB with a big, big time arm that fits his vertical offense and can get the ball to Fitz, Wallace deep, and Roberts over the middle. Oh, and the Gronk thing.

The Pats have around $80 million tied up in the TE position, which will be a huge problem when they need to extend guys like Stevan Ridley, Sebastian Vollmer, any WR they want, Wilfork, Jones, Jerod Mayo, Aqib Talib, etc. They can also re-sign current FA to be Wes Welker, who has proven to be more integral to the offense and to Brady. The Pats offense has hummed without Gronk, and Bill may realize they could capitalize on his massive value and save about $40 million while they could use their 1st round pick on a TE to replace him for about 1/30th of the cost. Imagine the Pats add WR Michael Floyd, draft TE Tyler Eifert in the 1st round, use the very early 2nd round pick on Randy Moss-esque prospect WR Justin Hunter and use a mid round pick on a slot WR. Then you're talking about: WRs Brandon Lloyd, Michael Floyd, Justin Hunter, Wes Welker, Stedman Bailey and TEs Tyler Eifert and Aaron Hernandez to go with Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen --- and this SAVES them money. It's quietly a brilliant move. They can also probably keep Talib and any defender they want. Eifert would fit seamlessly in the offense in Gronk's role, and Floyd could become a star with Brady at the helm. Think Brandon Marshall when he was in Denver with now Patriot OC Josh McDaniels.

The Cardinals can use their 1st round pick now on an OT like Luke Joeckel if he is there so Mallett has time to throw, and their high 3rd round pick on a very nice ILB like Alabama's Nico Johnson who would make an excellent pair with Daryl Washington. Use their early 4th on a slot WR like Desmond Bailey, and their early 5th on a RB Marcus Lattimore if he is available who is medium risk / sky high reward, as he can recover and rehab while Mendenhall is on a 1-2 year deal and we can see if Williams can handle the feature load. Down the line Lattimore could be the AP of the NFC West.

This then makes the Cardinals offense:

QB: Ryan Mallett

RB: Ryan Williams / Rashard Mendenhall

WRs: Larry Fitzgerald, Mike Wallace, Andre Roberts, Stedman Bailey

TEs: Rob Gronkowski, Rob Housler

OTs: Luke Joeckel and Bobby Massie

The Cardinals would have a net wash on their cap space because they'd be able to release Kevin Kolb, who's salary now goes to Mike Wallace and Rob Gronkowski. They could also make some cap moves to make sure there are no issues. If the Cardinals love a guy like Tyler Wilson or Barkley or Matt Glennon, or Geno Smith falls to them, they could move Massie to left tackle and take Geno. IF Geno falls to them, then instead of getting Mallett they could ILB Brandon Spikes, who would be a nice pair with ILB Daryl Washington. Then the early 3rd could be used elsewhere, perhaps for a pass rusher. I think the Cards may be able to pull off sending Beanie Wells to Jacksonville for 3-4 OLB prospect Andre Branch who they took in the 2nd last year. Branch doesn't fit the 4-3, and they are likely to take a DE with the #2 overall pick this year. They need a #2 RB with upside since Jennings was a bust this year and MJD is an injury risk waiting to happen. Bradley will need a power RB to run his offense at all times.

I really think both teams could make some smart moves this offseason to guarantee future success. The Cardinals have a great defense, and Bruce Arians with this offense......could be a very quick turn around in the desert.


And yes, this is Steve Keim.

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Also if you are ruling out needing a QB if they take Geno Smith in the 1st round, then a trade can be:

WR Michael Floyd and RB Beanie Wells to the Vikings for WR Percy Harvin and DE/OLB Everson Griffen. The Vikings are going to trade Harvin and want what they feel are "true" WRs who can be #1 outside targets for Ponder. They have slot WR Jarius Wright to replace him already -- they've planned for this -- and would love the chance to add a WR like Floyd. I think they draft a guy like Keenan Allen/C. Patterson/Justin Hunter in the 1st, so a pair of them for giving up Percy is a good bargain for them. Percy is gone soon anyway, it's just for what price -- the worst case scenario being a future compensatory pick. Why wait for good compensation though if you have AP who is only getting older and an aging defense and a vulnerable QB who needs help now.

Then the Cardinals can use their early 2nd on the TE themself -- Tyler Eifert or Zach Ertz -- and have a receiving set of Larry Fitzgerald, Mike Wallace, Percy Harvin, Andre Roberts and TEs of Tyler Eifert and Rob Housler. Depends on what you find to be more effective, same amount of money spent here. Don't get the OL boost however if they take a QB in the 1st vs. getting Mallett and freeing up the first for a left tackle. Everson Griffen is also a promising pass rusher who is very young, but may be best suited for a 3-4 OLB role in that vaunted Cardinals defense.

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with the injury history, how do you determine Lattimore is a "medium" risk???? dude reminds me of Norwood the way he gets hurt

also, I don't think there's any way BB would let go of gronk, gronk for Floyd is no where near an even swap IMO

Edited by papachaz
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with the injury history, how do you determine Lattimore is a "medium" risk???? dude reminds me of Norwood the way he gets hurt

also, I don't think there's any way BB would let go of gronk, gronk for Floyd is no where near an even swap IMO

Gronk for Floyd and a 2nd rounder, and it's essentially Gronk who's been hurt for the post season 2 years in a row for Michael Floyd and Tyler Eifert plus a 2nd round pick -- and saving many millions of dollars in the process to keep the rest of the team intact. Kind of like the Thunder moving Harden, but getting back pieces that are MUCH better than what the Thunder got.

Are for Lattimore, he's 100x the talent that Norwood was and is and I love Jerious. Lattimore was the best RB in college football when Trent Richardson and Doug Martin in college. He's much more Willis McGahee than Norwood. Lattimore was the #1 overall high school RB recruit as was McGahee. Medium risk because it was a bad injury, but we've seen come back from stuff like this now.

I'd love him as a Falcon, for one, but I believe whoever takes him and puts him in the right situation to succeed (redshirt year with a clear path to the starting job in Year 2 or 3) will get a great and productive back. That situation could be in Atlanta, could be with the Jets, could be with the Texans as a future replacement for Arian Foster (like the Chiefs having Priest Holmes and taking LJ in the 1st round), etc. etc., and could be for the Cardinals after Beanie is gone.

Edited by The Dirty Bird
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