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Adam Wainwright’s power sinker: I don’t know, man. It’s a sinker that… slides? I mean, it’s opposite break to a slider, but at that point it’s kind of a changeup. I think this might have just been a way to shoehorn Wainwright into the article. Next!

Daniel Ponce de Leon’s curveball: As Ponce de Leon mentioned, this is more of a rediscovered pitch than a new one, but it fits his fastball/changeup strengths well. He’s down in AAA to start the seaon, so seems like as good of a time as any to work on it. Two thumbs up.

Alex Reyes’ slider: This one is intriguing. He hasn’t really thrown any sliders in the majors, so our video of it is limited to this spring training, and it looks filthy. That said, I can totally believe Reyes having a great slider, as he has tremendous command of his curve. Early results look good, and it seems like it fits what he’s already doing quite well.

Chasen Shreve’s slider: Anything to get him to throw less fastballs is cool with me. Also, he was already throwing 15% sliders on the Cardinals last year. This one is a reach.

Mike Mayers’ curveball: This pitch probably merits a deeper dive when we get a little more pitch-level data on it this year. Mayers does seem like he’d benefit from a curve, because the four-seam/curve/slider combination plays really well as a trio. Mayers has always had a good fastball and a middling-to-bad slider, so keep an eye on this early in the season as a potential player-changing pitch.

Austin Gomber’s slider: I almost wanted to write an article about this. Gomber’s curveball is so extreme in its vertical plane that it demonstrates basically no platoon split. On one hand, that’s pretty awesome. A pitch like that can turn a pitcher from a reliever to a starter very easily. On the other hand, there’s an obvious downside- it’s not as good for getting same-handed batters out. Gomber has always had basically no platoon split, even bordering on a reverse one, and in his case it’s easy to see why. The way that other lefties will add a changeup to get right-handers out and totally remake their platoon splits, Gomber adding a pitch that lefties can’t hit could totally change his outlook. If his curveball is his second-best pitch against lefties, that’s a real game changer. Now, as far as I know, talking to Andrew Miller doesn’t spontaneously make you throw a wipeout slider — but stranger things have happened.

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Money talks this time of year, and in most cases, free agents tend to land with the highest bidder.

However, there are instances when players set other parameters, and when that happens, organizations must be enticing enough to reel in their targets.

The Cardinals went 3-13 last season and are employing their third coach in three years, so it was fair to wonder if players would be reticent to join the fold. Less than two weeks into free agency, it’s obvious that isn’t the case.

Inside linebacker Jordan Hicks, cornerback Robert Alford and outside linebacker Terrell Suggs are among the top names that have signed on the dotted line with the Cardinals. The team has inked 11 free agents in all, which is among the most in the NFL.

Hicks emanated energy during his introductory press conference last week and feels like the organization is on an upward trajectory.

“I was pretty impressed with everything that was going on here,” Hicks said. “And excited. There’s a buzz around this team, and for me it was a no-brainer. This place is great for my family, and then you speak about football, and it’s going to be a fun team.”

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The jury remains out on Arizona Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen. Both on and off the field, he’s repeatedly called into question, which is something the New York Giants may want to investigate should they decide to swing a trade for him.
Luckily for the Giants, they have several of Rosen’s former teammates on their 90-man roster who would be willing to provide some inside information, including linebacker Markus Golden.

On Monday, Rosen arrived for the Cardinals’ offseason workout program despite swirling trade winds and was actually the first in the building. Ho-hum says Golden, who saw that every day during Rosen’s rookie campaign.
Veteran safety Antoine Bethea, who also played for the Cardinals last season, believes Rosen is destined for “great things” in 2019 regardless of where it is he plays.

“He’s going to be able to do some great things in 2019,” Bethea said prior to Super Bowl LIII. “For a young quarterback, his ball placement is great. . . The more play time he gets, the better he’s going to get.”

Bethea also praised Rosen’s locker-room leadership and the relationships he forged with his teammates, which the young quarterback has previously been scrutinized for.

Whatever the case may be, the comments from Rosen’s teammates and former teammates don’t match those of the reports. What that really means behind-the-scenes, only those who experience it truly know. But if the Giants want to take a flier out on Rosen, both Golden and Bethea seem as if they’d approve.

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Kliff Kingsbury feels like time has moved in slow motion since he became coach of the Cardinals.

He’s officially been on the job for less than three months, but “it seems like I’ve been here a year and haven’t met the team yet.”

That will change soon.

The Cardinals will convene for voluntary offseason work on April 8, where an antsy Kingsbury will finally get a chance to speak with the players and begin implementing his style. The team could have started a week earlier but Kingsbury preferred to delay it for scheduling reasons.

“We wanted to keep it more compact,” Kingsbury said Tuesday morning from the annual owners meetings at the Arizona Biltmore. “If we would have started on (April 1), we would have taken a break, and now we’re just going to roll straight through.”

It’s a slow burn, as the players are limited to strength and conditioning work during the first phase of the offseason. Still, it’s better than nothing. Kingsbury’s tenure has been marked by speculation, as pundits wonder how his offense will translate to the NFL and what the Cardinals will do with the No. 1 overall pick.

 “It’s been a lot of other things other than coaching so excited to get that going,” Kingsbury said.

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It can’t be denied that the Arizona Cardinals have added intrigue to the NFL Draft this year. What the club will do with the first-overall selection has become the league’s million dollar question these days. Based strictly on need, that decision should be an easy one for the Cards’ front office.

A close look at the team’s roster reveals that Arizona is extremely thin on the defensive line. That being said, it just so happens that one of the top prospects in the draft plays that very position.

Alabama’s Quinnen Williams may be the most complete collegiate prospect of 2019. In fact, the defensive tackle was awarded the Outland Trophy for his outstanding performance last season. Williams tallied 71 tackles, including a eye-popping 19.5 for a loss, and eight sacks in 2018 to earn the honor.

The Cardinals’ defensive front could sure use that level of production. Veteran Corey Peters and Darius Philon are solid starters, but Pro Bowl material they are not. The remaining depth behind that pair is downright scary.

Former first-round pick Robert Nkemdiche has been both inconsistent and injury-prone during his three professional campaigns. Inexperienced individuals like Pasoni Tasini, Vincent Valentine and Cameron Malveaux are the only other options at the moment. It’s not a stretch to say that the Cards could use some help in this area.

As it stands now, it appears as if there are three candidates vying to be the draft’s top pick. In no particular order they are Ohio State’s Nick Bosa, Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray and the Crimson Tide’s Williams. Arizona fans, according to the latest message boards at least, appear to be evenly divided on the three.
There are those who believe that Murray would be the perfect quarterback for the Cardinals’ new “Air Raid” offense. Others think that Bosa would terrorize opposing signal-callers for the next decade or so if he came to the desert. That’s all well and good, but an argument could still be made that Williams is the most logical choice for the Cards.

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Budda Baker dropped to the second round of the 2017 draft mainly due to size concerns, but proved as a rookie his 5-foot-10, 195-pound frame could hold up at safety.

Now he’s ready to up the ante.

Baker’s role in the Cardinals’ subpackages in 2018 will be diverse, including regular work near the line of scrimmage as a de facto outside linebacker. On run plays, that could mean going head-to-head against behemoth offensive linemen. When asked about his ability to handle such a size disparity, Baker smiled broadly.

“I’ve been doing it my whole life,” Baker said. “Little league, high school and college.”

Baker showed last season he could be a game-changer on the back end of the defense, and is “very confident” he will find success among the giants in the box. Cardinals coach Steve Wilks is similarly unconcerned about Baker’s size, citing his second-year player’s physicality as the reason he will succeed.

Wilks pointed to the success of smaller safeties like Seattle’s Earl Thomas and former Chicago Bears star Mike Brown as the blueprint for Baker.

“The wear and tear of the season is going to take a hold on everybody, but he’ll be fine in there,” Wilks said.

Baker started the final seven games of his rookie year at strong safety following a season-ending knee injury to Tyvon Branch, finishing the abbreviated campaign with 61 tackles, two forced fumbles, a sack, a fumble recovery and six passes defensed.

His immediate success made General Manager Steve Keim’s decision to trade up for him in the draft look prescient. Baker first turned heads by dominating on special teams – he made the Pro Bowl for his efforts – and had an unbelievable starting debut against the Texans.

Safety Antoine Bethea saw something special in Baker from his first preseason game as a rookie.

“It’s his instincts,” Bethea said. “That’s what this game is about. It’s all about instincts. You can put the Xs and Os up there, but if you have a guy who has natural instincts, he can be a playmaker.”

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Former Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Jordan Hicks signed a four-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals on Friday, the team officially announced.

The deal will pay him up to $36 million. It includes a $12 million signing bonus and $20 million is guaranteed, reports NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

After suffering an Achilles injury in 2017, Hicks returned to play 12 games last season, tallying career highs with 91 tackles and three sacks.
While he proved his pass coverage skills well before that — Hicks posted career highs with five picks and 11 passes defensed in 2016 — he graded out 10th in the NFL in run-defense during the 2018 season, per Pro Football Focus. PFF ranked Hicks as the top free agent linebacker.

With the Cardinals releasing middle linebacker Josh Bynes before free agency hit and as free agent Deone Bucannon prepares to join former Arizona coach Bruce Arians in Tampa Bay, former first-round pick Haason Reddick is the only Cardinals inside linebacker who played snaps last year that is on the roster.

Under defensive coordinator Vance Joseph’s guidance, the Cardinals will be switching to a 3-4 look, shifting former defensive end Chandler Jones to outside linebacker. Arizona also added Tucson-raised outside linebacker Brooks Reed before the free agency period began and inked fellow outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, who went to Hamilton High School in Chandler and then ASU before embarking on his NFL career.

Hicks, 26, was a third-round draft pick by Philadelphia in 2015 out of Texas.

Arizona entered free agency wanting to spend smartly but needing quality additions at linebacker. Big-name linebackers Kwon Alexander (four years, up to $54 million) and C.J. Mosley (five years, up to $85 million) have already agreed to pricey deals with the San Francisco 49ers and New York Jets, respectively.

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One position we’ve rarely touched on this offseason for the Arizona Cardinals is at running back. In 2018, David Johnson was not utilized the way many wanted to see him. At times his backup Chase Edmonds was in the game at crucial times.

All kinds of excuses were made by coaches as to why we sat Edmonds when we all thought Johnson should have been the guy. This doesn’t mean we didn’t like what we saw from Edmonds however.
Now that Kliff Kingsbury is the head coach, it will be interesting if the Cardinals go back to using Johnson more as a receiver. Having a running back that can rush for over 1,000-yards and rake in 75-80 receptions is someone you need on your team.

Behind Johnson and Edmonds right now is T.J. Logan and D.J. Foster. Logan is a huge special teams player and is likely going to see the bulk of his action continue there.

Foster is coming off a season-ending injury last preseason against the Dallas Cowboys. He will be a player to closely watch once camp comes rolling around in late July.

Right now it should be a position the Cardinals put at the very bottom of the list to make any additions at. Now, the progress of Foster may have something to do with that but the team does not need to add anyone there right now.
Johnson had 940-yards rushing and seven touchdowns last season. Edmonds had 208-yards rushing and two touchdowns. That production looks to trend up in the new offense they will be running but they still need to go out and prove they can produce in Kingsbury’s offense.
The fifth running back on the roster, Brandon Wilds, played in three games for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2018, carrying the ball six times for 15-yards. It remains to be seen if he has a future role in this offense.

Mason Cole Jersey

After having one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL last season, it’s no secret the Arizona Cardinals are looking to add depth down in the trenches.

According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, the Cardinals reportedly worked out South Carolina’s Zack Bailey with the NFL Draft right around the corner.

While Arizona has other names in mind for the No. 1 pick, Bailey is a projected early third-day pick, added Garafolo. The third day consists of rounds four through seven.

In four seasons with the Gamecocks, Bailey played in 46 games for South Carolina, starting in 38 of them. Primarily playing left guard, Bailey also spent time at center (2015) and right tackle (2017).

In 2018, Bailey was named to Athlon Sports’ 2018 preseason second-team All-SEC team, and also made The Associated Press’ second team All-SEC team. A broken fibula cut his season short, however, suffering the injury in the team’s regular season finale. For his efforts, the lineman was invited to not only the East-West Shrine game, but also the NFL Draft Combine.

Although coming off the injury, Bailey did 24 bench press reps, had a 28-inch vertical and 103-inch broad jump.

While the line struggled mightily last season, the Cardinals fared well using a later pick on an O-line man in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Last season, one of the diamonds in the offensive-line rough was rookie center Mason Cole, a third-round selection.

After starting center A.Q. Shipley, one of the most durable lineman on the team, went down with a torn ACL in the team’s Red & White practice, Cole stepped in and stepped up.

Cole was the only lineman to start all 16 games. He also played nearly 100 percent of the snaps.

On the flip side, seven Cardinals offensive lineman found themselves on the IR, while another was waived.

In total, the Cardinals had 10 different line combinations throughout the season.

The Cardinals hold 11 picks in the upcoming NFL draft.

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Bosa is widely considered to be the best prospect in the 2019 NFL Draft class. He’s not the most athletic player in the draft based on his combine numbers, but he’s the most NFL-ready pass rusher available. His technique, use of his hands, and his variety of pass rush moves make him stand out above the rest.

Although the consensus of the media believes that the Cardinals will select Kyler Murray with their No. 1 overall pick, it’s actually not a sure thing. Keep in mind they traded up to select quarterback Josh Rosen last season. It is possible that Cardinals’ GM Steve Keim is making people believe he’ll select Murray to get a team to trade up with them.

Just because head coach Kliff Kingsbury recruited Murray out of high school and believes the Heisman trophy winner is the best dual-threat quarterback in the country doesn’t mean he’s a good fit for his system.

The Cardinals also have a lot of needs and it might be wise for them to take the best player available. Rosen has all the intangibles to succeed given his arm strength and poise in the pocket. How does he not fit in Kliff Kingsbury’s scheme?

For them to give up on Rosen doesn’t make the organization look good at all, and it really doesn’t make sense.

They also have bigger needs out there. They need to build their offensive line for the future, with J.R. Sweezy and Marcus Gilbert being short-term options. There is a need at the wide receiver position with Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk being the team’s only reliable receivers.

Terrell Suggs was signed this off-season to start at outside linebacker. The 36-year-old is not an every-down linebacker anymore, but he and Chandler Jones would make great mentors for Bosa.

It would not be shocking at all to see the Cardinals pass on a quarterback and take Nick Bosa, a potentially game-changing pass rusher.