Manning aside, Cardinals want Brown back
Rod Graves’ news conference Thursday at the NFL Scouting Combine was a study in selective hearing.
national media members were marveling over the Cardinals general
manager’s refusal to close the door on the possibility of signing Peyton
Manning, Arizona media members had their antennae raised by an entirely
The Cards want left tackle Levi Brown back, and Graves is optimistic a deal will get done.
discussions with his agent are ongoing, and I hope to pick up the
intensity of those discussions in the next few days and into next week,”
Graves said. “Obviously, our objective is to try get a deal in place
with him to have him with us for an extended period.”
first-round pick (fifth overall) played well over the latter half of
last season, but his career has been marked largely by inconsistency. He
is entering the final year of his contract, which carries a cap hit of
nearly $17 million. The Cards will not pay anything close to his
final-year salary, but they are clearly interested in bringing him back
at a reduced rate.
Whether Brown plays the left side or the right
will depend on the Cardinals’ other personnel decisions, including the
fate of free-agent-to-be right tackle Brandon Keith, who has struggled
with myriad injuries and inconsistency.
“I think Levi has been in
a tough position ever since he was taken with the fifth pick in the
draft,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “There are high expectations for that
position, and obviously there is not the type of evaluation, the
tangible results, that you get from a receiver, running back or
quarterback. So every time a block is missed, ‘Oh, he played horrible.’
you throw the ball 30-something times, it’s going to happen. But, with
all that being said, I think over the last half of our season this past
year, when we needed it the most, Levi played probably his best
football. It was consistent. It was something that was important to our
team, and hopefully that was a point where he is starting to get it from
Attempts to reach Brown and his agent were
unsuccessful Thursday, but given Graves’ stated timeline, this situation
will bear watching over the next few days.
As for the Kevin
Kolb-Peyton Manning drama, there was really nothing new in Graves’
statements Thursday, and that makes perfect sense.
Graves, Whisenhunt or anyone on the Cardinals staff close the door on
the possibility of Manning coming to Arizona until they are able to
evaluate all the moving parts in that complex scenario? The main
objective of the offseason is to improve your team. Until Graves and Co.
have determined that either Manning would not do that or they can’t be
sure he would do that, they should most definitely continue exploring
the Manning option.