Shark Bites

Cardinals HC Steve Wilks said Monday that rookie QB Josh Rosen will get some snaps with the 1st team in Friday night's exhibition game against the Saints, according to the team website. QB Sam Bradford will start the game and play more snaps than he did in the opener, Wilks said, but the plan for Rosen is noteworthy. Wilks has talked up Bradford as the starter. We'd certainly bet on that changing at some point this season -- quite possibly in the 1st half of the year.

The Cardinals’ initial (“unofficial”) depth chart lists rookie WR Christian Kirk as a 3rd-teamer. Arizona lists Larry Fitzgerald and Brice Butler as starters, with J.J. Nelson and Chad Williams behind them. We’d bet on Kirk climbing from there, but it’s at least a reminder that he has work to do.

Cardinals RB David Johnson reported for the start of training camp after skipping spring workouts. He's angling for a new contract, with just 1 year and $1.9 million left on his current deal. But we can now cross off "holdout" on the list of concerns with Johnson. We're still worried about his supporting cast -- specifically Arizona's offensive line -- but volume should carry Johnson to RB1 fantasy production.

Cardinals TE Ricky Seals-Jones was arrested in Arizona over the weekend and charged with assault, disorderly conduct and criminal trespassing. He allegedly shoved an employee of the W Hotel in Scottsdale after he was denied access to the bathroom. The police report also states that Seals-Jones was intoxicated at the time of his arrest. This sounds like a relatively minor incident, but we'll see if it nets Seals-Jones any punishment from the league. For now, he's still worth considering at the tail end of fantasy drafts.

Mike Jurecki of the Cardinals' official website tabs TE Ricky Seals-Jones as the offense's breakout player this season. "His targets should be a lot higher this year with an expanded role," Jurecki writes. Seals-Jones saw just 28 looks as a rookie last year but averaged a big 16.8 yards per catch and scored 3 times. He goes 6'5, 243 pounds and was a 5-star WR recruit to Texas A&M. On a Cardinals offense in need of weapons behind Larry Fitzgerald and David Johnson, Seals-Jones has an opportunity to win a major role in 2018. He's 1 of our favorite late-round targets at TE.

Cardinals RB David Johnson won't report for this weekend's mandatory minicamp, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. Johnson is looking for a new contract, with just 1 year and $1.9 million left on his current deal. "There have been discussions regarding a new contract and both sides hopeful," Schefter tweeted. We'll see how this one plays out over the next couple of months. Johnson joins Julio Jones and Earl Thomas as early-summer holdouts.

The Cardinals plan to "ramp up" QB Sam Bradford's participation in next week's minicamp, according to Darren Urban of the team's official website. He suffered a left knee injury in Week 2 last year that nagged him the rest of the season and eventually required surgery in November. “I think he’s on schedule,” HC Steve Wilks said. “He feels real confident right now with how his knee feels. Again, we are doing a great job in-house with the trainers and strength and conditioning coach and getting him where he needs to be. I think from a mental standpoint, he’s feeling pretty good.” A healthy Bradford figures to open the 2018 campaign as Arizona's starter, but he'll need to hold off rookie Josh Rosen. Neither guy is worth a pick in fantasy football drafts right now.

Charges against Cardinals WR Christian Kirk have been dropped. He was arrested on February 3 at the Phoenix Open golf tournament after he was spotted breaking a car window. Kirk has paid for the damages, and this should be the last we hear of this story. The rookie has a shot to carve out a significant role in Arizona this season and is worth a look near the end of fantasy drafts.

Cardinals WR Christian Kirk was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and property damage after the Phoenix Open golf tournament on February 3. That, of course, was nearly 3 months before the NFL Draft. “We spoke with Christian about it at length and also looked into it independently," a Cardinals spokesperson said. "Our understanding is that the process will be resolved in the near future but while it remains an active legal matter, we won’t comment further.” Kirk was allegedly drunk leaving the tournament and seen breaking a car window with a rock. We'll see what comes of this, but the incident didn't stop the Cards from spending a 2nd-round pick on Kirk. He has a shot to step right in as the team's #2 WR this season and is worth a look in the late rounds of fantasy drafts.

The Cardinals selected Texas A&M WR Christian Kirk with the 47th overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft. Kirk’s most impressive college season came back in 2015. As an 18-year-old true freshman, he led the Aggies with 80 catches, 1,009 receiving yards and 7 TDs. His yardage totals tailed off over the past 2 years, but he still totaled 149 catches and 19 scores. Kirk was also a special-teams dynamo, scoring 1 kick-return and 6 punt-return TDs. A 5’10, 201-pounder who ran the majority of his routes at A&M from the slot, Kirk has shades of Golden Tate in his game. He averaged 6.8 yards after the catch during his college career, according to Pro Football Focus. Arizona is a strange short-term fit with slot maven Larry Fitzgerald still around. We’ll see how Kirk fits in this season. Long term, he should be the Fitz replacement.

The Cardinals traded up from #15 to #10 to grab UCLA QB Josh Rosen. Rosen in 2015 became the 1st true freshman to start for the Bruins, completing 60.0% of his passes with 23 TDs vs. 11 INTs. His sophomore season was cut short 5 games early by a “soft tissue” right shoulder injury. He returned this past year to set career highs in completion rate (62.6%), yards (3,756) and TDs (26) — despite missing 2 games with a pair of concussions. That injury history is the biggest knock against Rosen. (We’re not buying any of the silly attitude/personality stuff.) He’s otherwise a clean prospect, though, and might just be the most NFL-ready QB in this draft class. That said, Rosen figures to start his career backing up Sam Bradford. Of course, Bradford is a poor bet to last the season. Long term, Arizona needs to add some weapons for Rosen at WR with Larry Fitzgerald turning 35 in August. The current depth chart behind Fitz: J.J. Nelson, Brice Butler and Chad Williams.

New Cardinals HC Steve Wilks confirmed Tuesday his team will be switching to a 4-3 base defense this season, according to Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic. Wilks reportedly said a key factor in the change is allowing edge guys Chandler Jones and Markus Golden to rush the passer every down. That's the big news here for IDP owners as well. The switch should mean that we'll get DE designations for Jones and Golden in fantasy football leagues in 2018, which would dramatically increase their value. Jones, of course, led the NFL with 17 sacks last season and is no secret as a top pass rusher. Golden much more quietly racked up 12.5 sacks, 16 total tackles for loss and 22 total QB hits in 2016 before missing most of last season with a torn right ACL. He'll be a solid shot to take late in IDP drafts this summer -- especially if he gets that DL designation.

Cardinals RB David Johnson has received full medical clearance from last year's dislocated wrist, NFL Network reports. Johnson declared himself 100% healthy back in mid-January, so this is just confirmation. The wrist injury that cost him 15 games last year shouldn't be a factor in 2018. A healthy Johnson racked up 2,118 total yards and 20 TDs back in 2016. It'd be super optimistic to expect a repeat of those numbers this season, but Johnson certainly has the potential to top the RB position in fantasy points.

The Cardinals have signed WR Brice Butler to a 2-year deal. Although he's yet to carve out a consistent role across 5 NFL seasons, Butler has flashed plenty. He's averaging 16.1 yards per catch with 21 of his 73 career grabs (28.8%) going for 20+ yards. Butler goes 6'3, 213 pounds and clocked a 4.37-second 40 time at his Pro Day back in 2013. He joins a Cardinals team with only J.J. Nelson and Chad Williams behind Larry Fitzgerald on the WR depth chart. Butler has a real shot to finish 2nd among Arizona wideouts in targets this season.

On the same day they reached a deal with QB Sam Bradford, the Cardinals also reportedly agreed on a contract with QB Mike Glennon. The very short-term starter in Chicago will be released once the 2018 league year begins Wednesday afternoon and then move to the desert to back up Bradford. The latter, of course, isn't a good bet to make it through the season healthy. Arizona also remains a strong candidate to draft a QB early this spring.

NFL Network reports that the Cardinals are expected to sign QB Sam Bradford. The veteran will likely cost significantly less than Kirk Cousins or even Case Keenum, coming off a 2017 season marred by left knee trouble. Bradford, of course, has navigated a couple of ACL tears but flashed starter ability at times when healthy. Arizona's a solid landing place, with Larry Fitzgerald still around and RB David Johnson returning from injury. But we'll have to see how the rest of the offense materializes. Andre Ellington and Jermaine Gresham finished 2017 tied for 2nd among Cards in receptions with 33. Bradford looks like no more than a low QB2 right now -- if that. Arizona also still looks like a strong candidate to shop QBs early in the NFL draft.

Update: Bradford is signing a 1-year, $20 million deal with a 2019 team option for another $20 million, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald has informed HC Steve Wilks that he'll return for the 2018 season. The 34-year-old has remained productive, posting his 3rd straight 107+ catch campaign in 2017. He's finished as a top 9 PPR WR in all 3 of those seasons. The big question for his 2018 fantasy value will be who's chucking him the ball. Arizona doesn't currently have a single QB on the roster after Carson Palmer's retirement.

The Cardinals have hired Mike McCoy as their new OC, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. McCoy was fired by the Broncos this past November, struggling with a crappy QB situation. That followed a disappointing 4-year stint as Chargers HC, with McCoy compiling a 27-37 record. Three of those 4 squads ranked in the top half of the league in total offense, though, including 5th- and 9th-place finishes. McCoy has shown an ability to morph his offense to fit the personnel, most notably going extremely run-heavy with QB Tim Tebow in Denver back in 2011. We could see a similar attack this coming season. Arizona returns RB David Johnson but has a gaping hole at QB after Carson Palmer's retirement.

The Cardinals are set to hire Steve Wilks as their new HC, according to multiple reports. Wilks has been in the NFL since 2006, primarily as a DBs coach. He was promoted to Panthers DC last offseason after Sean McDermott left for Buffalo, leading his squad to a 7th-place finish in total defense. We'll see who Wilks brings aboard to run his offense.

Cardinals RB David Johnson's injured wrist is fully healed, he told the team's official website. He missed all but 1 half of the 2017 season with a dislocated wrist, but it won't impact his 2018. The injury essentially granted Johnson a year off -- not insignificant considering he was coming off a 373-touch season. Johnson is still smack dab in his prime at 26 and will remain the focal point of Arizona's offense. The concerns are a new coaching staff and QB heading into 2018.

 
 
 

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