With the start of free agency on Thursday serving as one of the busiest days of the NFL offseason, there's plenty of opportunities for important transactions to fly under the radar.
That just might be the case with the Cardinals' latest move, as the team re-signed starting center A.Q. Shipley to a two-year extension that keeps him in Arizona through the 2018 season.
With defensive lineman Calais Campbell and free safety Tony Jefferson on their way out, the Cardinals made headlines around the league Thursday when they announced they had agreed to a three-year contract with safety Antoine Bethea.
However, while the Cardinals were making arrangements to hold a press conference to announce Bethea's decision to sign with the franchise, the team also managed to lock up Shipley in a low-profile arrangement that could pay serious dividends for Arizona in the coming seasons.
Shipley is preparing to enter his sixth season in the NFL after spending the first three years bouncing back-and-forth between the Indianapolis Colts and Baltimore Ravens. The Cardinals acquired Shipley prior to the 2015 season, but he didn't crack the starting lineup until 2016, when he became the only Cardinals' offensive lineman to start every game.
Though he entered the season with just 22 career starts over his first four NFL seasons, Shipley was a model of consistency for Arizona in a season in which the Cardinals sustained a variety injuries up front and started over half of a dozen combinations along the offensive line.
The decision to re-sign Shipley means that four of Arizona's five starting linemen will be back from a season ago, as the team will only need to replace retired right guard Evan Mathis.
Now that Shipley is back, one option the Cardinals may pursue is shifting backup center and 2016 fourth round draft pick Evan Boehm to right guard this offseason to compete for a chance to take over Mathis' starting role. The Cardinals initially drafted Boehm with the hope that he would become the center of the future for the franchise, but head coach Bruce Arians and offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin were pleased with the way Shipley performed in 2016 and wanted him back to anchor the middle of Arizona's offensive line next season.
Terms of Shipley's two-year contract have not yet been disclosed.