The Cardinals lost out on Peter Sirmon. It's a tragedy. I know. They made an offer of the veteran minimum for a player of his NFL experience ($720,000) and he rejected it. And it hurts. I understand. It's like asking your cousin to the senior prom, only to have her say no, even though she weighs 300 pounds and has another baby on the way.
There is no prom queen coming to the rescue. There is no "best friend forever" that promised you you'd only be friends, no matter how hot she got over the years that is waiting in the wings to rescue you. A veteran free agent chose to mull over retirement rather than signing with the Cardinals. It's a grim reality that we all must face.
The question remains: Why?
Well, it doesn't have as much to do with what the contract offered (the veteran minimum is still pretty respectable for someone that was released from his former team and was still on the market), but what was not offered.
We have a reliable NFL source, and were sworn to secrecy not to name names that there was something missing from the contract. A certain level of economics. Something-doo economics. Something-teed contract. Something that was missing that took care of Sirmon and his family in the event that anything went wrong with Arizona.
And he walked.
And now he's considering retirement - playing for no team at all rather than play for the 2007 Arizona Cardinals.
And that sucks. Royally.
However, you cannot make a leopard change its spots and you cannot force a frugal ownership to change their ways. Everyone that signed a contract with Arizona understood this. Everyone that decided to put themselves through the annual torture and false promises of another season by becoming a Cardinals fans has learned to accept it.
And other agents and players are starting to take notice. According to the same source, veterans who could add the quality depth that head coach Ken Whisenhunt so desperately seeks are looking in other directions, choosing not to even enter into negotiations with the Bidwells and their penny wise, dollar foolish ways.
There is no hope for this off-season. There is no available free agent that will be a valuable addition to the roster. Veteran players are staying away from the desert and its warm, dry climate and its cold, dry owners.
But... I did mention a light at the end of the tunnel. A glimmer of hope. Something that might make the average Cardinals fan (assuming that there are any left) wake up in the morning. That hope is victory.
Essentially, all the Cardinals need to do to wipe the slate clean is to start winning some games. Win a division. Qualify for the playoffs. Not, for the love of God, end up with a top 10 pick in next year's draft.
Other winning organizations in the league have been lowballing veteran free agents for years. And they have signed those players. In many cases, the same guys that may have felt "insulted" by the offer presented to them have exalted while they hoisted the Lombardi Trophy over their heads.
Time doesn't heal all wounds, winning does. If the Cardinals do that, they can make all the cheap offers they want.