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The Arizona Cardinals' satisfaction from their stunning victory over the Packers in Green Bay has been tempered by news that rookie wide receiver Christian Kirk and starting left guard Mike Iupati are out for the season with injuries.Kirk Youth Aaron Rodgers Jersey , who was developing into a dynamic force on offense, has a broken foot. Iupati, who has battled injuries throughout his time with Arizona, has a knee injury."Christian, a great season," coach Steve Wilks said at his Monday news conference. "There's no setbacks for 2019. I'm real excited to get him back, did some great things. You can see from the game yesterday, really progressing and moving in the right direction."A second-round draft pick out of Texas A&M, Kirk is second to Larry Fitzgerald with 43 receptions and leads the team with 590 yards receiving. He caught three passes for 54 yards and had a 23-yard gain on a fly sweep before being injured in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 20-17 win. That 23-yard run was followed by a 37-yard reception, Josh Rosen's longest pass of the day, and led to Zane Gonzalez's 44-yard field goal that tied the game at 10.Kirk stayed in for a couple of plays after he was injured."It says a lot about his personality, his character," Wilks said. "He tried to fight through it. He went out there a couple of more plays and tried to endure but the pain was just too much for him."The Cardinals expect a lot from Kirk in future seasons."I've said it before, this guy's a pro's pro," Wilks said. "The way he prepares, the way he comes in each and every day is very exciting to see, so the future's very bright with him."Iupati started 10 games this season and missed two due to injury after taking a pay cut to return this year. His departure further mixes up an offensive line that was going with its eighth combination of starters this season in that game. Colby Gossett, signed off the Minnesota Vikings practice squad a month ago, filled in for Iupati.The injuries did not diminish the magnitude of the unexpected win. The Cardinals were in a dark place after consecutive losses to Oakland and the Los Angeles Chargers left them 2-9. Some were criticizing their effort, but they went into cold, snowy Lambeau Field and won there for the first time in nine tries. They hadn't won at Green Bay in 49 years, which was pre-Lambeau.Two-touchdown underdogs, Arizona's victory cost Packers coach Mike McCarthy his job. McCarthy was fired a couple of hours after the game ended.It was just the second loss for Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers in 18 games at Lambeau in the month of December. His last home loss in December was Dec. 7, 2008, video station. Houston."Growing up you see how dominant Green Bay is in December, especially at home," said Cardinals rookie running back Chase Edmonds, who rushed for both Arizona touchdowns in a breakout game Womens Jimmy Graham Jersey , "but you know coach Wilks talked about it all week, we're going up there to win a football game and nothing else."Arizona rushed for a season-high 182 yards, averaging 6.3 yards per attempt.Rodgers, meanwhile, had one of the worst home games of his career, completing 31 of 50 passes for 233 yards. His passer rating of 79.8 was 30 below his career home average. Green Bay's 17 points were its fewest at home since Dallas held the Packers to 16 two years ago. Aaron Jones managed just 36 yards on 11 carries. He entered the game averaging six yards per carry.It was that kind of day for the Packers. And all of it against an Arizona defense that surrendered 45 unanswered points in a 45-10 loss to the Chargers the previous week."I thought it started with our disguise," Wilks said. "I thought we did a great job of really just trying to show him different looks."There was no bigger play than Fitzgerald's sliding grab of Rosen's 32-yard throw to convert a third-and-23 late in the game. Fitzgerald just got his hand underneath the ball and cradled it from the turf."Phenomenal," Wilks said. "Typical of Larry. I don't think nine times out of 10 somebody else probably wouldn't make that catch."The Cardinals moved on to get the game-winning 44-yard field goal from Gonzalez, signed by the team just a week earlier.It was just the third win of the season for the Cardinals, who are home against Detroit on Sunday. The players had a rare Monday off because of the equally rare victory.AP NFL: LINK VISIBILE SOLO AGLI UTENTI REGISTRATI and LINK VISIBILE SOLO AGLI UTENTI REGISTRATI With the Eagles sitting on the biggest goldmine in the sport, a franchise quarterback on a rookie contract, GM Howie Roseman bet the farm twice. The first was the original bet on Carson Wentz, giving up multiple first-round picks to get the FCS prospect. But once Roseman realized Wentz had the goods, the plan was simple: aggressively spend to surround him with talent to maximize the window with Wentz still on that good-as-gold rookie deal.Without that tact and that cap flexibility, the Eagles couldnít afford to pay Nick Foles, wouldnít have taken a one-year flier on Alshon Jeffrey, and wouldnít have traded for Jay Ajayi. Phillyís cap hell starts already this offseason, as the team is set to become more than $16 million over the salary cap heading into the 2019 year.This methodology works. Just ask the Rams and Bears, who borrowed the formula to make massive improvements to their teams with quarterbacks on rookie deals, setting the course for successful 2018 seasons. The Rams could make it 2/2 for this methodology with Super Bowl titles and these lessons can be applied to the Packers in 2019 even if the circumstances arenít identical. One word of caution before advancing, however. The list of 7-9 teams is strewn with offseason winners, Dream Teams, and press conference champions. Winning the offseason doesnít guarantee winning anything in the regular season. The Bears arguably won last offseason and couldnít even bother to win a playoff game (**doink** **doink**). But the career trajectory of Aaron Rodgers compressed the teamís timeline much in the same way rookie contracts for Jared Goff, Mitch Trubisky, and Wentz do for their teams. Itís not that Green Bay has a financial window of opportunity ó they donít. Quite the opposite. Rodgers will likely only be Aaron Freaking Rodgers for a few more years, if that window hasnít already passed. That leaves the Packers wondering about whatís next, but also yearning to maximize the time it has with Rodgers still in his theoretical prime. This offseason, with its projected free agents and draft class Youth Antonio Morrison Jersey , sets up ideally for the Packers to push its chips into the middle for 2019 and 2020. There are quality guards worth pursuing, edge rushers worth signing and drafting, as well as impact back-end defenders worth adding. Ted Thompson and Russ Ball masterfully manipulated the cap so the team was always fresh with young talent and in a financially flexible position, but never took the opportunity to truly capitalize on either. At least not since the pre-Super Bowl days. Green Bay can not only maximize its own roster now, but can do it without crippling the future of this team in a late-stage Rodgers phase, or beyond. Based on the latest cap projections, the Packers will have around $40.5 million in available cap space assuming they do nothing with the players currently under contract. In terms of signing their own free agents, the priority for major-money allocation is Bashaud Breeland who, being another year older after an injury-plagued season, likely canít command the $8 million per year heíd originally received from the Panthers last offseason. Something closer to three years, $20 million could still make sense given his age and talent. A second-round tender for Geronimo Allison would be another $3.1 million and there arenít really any other important players to worry about allocating resource toward this offseason. That leaves Brian Gutekunst and Russ Ball around $30 million to go add pieces. If the team designates Nick Perry for a post-June 1 cut and Jimmy Graham is cut outright, they could save a little over $5 million immediately and nearly $11 million more as of June 2, giving the Packers quite the war chest to aggressively add players. Remember, the post-June 1 designation doesnít clear the cap space right away. It stays as a cap hold until June. But that $11 million should be enough to cover the teamís draft class, so they can spend close to their cap before that point.Starting with the biggest need, letís say the Packers can lure one of Roger Saffold, Mike Iupati, James Carpenter, Andy Levitre, Ramon Foster, Ben Garland or Quinton Spain to town to fill the right guard spot. If that seems like a lot of names, it is, which should not only give the Packers plenty of options, but also depress the value of the position overall. The more guards available, the less each individual can demand to be paid. The Packers can probably get someone in that $6 million range for 2019 who can come in right away and solidify that spot. None of those players likely would command the kind of major-money allocation weíve seen for guards in free agency lately, like that Andrew Norwell $13 million range. They can find a significant upgrade for $6 to $7 million and they should seek to make that addition. What about the ultra-soft safety market? Quality starters like Eric Reid, Kenny Vaccaro and Tre Boston struggled to find homes last offseason, having to settle for meager money and late contract offers. With Earl Thomas a near-lock to leave Seattle and Landon Collinsí future in New York unclear after suffering a season-ending shoulder injury Youth Jimmy Graham Jersey , the Packers could allocate significant financial resources to the position. Even if neither can likely command top-of-market safety money, the Packers would still likely have to spend $12 million to make the contract appealing. LeMarcus Joyner made $11.3 million on the franchise tag last season, making that the likely starting point for players of their caliber. Joyner too could be an option if the Rams canít find the room to pay him. Such a contract would only leave the Packers with a similar amount remaining, in that $12 million range. For an edge rusher in the modern market, thatís not a ton of money but itís certainly not nothing. Hereís where a player like Anthony Barr becomes particularly appealing. That $12 million number would be top-of-market off-ball linebacker money, but in Green Bay heíd be a pass rusher. His current teammate Danielle Hunter, just signed a deal for $14 million APY and Barr canít realistically insist heís more valuable than a younger, more proven pass rusher. That said, there will be myriad teams with massive amounts of cap space this spring, which will likely drive up prices for premium position players. Given the kind of pedigree Barr had as a pass rusher coming out of UCLA and his proven versatility off the ball, he should have a considerable market. This is where the cuts come into play. Even simply cutting Graham would give the Packers wiggle room to pay Barr, even overpay if necessary, while still keeping some room for emergency signings with injuries. Moving on from both him and Nick Perry, likely the prudent financial decision, would give them more than enough flexibility to make a huge splash in free agency, solidify need positions, and still not cap strap the team even if Perryís money isnít available until June.Though signing these big names would require longer-term deals, somewhere in the four-year range, the cap has been consistently climbing and the hit for some of the Packers current big deals will become smaller and smaller portions of the cap, easing the future burdens on cap flexibility. In either case, the players the Packers can sign this offseason, coupled with the serious draft capital they can spend, could give Green Bay the core it needs to compete for Super Bowl for the remainder of Rodgersí prime even if it means locking that core in now. To not waste having the best quarterback on the planet, thatís a swing worth taking. If it worked for Nick Foles, Jared Goff, and Mitch Trubisky, imagine how it could work with Aaron Rodgers.



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Thu Sep 19, 2019 12:01 am