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Cardinals taking a step back

By Mike Jenkins
Arizona Daily Wildcat
March 3, 1999
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Arizona Daily Wildcat

Mike Jenkins

The Arizona Cardinals seem to have everything going for them these days. They are coming off their first appearance in the postseason in 17 years and they have quarterback Jake Plummer locked up for a long time.

But the Cardinal offensive line is shaping up to be one of the worst in the league next year after Monday's signing of veteran offensive tackle Lomas Brown by the expansion Cleveland Browns. The Cardinals were supposedly bargaining with the most established part of their line. Brown wanted a two to three year deal with the Cardinals for $3 million a season. The Cardinals were offering Brown somewhere in the range of $2 million per year for two years.

So Brown took the Cleveland's offer of three years, $10.5 million and ran with it. Brown was getting old, but he was the only decent member of their offensive line.

Now the Cardinals are left with a group of untested, young offensive linemen who will have to do a tremendous job this year to get the team anywhere near the level they were at last year.

Hopefully owner Bill Bidwell will get his pocketbook out and shell out some cash to get some top talent either through free agency or in the draft. Maybe mix in another trade. The chance of this happening, with this team's history of success, is virtually nil.

The Cardinals just designated free agent wide receiver Rob Moore their franchise player. Wait a minute. Does anybody find something wrong with the last part of that sentence? The heart and soul of the Cardinal defense, Jamir Miller, is also a free agent. Miller came into his own this season. He led the defense in tackles while playing the whole season with a dislocated wrist. He provided the leadership that was missing when defensive tackle Eric Swann got hurt.

The Cardinal defense is on the threshold of being one of the best in the NFL with young players like defensive ends Andre Wadsworth and Simeon Rice and stellar veteran players like Swann and All-Pro cornerback Aeneas Williams. The Cardinals have promised to sign Miller as soon as possible, but according to Miller's agent, they haven't talked at all. The Cardinals seem more concerned about signing their other free agents rather than Miller, which could end up being a catastrophic decision that returns the Cardinals to the doldrums of the NFL. The last thing the Cardinals need is to kill the momentum built by this past season. Not re-signing Miller will do that.

Mike Jenkins is a sophomore majoring in journalism and a long-suffering Cardinals fan. He can be reached at