The choice was made who was more valuable to the Arizona Cardinals when they resigned star wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and released pro bowl defensive lineman Darnell Dockett. Both players were the last of the 2004 Cardinals draft class, and both have made their respective names and loyalty in the desert.
With the team’s salary cap, one had to go, as it was not possible to keep both players and make the team better in the long term.
Head Coach Bruce Arians and GM Steve Keim have both made appearances on radio shows and live interviews and have clearly stated that their goal is to get younger and faster on the defensive side of the ball.
The writing was on the wall that the business side of the game would loom Dockett’s direction. Last year when fellow Cardinal Karlos Dansby was in the same situation negotiating with the team for a deal that would keep him in Arizona, Dockett was very vocal about his teammate’s loyalty after he turned down an offer and signed with the Cleveland Browns. Dockett took to the mic and said of Dansby “He chased the money,” Dockett said. “I got a lot of respect for our guy that left. I love him like a brother, but we was one or two pieces away from really making a lot of noise. But we’re going to regroup.” And now Dockett was faced with the same decision.
It’s only fair to say that the two player’s circumstances are very different. Dansby played his way to that big contract, while Dockett sat out the entire year with a knee injury and his value dropped as a result. Loyalty comes with sacrifice, but it doesn’t mean at the cost of one’s intelligence and integrity. The deal that the Cardinals may have made to Dockett and his people was no way at all close to the deal Dansby was offered and for him to be loyal it would have taking putting himself at risk for mere peanuts to prove himself all over again.
But what is loyalty have to do with anything anyway? In any business the money and the worth talks, and in the end production builds worth. The unknown of a return from an ACL injury yields risk, and risk will never get the big contract to stay on a team or going to a new one.
It is without question that Darnell Dockett has the make-up of one that could be one of the rare anomaly’s that could be a superman and return to form after a big injury, much like Adrian Peterson a few years ago. Dockett has made it clear after all of his latest twitter post that the grind on the way back has been embraced.
The Soon to be 35 year old Defensive Lineman has his work cut out for him, it will be a hard task to beat the age clock at the same time proving people wrong that he’s not done. Docketts best year in the league of course came in the year of the super bowl run in 2007-2008 season, where he recorded 58 total tackles and 9 sacks 2 forced fumbles and was an unstoppable force throughout that season. Those numbers cannot be duplicated at this age, but that determination has not changed as Dockett will land somewhere, he and the chip he will have on his shoulder.
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