For the third consecutive season now, we have seen Arizona Cardinals General Manager Steve Keim make moves as camp approaches by signing veteran players to the roster before camp to one year deals.
It has worked with cases like Karlos Dansby in 2013 and Antonio Cromartie in 2014 who both played big roles for the Cardinals and ultimately landed more long-term deals with as a result. In these cases, with other teams. Of course it also hasn’t worked at times with players like running back Michael Bush and linebacker Ernie Sims but it has been proven for Keim and the Cardinals to be a risk worth taking.
On friday afternoon, a week before the start of training camp 2015, the Cardinals made another move trying to catch lightning in a bottle with a “prove-it” contract with veteran tight end Jermaine Gresham.
The former first round pick out of Oklahoma spent five years with the Cincinnati Bengals playing in 74 games, tallying 280 receptions for 2,722 yards and 24 touchdowns and making two Pro Bowls. Gresham, along with San Diego’s Antonio Gates and Carolina’s Greg Olsen are the only tight ends in the league with at least 40 receptions, 400 receiving yards and four touchdowns in each of the last five seasons.
A big reason for why Gresham was night signed until this late in the offseason is because he had to have back surgery on a herniated disk this past March. The Cardinals also had the same course of action as they signed linebacker Sean Weatherspoon to a one year deal going into this season who is also coming off a season filled with injuries.
After the sudden retirement of John Carlson after last season, former second round pick in 2014 Troy Niklas was slated to be the teams number one tight end and was coming into camp with very littler experience. The experience now goes at the position not gets as strong as it’s maybe ever been for the Cardinals organization who have never really had a standout performer at the tight end spot.
There were reports that Gresham also visited with the New Orleans Saints, but in the end, it is the Cardinals that provided Gresham of the best combination of positional need and win now mentality to looks to have brought down the agreement.
Gresham will wear a Cardinals Helmet for the first time on July 31st as the team begins camp in Glendale.