Key Day 1 Signings: Edgerrin James (Cardinals), Antwaan Randle El (Redskins), Will Witherspoon (Rams), Marquand Manuel (Packers), Chester Taylor (Vikings), Bart Scott (Ravens).
Since the St. Louis Cardinals up and left town after the 1987, the Bidwell family's team has consistently sucked. Since the move to Arizona nearly three decades ago, the Cardinals have had a total of five winning seasons, and one Cinderella-esque run to the Super Bowl (which they lost, of course). The 2014 Cardinals actually set the franchise record for wins since moving to Arizona. It took 27 seasons for your Cardinals of Arizona to reach 11 regular season wins.
The 2006 Arizona Cardinals fancied themselves as a winning team. The year before, they had gone 5-11, but had lost six games by a touchdown or less. Zombie Kurt Warner rose up to lead the league in passing yards while receiving duo Larry Fitzgerald, and Anquan Boldin made the Cardinals a high-flying, exciting team. They were a lot of fun in Madden, but they had their flaws. The Cardinals couldn't run the ball for shit, finishing with the 5th lowest team rushing mark in a 16-game season.
Buoyed by head coach Dennis Green's third season in charge, the team just needed a new featured running back to ascend, right? That made Edgerrin James an easy pick-up. The Cardinals shelled out $40 million over four years for James as soon as the market opened, and were ready to roll. They also drafted Matt Leinart 10th overall to give Kurt Warner a proper understudy, similar to what the Giants attempted a few years prior with Warner and Eli Manning. Everything was great! James, a top back coming over from Peyton Manning's Colts, brightened spirits in Arizona. Warner said that, “He gives us instant credibility.” After James installed a TV and iPod speaker in the locker room, Boldin remarked, “Guys are more upbeat, as opposed to just coming to work and getting the job done.” The job failed though. The 2006 Cardinals finished 8-8, Green was fired, and James' old team won Super Bowl XLI. James never rushed for more than 4 yards per carry with the Cardinals, but did achieve two thousand yard seasons as a workhorse struggle back. In James' final season in Arizona, the Cardinals reached the Super Bowl, but they never got the running back they paid for.
Elsewhere on Day 1, safety Marquand Manuel (5-years/$10 million) and wide receiver Antwaan Randle El (7-years/$31 million) signed deals that their teams regretted soon thereafter. Manuel was quickly demoted in Green Bay, and Randle El scored more guaranteed millions ($11.5 million) from Dan Snyder than touchdowns (eight total) over his four years in Washington. Fellow Day 1 signees Will Witherspoon (6-years/$33 million), Bart Scott (3-years/$13.5 million), and running back Chester Taylor (4-years/$14.1 million) all worked out on deals that proved to be low cost, high value for their respective teams.