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Firing of cap guy suggests a split in Cardinals power structure

Rod Graves, Ken Whisenhunt AP

Fans are naturally more interested in players and coaches than front-office employees.

But in Arizona, the intrigue over the firing of a salary cap administrator creates questions about the direction of the franchise and its leadership.

On its face, getting rid of Justin Casey is a line of agate type, the kind of transaction no one notices. But inside Cardinal headquarters, it has apparently created a bit of a divide.

Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic reports the move was “deeply felt inside the team’s headquarters in Tempe,” and could hint at a split between General Manager Rod Graves and coach Ken Whisenhunt.

Somers said it would be “hard to find a Cardinals employee more well-liked by his co-workers” than Casey, and there was no previous sense he was bad at his job. But he was also close with Whisenhunt, as the two occasionally played golf together.

Was that the reason he was fired, as a power play by Graves?

“That’s ridiculous,” Graves told Somers, when asked about the speculation. “Ken and I have a wonderful working relationship, and we’re on the same page in respect to improving as an organization, improving as a team and working together.”

Casey himself declined comment to Somers, and Graves didn’t elaborate on why he was replaced. There were other moves made in the front office as well, so perhaps it was part of a larger organizational shift.

Casey was replaced by Sean Castle, a CPA with no NFL experience.

“Our focus is on being a championship organization and becoming a championship team,” Graves said. “Every year in that quest, I’m evaluating where we are, from a personnel standpoint, and assessing new talent out there.

“What I have been able to do in assessing candidates is really get a feel for the skill sets people have and realize what services they can provide us that we don’t have. And sometimes at the end of that evaluation, you come to the conclusion that you’re better off making changes.”

That’s all well and good, and there could easily be a reason for all this. But when moves like this are made without full explanation, the vacuum quickly fills with conspiracy theories. Whether there’s a Graves-Whisenhunt split or not, the impression does no good for the organization, and barring evidence to the contrary, folks will begin to believe it whether it’s true or not.

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11 Responses to “Firing of cap guy suggests a split in Cardinals power structure”
  1. sj39 says: Jul 30, 2012 9:55 AM

    Why would they even need a “cap guy”? They never spend up to it anyway.

  2. taintedlombardis says: Jul 30, 2012 9:58 AM

    He was probably doing too good of a job. Bidwell is about making money, so with the new salary floor, the Cardinals’ management will be instructed to “minimize” cap dollars.

    Going forward, I expect the Cards to sign players to “unfriendly” contracts with regards to the cap. That way then can claim they are putting money into the team; whereas, other teams scheme to maximize cap dollars and structure bonuses and such to sign as many good players as possible, the Cardinals goal is the exact opposite.

  3. coutre says: Jul 30, 2012 10:00 AM

    And you wonder why the Cardinals are mired in mediocrity?

  4. lawyermalloy says: Jul 30, 2012 10:04 AM

    What the will realize, real soon, is that a “Cap Guy” is more than just an accountant!

  5. tannethrill says: Jul 30, 2012 10:09 AM

    Sounds like the cheap Cardinals got the work out of the expert they needed for the year and shifted to a cost effective sit in that can run on auto pilot until next year when an expert will be needed again.

  6. tpa43 says: Jul 30, 2012 10:18 AM

    This isn’t rare. Bucs fire many people every year just so Glazers can save a dime.

  7. realfootballfan says: Jul 30, 2012 10:50 AM

    Don’t worry, after they get off to another bad start and finish near the basement again, it will be a confirmed chasm that will finally get Whisenhunt’s mediocre butt out of town.

  8. azfiremagoo says: Jul 30, 2012 12:41 PM

    They are not the same ole cards. Contrary to popular misconception they have spent money, retained their stars with lucrative contracts, been in the top 8 in the league in salary for 5 years and i can still get 2 lower level. 10Yd line fifth row season tickets for $1600 Total. We just dont have an elite QB and it doesn’t matter what you do without one of those!

  9. whoknowsnothing says: Jul 30, 2012 1:38 PM

    Graves is the next one to go! He has been holding the Cardinals back. His job was saved by Dennis Green and Ken Whizenhut. Green brought in a great draft system to the Cardinals and Ken took the Cardinals to the Super Bowl.

    Before that, Graves has just been messing up the organization with poor decision making. Graves needs to go!!!

  10. icardfan says: Jul 30, 2012 4:20 PM

    Consider this: Cards sign Kolb to a huge contract. A year later Payton Manning is available. He would have come to AZ for the right amount of money. Not having the cap room to sign Manning had to be blamed on somebody and guess what rolls downhill? In reality the whole front office failed by giving too much to an unproven commodity. While I appreciate that they were trying to win, you dont gamble at the QB position. You develop your own ala Brady or go get one ala Drew Brees/Payton Manning/Mike Vick. Think about it….Eagles had Kolb and traded him…. why? They had a proven commodity. They knew even with his risky background, he was better than Kolb. I saw every one of Kolb’s games at home last year and I watched carefully from good seats. He hasn’t won his team over, he doesnt have the intangibles of a Warner or even Jake Plummer – guys who I also saw in person who had those intangibles and got the very best out of everyone around them.

  11. lynx79 says: Jul 30, 2012 10:42 PM

    Rod Graves has never proven himself worthy of being a GM. Rod Graves an empty suit. Dennis Green (multiple controversies including sexual harassment with Vikings, poor record considering Vikings talent, son Jeremy busted for child porn 2010) and Rod Graves was one of the worst head coach/front office combos in league history.
    Rod Graves is as incompetent a GM as Mike Singletary was as a head coach. Completely over his head.
    Drafting WR Michael Floyd ahead of several more talented, more needed players another sign of Rod Graves’ foolishness. Timing of cap guy’s firing very strange, looks bad. Fire Rod Graves.

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