Rosevelt Colvin may be the free agent the Arizona Cardinals covet the most, but the pass-rushing linebacker left town Wednesday without a contract offer.
“The free-agency period is going to be a long period of time,” said Rod Graves, Cardinals vice president of football operations. “I think if you present yourself with a plan for that player and it is a appealing to them, the agents will work with you. For the most part those arm-twisting techniques only drive the cost up for the player.”
Colvin, who had 21 sacks the past two seasons with Chicago, had already visited Detroit and the New York Giants and is planning other visits. He is expected to receive serious consideration from multiple teams and will likely command a signing bonus between $7 million and $10 million.
It may not have made a difference had the Cards tried to sign Colvin, since Colvin said he wanted to make all his visits and then sit back to consider his final destination.
A plus for the Cardinals is that Colvin said the Cards’ losing ways doesn’t bother him.
“I look at it like I am an independent contractor with one common goal with all the other independent contractors on the team trying to win the Super Bowl,” Colvin said. “There are a lot of teams that have lost the last couple of seasons. But the Patriots made it to the Super Bowl and won it, Tampa Bay went through years and years of losing. That’s not really my concern.”
LOOKING AT DEFENSE
The Cards also hosted defensive end Chiki Okeafor and safety Dexter Jackson Wednesday. Okeafor played left end in San Francisco but said he is a natural right end that could fit the Cards’ needs for a pass rusher after posting six sacks this season.
“The main thing (I’m looking for) is basically respect,” Okeafor said. “It’s something I haven’t received as a player and it has been warranted. Respect will be shown by how interested these teams are.”
Okeafor has also visited Detroit and is headed to Kansas City and Jacksonville.
Jackson, named Super Bowl MVP with Tampa Bay, is clearly looking for a big payday with his first child on the way. He disputed those who say his success was based on the surrounding defensive talent on the Buccaneers. He also said his presence could help the Cards turn around their losing ways.
“That’s how Tampa Bay was built,” Jackson said, “going out and finding players that knew how to win.”
Graves said he wasn’t sure if a bidding war would develop between the Cards and the Bears over Kordell Stewart. Graves admitted the offer was spurred by Stewart’s visit to Chicago Wednesday. . . . Graves said the defection of Boston may lead the Cardinals to spend their top draft pick on a receiver. The team still hopes to bring back free-agent MarTay Jenkins. . . .
The Cardinals announced the signing of defensive tackle Barron Tanner to a three-year contract and center Steve Grace to a one-year deal.