With the legal tampering period now officially underway and free agency set to begin at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, there is a lot of news and rumors floating around. One such report comes from Mike Jurecki of FOX Sports 910 in Phoenix (hat tip to Revenge of the Birds for pointing it out), as he says that the Arizona Cardinals are interested in Raiders center/guard Stefen Wisniewski and Colts center/guard A.Q. Shipley.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AZCardinals?src=hash">#AZCardinals</a> are looking to improve the interior on the offensive line a couple names on the radar Steve Wisnieski (C/G) & A.Q. Shipley (C).</p>— Mike Jurecki (@mikejurecki) <a href="https://twitter.com/mikejurecki/status/573873932693999617">March 6, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
The Raiders are not expected to bring Wisniewski back and the Colts are not going to tender Shipley, who is a restricted free agent. Wisniewski is expected to have a decent market of interest for his services, since he's just 25-years old and played solid football for Oakland last year. Shipley's market will likely be significantly smaller, but the 28-year old journeyman had a good 2014 season and actually was rated better by Pro Football Focus than Wisniewski.
Shipley started the first four games of the season last year for the Colts at center after being claimed off of waivers shortly before the team's week one game. The Colts were familiar with Shipley, as he played for the team in 2012 and was their best center under Bruce Arians - now the head coach of the Cardinals. Once Arians was gone and the offseason was underway, though, Ryan Grigson traded Shipley away to the Ravens. He struggled a bit in 2013 (mainly playing guard) before being waived after training camp last year. The Colts then picked him up and he started the first four games, playing well. When he was claimed, however, the Colts made it clear that he wasn't their long-term starter and so after week four the Colts benched him. He did make another start (at guard in week seventeen) and saw significant relief work at other points, but they never went back to him as their starter. As a restricted free agent it would have been easy to bring him back, but the Colts like Khaled Holmes and Jonotthan Harrison and therefore Shipley would have likely been the third center.
He's not a great player but he's certainly a solid one who gave the Colts good play in 2012 but especially in 2014. It would make sense for the Cardinals to be interested in him, as Bruce Arians had experience working with him with the Colts in 2012. He'd likely be brought in as a depth guy but would have a chance to compete in camp for a starting spot, and that's probably fair for him. I just hope that he ends up with at team that appreciates him more than the Colts' management seemed to.