After starting every game over the course of four seasons — save for 2011 — at a mostly high level for the Oakland Raiders, Matt Shaughnessy walked in free agency as an above-average lineman on the market. The fifth-year defensive end gave Oakland a good value with a third-round pick, but now becomes the Arizona Cardinals‘ free-agent value after 100 tackles and 15.5 sacks in 51 games.
One team’s salary cap debacle is another team’s treasure, as the Cardinals swooped in to grab the 26-year-old on a 2013 cap hit of just $1 million.
“He had interest elsewhere (including Tennessee and Philly, where he had trips scheduled), for deals longer than a year and for more money,” wrote Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio. “Shaughnessy opted instead to roll the dice on a one-year opportunity to improve his value come 2014. The Raiders, we’re told, never even called Shaughnessy.”
The Raiders’ disinterest is not too shocking, given the salary cap Oakland resides in this offseason. While Shaughnessy was not an expensive signing for Arizona, he wasn’t dirt cheap either and every penny counts for black and silver right now.
Shaughnessy is a very gifted run stuffer and the Cards hope Shaughnessy regains his 2010 form from before the injury-shortened 2011 campaign. He would rank 55th among qualified 4-3 defensive ends in Pro Football Focus grading last season, but has shown the ability to play extremely well as evidenced by his No. 17 ranking in 2010. If Shaughnessy can give Darnell Dockett a run for his money or even light a fire under Dockett after that horrific 2012 campaign, then Shaughnessy already constitutes a worthwhile addition for the team. I wouldn’t even rule out Shaughnessy taking snaps away from Dockett as the 3-4 end across from Calais Campbell in training camp.