Across the NFL, training camps are opening this week and it allows players who’re on new teams a chance to begin a new chapter of their careers. One such player is Cardinals receiver Kevin White, who signed with the team this offseason for a one year, $1.5 million deal. The seventh overall pick in the 2015 Draft for the Chicago Bears has had a lackluster career but he looks to rejuvenate it with the Cardinals.
White’s failure to stand out in the NFL is due to his failure to stay healthy. White has suffered two fibula fractures and a shoulder fracture during his career. During the 14 games that he did play, White struggled on the field, catching 25 passes for 285 yards and no touchdowns.
The lack of production and injury concerns led the Bears to decline White’s fifth year option, making way for him to enter the open market this offseason. This allowed the Cardinals to sign White on a prove-it deal in free agency which benefits both sides. Cardinals get a low-risk, high reward player, and White is given another chance to prove his worth.
White has a lot to offer this season as he still has the potential and talent that got him picked seventh overall. In his final season at West Virginia, White caught 109 passes for 1,447 yards and 10 touchdowns. During his combine workout, White ran a 4.35 40-yard dash. At 6’3, 216 pounds, there are very few players out there who have that speed to go with that size. Though White hasn’t been able to breakout in the NFL just yet, he has the physical traits required to make the leap.
Coming from West Virginia, White is already accustomed to playing in a spread offense; something that new head coach Kliff Kingsbury is notorious for. White has even played against Kingsbury when the latter was coaching Texas Tech. Knowing how each other operates on the field had to be a major reason why White signed with the Cardinals. White can get the most out of his second shot in an Air Raid offense, and Kingsbury gets to add another high potential player to his offense.
The Cardinals have a lot to offer White, but perhaps one of the biggest reasons is its personnel. The Cardinals have Larry Fitzgerald, one of the greatest wide receivers of all time, on the roster. By signing with the Cardinals, White is able to learn what it takes to stay and thrive in the NFL from Fitzgerald. From his presence and knowledge of the game, Fitzgerald has so much he can help White learn to help better his game.
Fitzgerald isn’t the only player on the Cardinals that could make a notable difference in White’s game. The biggest addition to the team is 2018 Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray who was picked first overall to be the franchise quarterback. Though he hasn’t played an NFL game, Murray demonstrated that he is a talented player last year with Oklahoma and that could have motivated White to sign with the Cardinals. The two match up nicely with each other as White can serve as a deep threat that stretches the field for Murray’s cannon. White can also attack the middle of the field and keep up with Murray while he scrambles or he can be a red zone target because of his size.
White has struggled during his first four years in the NFL. He’s been bitten by the injury bug and hasn’t quite broken through yet. The Cardinals have given him a prove-it deal that’s beneficial to both sides. With the positive changes at coach and quarterback, along with working with Fitzgerald, this could be White’s breakout season.
Omar Soussi, Contributor