Levi Brown was traded Wednesday to the Pittsburgh Steelers for a conditional late-round draft pick.
Cardinal fans aren't sorry to see Brown go. After all, he'd been made the face for the league's worst offensive line three years running.
But as Levi heads out of town, I present to you seven things that should be considered before you give the man's Cardinal eulogy.
1. Levi Brown was not a bust
Was he ever great? No. Was he ever good? Maybe not. But some of you have apparently forgotten what a bust looks like. Allow me to remind you. This is a bust...
And this is a bust...
I could go on. Akili Smith, Aundray Bruce, Dan Wilkinson, Rolando McClain, Vernon Gholston, Aaron Curry, JaMarcus Russell, Heath Shuler, Matt Leinart...
Levi Brown failed to live up to expectations as the fifth overall pick of the 2007 NFL Draft, but a guy with 79 career starts at left and right tackle is not a bust.
Hell, he's not even the worst offensive tackle named Levi to be drafted with a top-ten pick in the last 12 years.
2. How on earth did the Cardinals find a willing trade partner?
Some fans are wondering why GM Steve Keim would trade Brown if all he was getting in return was a conditional late-round pick. What you should be asking is: How did Keim get anything at all for a left tackle making $8 millon this season that has required running back assistance on nearly every pass rush and has been described by one prominent NFL analyst as "unfixable"?
3. Why would the Steelers do it?
Because as bad as Levi Brown has been at left tackle for the Cardinals this season, the Steelers' Mike Adams has been worse (18 QB pressures to 23). Because as bad as the 0-4 Steelers have been, they're only two games out of first place with 12 games to play. Because as bad as Levi Brown's contract sounds at five years, $30 million, it's really just a one-year, $8 million deal with an $850,000 buyout after this season.
4. Who is Bradley Sowell?
For starters, he's your new left tackle, Cardinal fans. He likes pancakes, long walks in the park, and has a black lab named "Rebel" (I just made all of that up). Sowell is 6-foot-7, 320 pounds. He played college ball at Ole Miss, signed with Tampa Bay as an undrafted free agent last season, was waived and picked up by the Colts, where he made his NFL debut last season. The Colts cut him after 2012 and the Cardinals signed him off waivers.
Now, that the first string left tackle is gone, Sowell gets the promotion.
I know what you're thinking. Sounds fool-proof, doesn't he?
5. What happened to Nate Potter and Bobby Massie?
Wasn't everyone excited about Bobby Massie after he developed from the worst right tackle in the game during the first half of 2012 into a more than serviceable starter in the second half? Apparently, Bruce Arians wasn't nearly as impressed as the media or the fan base. If Massie didn't know it prior to Wednesday, he certainly knows now he is Eric Winston's back up at right tackle with only a chance of benig the future starter. And as for Nate Potter, he's clearly been shifted inside.
6. Is it wrong to peek ahead?
It seems wrong to be looking ahead to the 2014 draft. After all, the Cardinals are 2-2. But I'm sensing that there's little faith in Bradley Sowell being the future left tackle in Arizona. And since left tackle is one of the six key positions to building a champion, it feels natural to see what the 2014 draft class has to offer.
Good news. According to numerous draft projections, 2014 is loaded at left tackle. Texas A&M's Jake Matthews is a top-five talent. Alabama's Cyrus Kouandjio is top-ten. And Michigan's Taylor Lewan is top-15.
7. The sins of the father
I believe the most exciting aspect of the 2013 Arizona Cardinals is that their new GM Steve Keim seems to get it. Keim stood on the table and pleaded for the team to draft Adrian Peterson in 2007, and Rod Graves went with Levi Brown. In 2012, I'm certain Keim understood that Brown wouldn't be the team's future at left tackle, but the restructuring of his contract proved necessary to avoid a $17 million cap hit. And Keim realized long before Tuesday's trade that his left tackle situation was feeble, and he would trade Brown if given the chance.