TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Arizona Cardinals made sure at least four of the five starters on their offensive line will be in the lineup next season by re-signing center A.Q. Shipley to a two-year deal. Shipley was rewarded after his first season as a 16-game starter. He was consistent and productive, giving up only two sacks, eight hits and 12 hurries in 748 pass-blocking snaps.
Terms: Two years
ESPN 150 ranking: 85
Grade A: If the Cardinals want to make one more run at a Super Bowl while both Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald are playing, Shipley will be a key component because of the consistency he brings to the offensive line. His relationship with Palmer will also be important next season, and his presence will help the Cardinals to transition to Palmer's successor.
What it means: With Shipley back, the Cardinals can hit the ground running in training camp from an offensive standpoint. They won't have to teach another center the blocking scheme so he can direct the protections and can quickly start to continue to build on an offense that will again be built around David Johnson. Shipley's return will also give Palmer a sense of comfort behind center. It's always difficult to assess how long it'll take a quarterback and center to jell, but Palmer and Shipley have built a formidable bond on and off the field.
What's the risk? Shipley is a proven veteran who has overcome his size limitations to earn a multiyear deal. But the only risk with Shipley is that of an injury, and who Arizona replaces him with in the lineup. He was durable last season, not missing a game. But if he should go down, the logical backup is Evan Boehm, who could be competing for a spot at right guard while also assuming the backup center role.