Arizona Cardinals sign G Mike Iupati

The 49ers drafted Mike Iupati 17th overall in 2010 and many saw him as one of the top guard prospects of the decade. He hasn’t quite lived up those expectations, but he’s still been a very good guard, grading out in the top-14 at his position on Pro Football Focus in 4 of the 5 seasons he’s been in the league, with the exception coming in an injury plagued 2013, when he still graded out above average. Despite that injury plagued 2013 season, he’s missed just 4 games in 5 seasons, all coming in 2013. One concern is that, while he’s annually one of the top run blocking guards in the NFL, he has graded out below average as a pass protector in 3 of 5 seasons so, as talented as he is, he’s not that well-rounded and he does have a glaring weakness.

I like the fit in Arizona where he will stay at left guard and be a huge upgrade over Ted Larsen, who started 16 games for them at left guard last season and graded out as Pro Football Focus’ 68th ranked guard out of 78 eligible. However, the price seems high as he will make 40 million over 5 years with 22.5 million of that guaranteed. This deal makes him the 3rd highest paid guard in the NFL in terms of average salary, a lot for someone with his inconsistencies in pass protection. Given that Orlando Franklin, who I think is a better all-around player, got 36.5 million over 5 years from the Chargers with 20 million guaranteed, this isn’t a great value, but it’s not a bad deal either.

Grade: B-

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