Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians was asked at the NFL’s annual meetings Wednesday why they decided to let guard Paul Fanaika — a two-year starter who signed a three-year, $8.1 million deal with the Chiefs — walk in free agency.
“It’s just a matter of, probably, (us) having too much exposure to guys sometimes,” said Arians, who was essentially saying both sides needed a fresh start.
Fanaika, 28, stands 6 feet 5 and 327 pounds and started 30 of 32 regular-season games at right guard for the Cardinals. He will get an opportunity to do the same in Kansas City, even though rookie sixth-round pick Zach Fulton, who started 16 games last season for the Chiefs, returns.
Both players will be looking to improve on their performances from last season. Fulton’s Pro Football Focus grade of minus-14.6 ranked 64th out of 78th qualifying guards, while Fanaika’s grade of minus-20.9 ranked 71st.
“The one thing about Paul is he comes to work every single day and never makes mistakes,” Arians said.
But the Chiefs are Fanaika’s new team now, and Arians wishes him the best in new surroundings under Chiefs coach Andy Reid, who drafted Fanaika in the seventh round in 2009.
“He’s had some down games in some big games (for us),” Arians said, “but sometimes we’ll overlook (that) and say, ‘Wow, he’s going to make that much money? God bless you. Go ahead.’ But I think he’ll be a good fit in that offense.”