A Look Ahead the the 2009 Offseason for the Arizona Cardinals

Since the Arizona Cardinals have several players who want new deals, I thought it would be a good idea to look ahead to the 2009 offseason to see just how much work the front office will have in front of them.

Kurt Warner - As we've already mentioned, the team is already working on an extension. It's reportedly to be a two year extension, which isn't too bad as long as the cap number isn't too exorbitant.

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JJ Arrington -
He's never lived up to his second round draft status and with the emergence of Steve Breaston on kickoff returns, his role was reduced in 2007. As a running back he's pedestrian at best with less than 1,000 combined yards in three seasons and a career yards per carry of 3.1. Arrington's is still young, but he's not anything more than a situational role player who can contribute on special teams.

Tim Castille - If he does end up beating out Terrelle Smith for the starting fullback job, he'll likely get an extension sometime during the season. Since he's was undrafted out of Alabama, he'll be cheap and he's a restricted free agent anyways.

Terrelle Smith - Smith's day in Arizona are likely numbered. Teams rarely carry two fullbacks and Castille seems to have a leg up in the early competition. If Smith does make it through camp without being cut, it will certainly be his final season in the desert.

Ahmad Merritt - Merritt signed a one year deal since he was restricted free agent heading into this offseason. He turned 31 earlier this year and hasn't had a reception in the NFL since 2003, but Merritt has stuck around because he's a decent special teams player. I can't imagine they'd resign him again after this season. At some point a 32 year old special teams player seems like a waste.

Ben Patrick -The seventh round pick just one season ago ended up starting several games at the end of the year and he'll only be a restricted free agent. He'll be back in 2009, even it's only on a one year deal.

Leonard Pope - The incumbent starter at tight end, will be a restricted free agent if he isn't extended before the end of the season. Pope still has some areas of his game that need improvement, most importantly blocking, but the Cardinals finally utilized his size in the red zone in 2007 and this season should see an expansion of his role in the passing game.

Elton Brown - He's been an admirable backup (14 starts in 3 season) since being a 4th round pick out of Virginia. Whether or not he returns depends on several things: do the Cardinals view him as a future starter and is Brown willing to wait until a spot opens up?

Lyle Sendlein - The previously undrafted free agent will be an exclusive rights free agent after 2008, so he'll be back in 2009. The backup center made two starts in 2007.

Bertrand Berry - Berry restructured his contract in order to give the Cardinals some cap relief and lessen the chance of being cut. The 32 year old is trying to play his first full season since 2003 when he had 14.5 sacks. At his age it'll be interesting to see if there's a market for his services after this season.

Antonio Smith - Smith should be a big name in the free agent market after this season. He had his best season as a pro in 2007 totaling over 40 tackles and 5.5 sacks in his first season as a starter. I can't imagine that he's in the Cardinals future plans considering that they drafted Campbell in the second and another DE in the fourth round.

Clark Haggans - The former Steeler signed a one year contract this offseason but he'll be 32 after this season. He should provide some veteran depth but I wouldn't think that they'd be very interested in bringing him back next season.

Monty Beisel -  Beisel's a decent backup linebacker who's performed well in spot starts but his age may be the biggest factor in him not being brought back after this season. He'll be 31 before the start of the 2009 season.

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Karlos Dansby -
The man playing for big money this season is Dansby. He was franchised this offseason and as much as the Cardinals have tried to work out a long term deal, he seems content with testing the market. He's in his prime and I'd expect nothing less than his best season as a pro in the expectations of breaking the bank.

Eric Green -  This is quite possibly a make or break season for the fourth year pro. Green struggled in his first season as a starter and if he's beaten out early in the season by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie it'll be interesting to see if how the rest of the NFL sees him. I'm still wondering if he'd be a decent nickel back, but I'm not sure he'd accept a backup role.

Obviously it looks like the biggest question marks next offseason will be on the defensive side of the ball. Is there any way that Dansby can be signed to a long term deal? Will Campbell be ready to step in at defensive end position or will the Cards have to franchise Smith? Replacing Dansby, if a deal can't be worked out, could be the biggest problem facing the next season, but there are some concerns about depth at running back and outside linebacker. So what concerns you the most about next offseason and who would you most like to see resigned?

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