We took a look at the defensive free agents for the Arizona Cardinals last week and today we bring you the 2010 offensive free agents. The list is headlined by starting left tackle, Mike Gandy but is also includes some other important starters, as well as numerous guys who provide quality depth.
As we said last week, we should also mention that some of the younger guys will be effected by the status of the CBA next summer. One of the stipulations of the uncapped year will be a change in unrestricted status: currently players can be unrestricted free agents after their fouth season; next year players cannot achieve that unless they've accrued six years. For guys like Gabe Watson, Leonard Pope and Duece Lutui, that could be the difference between free agent freedom or another year under the control of the Cardinals. With that being said, lets take a look at the possible free agents on the offensive side of the ball for next summer......
- Mike Gandy: I think the Cardinals got much more out of Gandy than they ever expected when they signed him three years ago. He was primarily a guard who had some experience playing tackle but the Cardinals needed a left tackle. In the past two seasons he's stepped in and performed admirably, outside of the Super Bowl, while facing the best pass rushers that the league had to offer. Gandy will be 31 years old next summer and if Whiz learned anything from his days in Pittsburgh, we will probably be watching the last season of Gandy in a Cardinals uniform this fall.
- Brian St. Pierre: I imagine that St. Pierre signed a one year deal this off season with one thought in mind: second string QB or bust. He's been buried on a depth chart for his entire career and has never really put up a fight for a backup job but he's looking to change that during training camp. According to multiple reports, St. Pierre re-signed with the Cardinals under the stipulation that he'd be given an honest chance at winning the backup job from Matt Leinart. I'm sure his interest in returning to the Cardinals next summer will depend a great deal on how that battle turns out.
Sean Morey: Morey made one of the most memorable plays in Cardinals' history when he blocked a punt in overtime win a game over the hated Cowboys. That play and his stellar work throughout the rest of the season earned him his first Pro Bowl nod. Morey's the definition of a 'Whisenhunt guy' but his age (will turn 34 next February) and a solid group of young special team standouts, will likely keep the Cardinals from retaining him.
- Anthony Becht: Becht was signed this summer in an effort to find a tight end who could stay healthy and somewhat productive this season. He's huge tight end (6'5 280) who basically serves as a third offensive tackle, but if he can stay healthy he could establish himself as the team's best tight end. His age (soon to be 32), might ensure that his one year deal is the only year that he wears a Cardinals' uniform, but at this position you just never konw.
- Dan Kreider: Kreider's another former Steeler that Whiz brought in and he should serve as the traditional, bull-dozing full back this season. If he can stay healthy, he should be as productive as Terrelle Smith was last season, but he's probably a one year stop-gap considering that he'll turn 33 next March.
Jerheme Urban: Urban had a career year in 2008 and he should be in store for another similar season, if he can hold off Early Doucet for the fourth receiver's job. Urban will likely be looking for more money and a more playing time than the Cardinals are willing to offer, but his chances of re-signing could increase if Boldin is traded next off season. In all likelihood though, Urban will get much better offers on the open market.
Restricted Free Agents and/or Guys who will be Effected by the CBA:
- Deuce Lutui: Lutui should be entering his first year as an unrestricted free agent but unless something changes in the next 10 months, he'll fall into the 'restricted' class for another two seasons. He's been a 'hot-button' starter over the past couple of seasons and plenty of fans are still calling for his job and it's likely that he'll have to fight for the job during camp. Given that he's under the control of the team, he'll be back whether or not he's the starter in 2009.
Leonard Pope: Pope went through his season of 'restricted' free agency this off season but unless the CBA changes, he'll be restricted for one more season next summer. Pope's upcoming season is a completely unknown though as reasonable expectations range anywhere from winning the starting job to being cut. He'll likely have to prove that he can stay healthy and reasonably productive this season or the club could let him walk, regardless of his status.
Elton Brown: Brown is pretty much in the same boat as Pope considering that he went through his first year of unrestricted status this off season, but he'll most likely be a restricted free agent next off season. Given his versatility, starting experience and how cheap he'll be, I'd imagine the Cardinals tender him next summer.
Stephen Spach: We all know Spach's story by now and the good news for the Cardinals is that he'll likely be a restricted free agent next off season. Whether or not he ends up laying claim to the starting job, he should be back next season considering it won't take much to bring him back.
- Steve Breaston: Breaston might be in store for a new contract next off season but if the Cardinals don't feel like spending big money, they won't necessarily need to either. Breaston will be restricted, so he'll be cheap, but either way he'll be a Cardinal in 2010.
Ben Patrick: Patrick will be restricted whether the CBA get's extended or not and given his talent level, that's a good thing. Patrick's got starting potential and he'll likely be given the chance to prove it during training camp.
There are also handful of other youngster who will be either restricted or exclusive rights free agents, including Lyle Sendlein, Tim Castille, Elliot Vallejo, Ben Claxton, Tyler Palko, Donovan Raiola, Lance Long and Alex Shor among others, but the club won't have a problem retaining any of them, if they so choose. Overall Gandy looks like the biggest name on the list and it'll be interesting how his spot is filled if they choose to let him walk. Who would you keep and what are your predictions?