Now that the circus side show is over it's time for the front office to get down to work rebuilding the roster for the 2012 season. We're operating close to the cap. So, we can't expect the rush of free agent signings like we saw last year, and yet this team is not complete. We need to get a lot more pieces in place prior to the draft. We may need to restructure some contracts. Some cuts have been made. Some more should be considered. This post will break down who we have on the roster now, who we don't have (or in other words our own unsigned free agents) and look at what we need to do at each position. Except one. There will be enough discussion of the quarterback between now and the season that I'm not even going there.
Working from back to front, I'll start with the results of scouring the roster in regard to prioritizing team needs. Keep in mind that this is all fluid and will change as the team makes transactions. For me it goes like this;
- Offensive Tackle.
- Outside Linebacker
- Wide Receiver
- Offensive Guard
- Specialists - Kicker, Punter and Long Snapper
Those are what I would consider first tier needs. Second tier needs would be the following;
- Inside Linebacker
- Defensive Line
- Tight End
- Running Back / Full Back
The wheres and why fors:
Offensive Line - The current line up consists of;
- LT - Levi Brown - New 5 year deal takes him to 2016
- LG - Daryn Colledge - Signed through 2015
- C - Lyle Sendlein - Signed through 2015
- RG - Adam Snyder - Unrestricted Free Agent formerly with the 49ers signed through 2016
- RT - Jeremy Bridges - This cannot stand. Signed through 2013
- G/C - Rex Hadnot - Signed through 2012 only.
- OT - DJ Young - Signed from practice squad late last season. Signed through 2012 only.
My take is this. Bridges is not a starter. He's a versatile back up but going into his 10th year. Hadnot can play both guard and center which gives him value. He may still beat out Snyder for starter. There is no real depth behind them. I don't expect the Cardinals to value the free agents much. We need to sign another starting quality tackle prior to the draft. Going to draft day without one is like playing russian roulette. We've got four guys locked for the next 4-5 seasons. That could bode well. Would like to see them take a talented offensive lineman (or two) in the draft, but not have their hand forced.
Linebacker - The current line up consists of;
- OLB - Sam Acho - 2014
- ILB - Paris Lenon - 2012, Team Captain last season.
- ILB - Daryl Washington - 2013
- OLB - O'Brien Schofield - 2013
- LB - Stewart Bradley - 2015
- LB - Reggie Walker - untendered RFA
Also in the mix are Brandon Williams who was offered an exclusive rights tender, Quan Sturdinvant and Antonio Coleman, both signed to futures contracts.
We need a pass rusher. Even if you think Acho and Schofield are worthy of being the starters in 2012, look at the depth behind them. See it? No? That's because it's non-existant. I could see Clark Haggans being brought back on a one year deal. Bringing in Kamerion Wimbley would be even better. This should probably be our top priority in the draft.
On the inside Bradley has to step it up. Restructuring his deal is something Graves should get on. I doubt he will become a "cap casualty". Walker will probably be back. We could use him on special teams. Would not surprise me if Lenon plays his way into an extention. D. Wash is a monster.
Defensive Backs - The current line up consists of;
- SS - Adrian Wilson - 2013
- FS - Kerry Rhodes - 2013
- CB - Patrick Peterson - 2015
- CB - Greg Toler - RFA, original round tender.
- Nickel CB - AJ Jefferson - 2012
Just guessing at where Toler and Jefferson wind up. Could go either way. The rest of the group;
- S - Rashad Johnson - RFA, original round tender
- CB - Crezdon Butler - 2012
- CB - Marshay Green - 2012
- CB - Mike Adams - 2012
- CB - Korey Lindsey - signed a futures contract
Losing Marshall sucked. Let's start there. He's not irreplaceable though. Johnson didn't impress me enough last season, largely because he was taken out in favor of Marshall. It leaves lingering questions about his ability to be a starter. We've got seven corners, hence imo safety is the larger concern. More so than WR to me, partly due to numbers. Abdullah and Considine don't offer much besides special teams play that these young corners should be able to handle. Need to look at a safety in the draft.
Green I have lost faith in. Butler is intriguing. Adams will be back for another year of special teams contributions and fill in corner work. Don't know what to expect of Lindsey.
Wide Receiver - The current line up consists of;
- Larry Fitzgerald - 2018
- Andre Roberts - 2013
- Steven Williams - 2012
- Demarco Sampson - 2014
- Isaiah Williams - signed to a futures contract
- Jaymar Johnson - signed to a futures contract
- Early Doucet - UFA, I'm projecting his return. Could be way off there.
They cut Chansi Stuckey already. That was a good move. Hope Doucet wasn't just waiting around to see where Manning jumped. With the run on free agent receivers Doucet represents one of the best left standing. He is conveniently familiar with the system too, go fig. I've always liked Doucet. I hope he's back. That said, someone needs to step it up big time. Doucet had his moments last season. I didn't think as much of Roberts as many others seem to. He could come into his own in his third season though. They signed S. Williams to a 1 year deal. I like what he does. Just needs to be more consistant. He has the potential to be the deep outside threat we need. Still need to be looking closely at wide receivers in the draft. Not thrilled with the idea of a first round pick considering the investment in Fitz.
There is no current line up. Since they're all unrestricted they represent a priority. I would like to see Feely back. Zastudil at least needs competition. Leach is getting long in the tooth. Would not be surprised at a change there.
I'm going to cut it off there. Not going into the secondary tier of needs. This post would just get way too long. Maybe will get to part two at some point. Mainly I just wanted to kick start some conversation about the team that doesn't revolve around the quarterback. Please everyone, throw in your thoughts and opinions. What needs to be done in free agency? How should we position ourselves for the draft? How do we deal with our cap situation? Have at.