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The Cards are over $700,000 above the cap. How will newly hired general manager Steve Keim fix that?
Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim has only been on the job for one day and already he has plenty on his plate to take care of. He first has to hire a head coach. Then he needs to help make a decision on the quarterback position and whether or not to keep Kevin Kolb.
Once he gets that (and many other things I decided to omit) settled, he needs to start thinking about how he is going to fit all of the pieces together for next season. And he may be trying to do just that on a budget.
According to John Clayton of ESPN, the Cardinals currently find themselves $723,000 over the cap limit for 2013. That is not an absurd amount to try and deflate, but it will take some nifty cap moving and adjusting to fix. That just so happens to be Keim's specialty.
All of this could be settled, as Darren Urban stated in his recent blog, by figuring out the situation with Kolb. The team will likely approach him about restructuring his contract and it is widely believed he will agree to the terms. No team is going to pay him starter money if he decides to leave. Once that is settled, the Cards will find themselves under the cap once again.
Still, they will want to sign free agents and draft picks. If they want to do that, they will have to find a way to get even lower on the cap scale. Cutting Adrian Wilson, who has a $5 million cap hit for next season, might be first on their agenda. They could also decide to trade/cut Darnell Dockett ($7.7 million), restructure Larry Fitzgerald's contract, cut Stewart Bradley or extend safety Kerry Rhodes, as Urban suggests.
The most likely of situations would be to cut Wilson and extend Rhodes. Wilson is at the end of his run as a supreme safety in the NFL in most people's opinions. Rashad Johnson may finally be ready to be his successor. As for Rhodes, he played well this past season and is due for a pay raise. That could lower the cap hit he has on the team next season.
Depending on who is hired as coach, Dockett may become expendable as well. I have a feeling that if that coach is Ray Horton, Dockett might be as good as gone. His decision to go against the team in the Jets game was something Horton witnessed firsthand and does not want as part of his team.
The Cardinals could also cut a series of lower tier players to satisfy the cap rules. It will be interesting to see what they decide to do, but in the end, something needs to happen.