I have been Cards fan for a little over a decade and decided to weigh in on what I hope the team does this offseason. I Plan to lay out over the course of 3 posts what I think the FO should do this offseason. Part 1 will be about who we currently have and should resign, part 2 on potential FA, and part 3 on the draft. So without further ado...
I am not a believer in signing players to huge contracts unless you drafted them and/or the are under the age of 28 (or a QB as the need for a good QB trumps all). This brings up the topic of Mr. Dansby. Let him go make another splash in free agency so he can get cut in a few years because he is overpaid (unless Dwash is suspended for a year, then we need Dansby). We are hamstrung by Fitz's contract and have too many other more important things to take care of with our limited cap space. All three of these players are solid players that we can resign without committing crazy money too. Last season we were handing out 1 year 'prove it' deals like crazy and these three proved it.
Shaughnessy is the most important. We are in a division with two teams that run smash mouth football. Matt is one of if not the best OLB against the run. That is what PFF ranked him 2 seasons ago and he proved that by helping our D be number one against the run this past year. He is 27 years old, will not command a huge contract as he is a subpar pass rusher (which is what gets you paid as an OLB) and should be signed to a 4 year, 6 million-ish contract.
Next on the list is Frosted Rucker. At this point he is basically the same player DD is, only he was not overpaid. He provides excellent depth for our D-line and I would really like to see him return. In fact I vote to give him a 3-4 year contract on the cheap. I think we could get him cheap because there was not a huge market for him last year, he is now in his dreaded thirties, and did not play outstanding this past year as to draw attention to himself. With him signed I think we should also consider dumping DD as he is not worth the 8 mil a year he is making.
Ta'amu is big, young and has a high ceiling. He should recieve as long as a deal as we can give him. He is only getting better and if he plays well will give us a bargaining chip when it comes time to re-sign big Dan Williams. Again, with his injury he missed a lot of playing time and think we could sign him long term at an extremely friendly cap number. Maybe it is just me, but when I look at him play, I can see him developing into a casey hampton like player. Worth the risk of a long deal.
Notice how all three of my top priorities are on the defensive front. Our front 7 played lights out this past year and I think these three players are key signing to seeing that continue into the future. Also, these are all value signing and I think we would get more than what we pay for.
I want them in Cardinals Red...kinda: King, Roberts, Arenas, Dray, Ballard, Winston, Feely
These are all players that I would like to see back, but if they go I am fine with that. To me King, Dray, and Ballard are basically the same player, blocking tight ends with little else to get you excited, and I think we should resign 1 or 2 of the those guys and I would take Dray and maybe Ballard. Winston was okay this year and I am okay with him being brought back, although I would like to see Massie get a chance at RT. Arenas and Cason are both okay, I like Arenas more because he adds another KR/PR, which we may need if Roberts walks. I think if we are to resign Roberts we should let him test FA first. I believe this will drive down his contract as there are a ton of FA WR's this year. Also, if he does sign elsewhere there are lots of options in FA to replace him. Feely is a great guy and solid kicker, but there are other options and that SF game looks different if he does not choke.
Bye-Bye to the rest of our FA's. The bottom of the roster needs to be churned to give other players a chance to show their worth. These guys had there chance and now we need to look elsewhere.
Coing soon Part 2: FA