Last offseason, the popular trend for a lot of teams, was to sign players to only a one year deal. It was a make it or break it season for many. The Cardinals were no exception with their hands already tied to a horrible cap situation, done by Rod Graves and Ken Whisenhunt from the previous regime. Now is Arizona's chance to re-sign several of these players.
We know who the soon-to-be free agents are.
Who will be back? Who will leave? Let's take a look.
Alameda Ta'amu will get an extension. He played the part of a top tier NT for much of the year, and even with his ACL tear, I think Arizona would love to keep him as he is used in their goalline jumbo set, and is an excellent 1-2 punch with Dan Williams.
Marcus Benard, showed glimpses of solid play, and will at least be retained into the preseason.
Bruce Arians is loyal to Rashard Mendenhall and Mendenhall to Arians, but I think due to his late season success, Mendenhall will find a home elsewhere come March, or at least a home that he won't have to contest with multiple backs next year.
The same goes with Karlos Dansby. Arizona loves him, he loves this version of Arizona, but there's something that Dansby loves more, and that's money. There is a team out there with more money than we can give Dansby that will give it to him, and we'll lose the Dirty Bird again.
Tight end Jeff King will likely not return. His tenure has been mired with injuries and inconsistent play.
Jim Dray will return, as Arians constantly calls him the most consistent TE on the team. Jake Ballard will also get a second look in Arizona, as he showed plenty of glimpses to deserve a shot to compete in Arizona.
Andre Roberts will pursue the money (a la Steve Breaston); however, this time, we have the replacement ready to go in Jaron Brown, plus a possible draftee or free agent.
Alfonso Smith will be retained, at least through training camp and the preseason and the same goes for Kory Sperry.
Antoine Cason is a valuable contributor to ST's, and he did play well following Mathieu's injury. He'll likely get another chance to battle Powers for the #2 CB spot, as well as a rookie, or free agent.
Another reason to retain Cason is that we do not know how long Mathieu will be out exactly. Draft a corner is logical as well, so it could go either way.
Bryan McCann was one of the odd men out of the secondary during the preseason, and was re-signed due to a season ending Achilles injury to Teddy Williams. He'll be retained, and will likely be the odd man out again next year, unless Williams is unable to return in time.
Shaun Church hit it right on the head a couple days ago regarding Jay Feely. Feely has had a good tenure in Arizona. From being the sole reason for defeating the Broncos during the forgettable 2010 season, to his antics on twitter, to several game winning kicks. However, after this season, his return is unlikely. Free Agency is marked with the likes of Adam Vinatieri and Phil Dawson coming available, Both reliable older kickers, and Bruce Arians has experience with both.
The Draft is also a position to target a kicker, particularly, Clemson kicker Chandler Catanzaro.
Bruce Arians claims he wants to keep the core unit intact. Can he do that with the salary cap situation, or will we follow suit to last years free agent period and go for short sweet deal? We have three months of speculation and creating our March wishlists.