As we have been moving along the offseason, we know about the many questions the Arizona Cardinals have this offseason. There is the question of Larry Fitzgerald, Darnell Dockett and Daryl Washington.
Right here on this fine site, we have looked at each position group on the offensive side of the ball, looked back and looked ahead at what could be in store.
Today, though, let's look at some of the contracts the Arizona Cardinals could shed to save salary space, and then whether making a move to shed salary with these players makes sense. Arizona will not have much salary cap room without making some moves. Here are 9 contracts that bring could bring significant cap savings.
They will be listed as player/2015 salary cap number/cap savings if cut.
1. Larry Fitzgerald/$23.6 million/$9.2 million
Fitz' deal is the biggest question. There is no question as to his value on the team. They simply are not as good a team without him. But his cap number can't stay this way. I can't see the team cutting him, so something will have to happen. However, without looking at Fitz the man, when you look at a production standpoint, releasing him does make sense.
2. Darnell Dockett/$9.8 million/$6.8 million
Dockett is another player like Fitz. While Fitz is the face of the team, Dockett is the soul. However, at age 33 and coming off a torn ACL, plus knowing the production the team got from players at his position while he was out in 2014, it should be an easy move from a money standpoint. It won't be fun, though, because of what he has meant to the team all this time, for the dedication he showed by being on the sideline with his teammates most of the season and the work he is putting into his rehabilitation.
3. Jerraud Powers/$5.35 million/$4.35 million
Power's contract is a tricky one. With Antonio Cromartie a free agent, Powers is still valuable. He was a starter in 2013 and was fantastic as a slot corner in 2014. However, with the team feeling that Tyrann Mathieu will be the best player he can be playing as a nickel corner, Powers likely won't be cut right at the start. If Cromartie leaves, Powers will still be valuable as a starter. He would return to the starting spot where he played in 2013 and Mathieu would play in the slot.
There is also the question as to whether Justin Bethel can take the next step and become a starter.
My guess is Powers returns, as I see it likely that Cromartie heads elsewhere.
4. Lyle Sendlein/$4.275 million/$3.15 million
The longtime starter at center and offensive captain enters the final year of his contract. Do they bring him back at that number? His production wasn't great. Should the team get younger? They have Ted Larsen and Anthony Steen who can step in. Between Lyle, Dock and Fitz, I think the most likely to become a salary cap casualty is Lyle.
5. Ted Ginn/$4 million/$2.5 million
This is an easy choice. He wasn't much in the return game or in the passing game. That is exactly what he was brought in to do -- improve both those areas. I can't see a scenario in which he is back in 2015.
6. Drew Stanton/$3.87 million/$3.2 million
From a financial and cap space perspective, unloading Stanton is easy -- his contract doesn't carry much dead money. But he is Bruce Arians' guy -- the QB he trusts completely to step in and perform. When you have Carson Palmer and his age and history of injuries, you need a capable backup. My guess is Logan Thomas won't quite be there. What will be interesting is if the Cardinals draft a QB. They seem to like Thomas' upside. They love Stanton. But which would be let go if another QB were to make the roster?
I don't see Stanton getting cut. He is too valuable to the team as a capable backup.
7. Lorenzo Alexander/$2 million/$1.55 million
He was a special teams captain. He is versatile and productive. But he is 31 and a part time player. He had knee troubles to end the season. I think he is likely to return, but I could be surprised.
8. Rashad Johnson/$2.13 million/$1.8 million
The Cardinals have some young talent at safety in Mathieu, Deone Bucannon and Tony Jefferson. That makes Johnson expendable, right? The issue is that he was one of the team's most important defenders in 2014, despite the criticism he got for his tackling late in the season. He is the leader of the defensive backs. He was productive. His contract isn't burdensome.
I don't see his getting cut, but if they feel the trio of Mathieu/Bucannon and Jefferson are ready to shoulder the load, it wouldn't be out of the question.
9. John Carlson/$1.65 million/$1.6 million
Lauded as perhaps the best offseason addition to the offense by Carson Palmer, Carlson struggled as a blocker, as a pass catcher and lost significant playing time to Darren Fells. With the development of Fells and with Troy Niklas expected to be good, Carlson is expendable, especially if he is going to be the third or fourth tight end used. His leadership was valuable to the tight end room in 2014, but that can be replaced.
Of the players listed, who needs to go? Will any be cap casualties? Who are the ones most likely not to be wearing a Cardinals uniform in 2015?