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Arizona Cardinals 'will have conversations' about Darnell Dockett's contract soon

Now with Larry Fitzgerald's deal done, the Cards can move down on the list of their priorities.

Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Cardinals got the deal done with star receiver Larry Fitzgerald, as he gets a new contract worth $22 million guaranteed over the next two seasons. But that isn't the only contract the Cardinals will be addressing this offseason.

Next up on the list of importance is the contract of defensive lineman Darnell Dockett. He is entering the final year of his contract and set to make nearly $7 million. The salary cap his of his contract for 2015 is almost $10 million. Considering his age and he is coming off of a season he missed with a torn ACL, that cap number has to go down if the Cardinals want to make any significant additions in free agency in a month.

General manager Steve Keim spoke to reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine on Wednesday and he was asked about Dockett.

He said the team "really missed" Dockett in 2014, as he is the "heart and soul" of the Arizona defense. he also reiterated what has already been said by head coach Bruce Arians -- the team would "love to have him back."

But it isn't as if he is a free agent. He is under contract for another season. When Keim says that, it means that they want him back, but not at the cap number he is at now.

"We'll have conversations with him moving forward," Keim said, also stating he didn't want "to get into specific players" and who the team would speak with.

Fitz still managed to get himself paid well, snagging $22 million in guaranteed money over two seasons. At the same time, the contract freed up nearly $13 million in salary cap space. It worked out for both parties.

With Dockett it will be different. The statistical production he could have had was replaced by Frostee Rucker and his sub-$1 million contract last season. They have depth in Ed Stinson and Josh Mauro. He isn't the face of the franchise.

Plus, Dockett painted himself into a bit of a corner last offseason with comments about how Karlos Dansby was "chasing the money" instead of "chasing a ring." While it is a little different with Dockett because he already has a contract, anyone hearing those comments would think Dockett should be willing to take less money so the team can be more competitive, especially a team that expects to play in the Super Bowl next season.

The fact that Keim said they will talk moving forward means this might not have the same ending as the Fitz contract did. There was good dialogue for a year with Fitzgerald. It would seem that has not been the case with Dockett so far.

Will Dockett be back with a lower salary or will the Cardinals cut ties?