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Cardinals’ Mid-Year Roster Evaluation (How It Projects To 2019)

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Minnesota Vikings Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

When taking a good, long look at the Cardinals’ current roster, one can get excited about the core players the team is building around and the young depth.

Heading into next season, even when one deducts the $8.7M in dead money versus the cap via the 2018 Bradford and Iupati contracts—-the Cardinals will have $48.4M in cap space.

The highest 2019 scheduled salaries are:

  • Chandler Jones—-$19.5M
  • Patrick Peterson—-$11.9
  • David Johnson—-$9.8
  • D.J. Humphries—-$9.6*
  • Jermaine Gresham—-$8.3 ($5.7 in dead money)
  • Justin Pugh—-$7.8
  • Antoine Bethea—-$5.4 ($2.2 dead money)
  • Andre Smith—-$5.3 ($1.29 dead money)
  • Corey Peters—-$4.4
  • Jamar Taylor—-$4.4 ($525K dead money)
  • Mike Glennon—-$4.0
  • Josh Rosen—-$4.0
  • Haason Reddick—-$3.7
  • Robert Nkemdiche—-$2.7
  • Josh Bynes—-$2.2
  • Andy Lee—-$2.0
  • Budda Baker—-$1.9
  • Christian Kirk—-$1.3
  • A.Q. Shipley—-$1.2
  • Aaron Brewer—-$1.1

These are all of the salaries over $1M. And here are the players on this salary chart whose salaries will likely draw the most scrutiny, especially depending on how the 2nd half of their 2018 seasons go.

  • Jermaine Gresham—-the $5.7M in dead cap money hurts, but the Cards could save $2.6M.
  • Antoine Bethea—-his leadership may warrant his scheduled salary.
  • Andre Smith—-only $1.29 in dead money, might be willing to agree to a smaller salary ro stick at $5.3 with strong second half.
  • Jamar Taylor—-only $525K in dead money, likely to be released.

2019 Priority Unrestricted Free Agents

  • Larry Fitzgerald
  • Markus Golden
  • Rodney Gunter
  • Tre’ Boston
  • Bene Benwikere
  • Benson Mayowa

I would love to see the Cards re-sign all of these players and I think there is a very good chance that the Cards will re-sign every one of them.

2019 Unrestricted Free Agents Likely To Sign Elsewhere or Retire:

  • Sam Bradford
  • Mike Iupati
  • Phil Dawson
  • Deone Bucannon
  • J.J. Nelson
  • Derrick Coleman

2019 Restricted Free Agents:

  • John Wetzel
  • Jeremy Cash
  • D.J. Foster

I would love to see the Cards sign John Wetzel to a long-term contract as the team’s starting RT. Cash has a chance of making the 2019 roster, if healthy. Foster too.

2019 Exclusive Rights Free Agents:

  • Olsen Pierre
  • Ricky Seals-Jones
  • Daniel Munyer
  • Joe Walker
  • Daniel Gossett

Pierre and Seals-Jones are slam dunks. Munyer should battle A.Q. Shipley for C2. Walker is a good STs player—-would like to see him play some snaps on defense this year. Gossett just arrived via the Vikings’ PS.

Free Agent/Draft Priorities:

  1. LB
  2. G
  3. WR
  4. CB
  5. TE
  6. S

Projected 2019 Roster:

QB (3): Rosen, Glennon, Kanoff

RB (4): Johnson, Edmonds, Logan, TBA

WR (5): Fitzgerald*, Kirk, Williams, Sherfield, TBA

TE (3): Seals-Jones, Gresham, TBA/Vollert

OL (10): Humphries, TBA, Cole, Pugh, Wetzel, Cunningham, Shipley/Munyer, TBA/Gossett, TBA/Smith

DL (8): Golden*, Nkemdiche, Peters, Jones, Mayowa*, Gunter*, Pierre, Dora

LB (6): Bynes, Reddick, Gardeck, Turner, TBA/Walker, TBA

CB (4): Peterson, Benwikere*, TBA/Nichols, TBA

S (5): Baker, Bethea, Boston*, Howard/Ford, TBA

ST (3): Brewer, Lee, TBA

This is a solid foundation—-imagine what 3-4 good additional UFAs and a very good draft will mean to the 2019 roster.

What are your thoughts?