Offseason Blueprint: Cardinals
Arizona's projected lineup, cap situation, free-agent and draft targets
John Clayton, KC Joyner, Mel Kiper | ESPN Insider
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With the 2014 NFL scouting combine in the rearview mirror and free agency about to begin, Insider's experts have produced an Offseason Blueprint for all 32 NFL teams. Included are each team's front-office priorities, projected 2014 lineups, draft and free-agency targets, cap situation and much more.
This is the Offseason Blueprint for the Arizona Cardinals.
What management's to-do list should include this offseason.
1. While they were able to reduce the cap number for WR Larry Fitzgerald for 2014, they have only alleviated the burden for a year, as his number is going to spike from $8 million in '14, to $23.6 million in '15. They will have to pick and choose as to which of their unrestricted free agents they want to re-sign. They should not try to offer big deals to aging players such as Karlos Dansby, and likely will need to be conservative and hope to get the dreaded "hometown discount" on a player such as Rashard Mendenhall.
2. Decide on a long-term vision at QB. Carson Palmer will be a UFA in '15, and if he can't get them to the top of their division in '14, do they stick with him on a year-to-year basis from '15 on, or do they believe that Drew Stanton can be the guy (unlikely), or do they take a QB in '14 with an eye to the future? There's a good chance they take a developmental QB at some point in the draft.
3. Upgrade the offensive line. This offense was No. 27 in sacks per pass attempt in 2013, and needs an upgrade at LT and a return to health of '13 first-round pick Jonathan Cooper. Daryn Colledge is a likely cap casualty this offseason, and although it would be better financially if Bobby Massie could become their starting right tackle instead of re-signing UFA Eric Winston, I don't see him being a viable option as a starter, so look for them to draft help early along the offensive line, and be aggressive in free agency.
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