After a nice start to the season the Arizona Cardinals quickly fell apart and out of the playoff race. It’s a team with a terrific defense that was completely wasted by the failures at the QB position. If there was one team last season that would gone from being a bottom 10 team to a Super Bowl contender just by having a passable QB it was the Cardinals.
Right now I have the Cardinals around $2.5 million over the 2013 NFL Salary Cap, but I have not accrued any dead money from last season for Arizona yet so their situation may be a bit worse than I have listed. The most likely candidate for a release or a restructure is QB Kevin Kolb, who the Cardinals traded for a few years ago and never panned out as a viable starter. Kolb has a salary cap charge of $13.5 million in 2013, $2 million of which is due in early March in the form of a roster bonus. The only reason for him to remain on the roster is because he is the best option they currently have at QB if he could stay healthy, but with a cap savings of $7.5 million if released and cash savings of $11.5 million they should turn elsewhere.
S Kerry Rhodes has been a solid player for the Cardinals since coming over in a 2010 trade with the New York Jets, but will need to rework his contract if he wants to stay. Rhodes has a $6 million dollar cap charge in 2013, all of which would be saved if he was released. I would think that it’s more likely that Rhodes receives a contract extension to bring his cap number down this year.
Releasing CB William Gay should save the team over $3 million which makes him as good as gone. WR Early Doucet saves the team $2 million in cap with his release and with so much investment in high level wide receivers it doesn’t see realistic to keep him in 2013. Moving TE Jeff King will free up $1.55 million and he could be one of a number of small cap savings moves, such as releasing RB Beanie Wells, and replacing them with low cost rookies that the team needs to make to gain enough cap room to improve their offense.
Notable Free Agents
The Cardinals more or less signed most of the guys they want to keep for the future last season and thus have limited free agents this year. LB Paris Lenon is the biggest name but its doubtful the team would want him back. CB Greg Toler is probably the one person that they need to keep but he should be able to come back at a reasonable price.
Arizona should have one of the higher rookie pools in the NFL with just over $6.4 million estimated to jump onto the 2013 salary cap. As their roster stands now that would mean close to $3.2 million in net cap room. Based on that plus minimum workouts that are soon to accrue the Cardinals will need to shave off about $7 million just to stay even with the cap these next few months.
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Jason is the founder of OTC and has been studying NFL contracts and the salary cap for over 15 years. Jason has co-authored two books about the NFL, Crunching Numbers and the Drafting Stage, which are widely circulated in the industry and hosts the OTC Podcast. Jason’s work has been featured in various publications including the Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, NFL Network and more. OTC is widely considered the leading authority on contract matters in the NFL.