Originally written on The Sports Headquarters  |  Last updated 10/24/14
One of the hardest things to discern when looking forward for a team that, as newly minted GM Steve Keim put it, re-tooling, is understanding what the roster and cap numbers look like going forward. Well fear not loyal #Birdgang, as I am here to do my best with what I can to figure out a way for the Cardinals to get back under the salary cap. Yes, you heard right the 2013 Arizona Cardinals as constructed below are already $723K over the cap.  In other words, it’s time to get creative and get rid of some… dead weight. As always you can reach me on Twitter @SethCoxFB with questions regarding anything Cardinals. Let’s break this down:  I will give you the players name, how long their contract runs through in parentheses, after that I will break down what I would like to see worked out at the position. The contract numbers I am using are courtesy of Rotoworld.com and reflect only the base salaries, any bonuses I am counting as being paid still because they are very convoluted to figure out what does and does not get paid out, so let’s take a look at the Arizona Cardinals 2013 salary cap.  Quarterbacks: Kevin Kolb (2016) Ryan Lindley (2015) John Skelton (2013) My thoughts: Lindley and Skelton are gone, but more importantly the Cardinals need to cut the Kevin Kolb salary by half.  John Clayton and Darren Urban are reporting Kolb’s cap number in the $13 million range, and he needs to be willing to drop his base down from $9million to about $4.5 million, add in his bonuses, and 8.5 million is much more palatable for 2013, but also saves $4.5 million, taking us down to: -723,000 +4,500,000= $3.777 million Running Backs: William Powell: Exclusive Rights Anthony Sherman (2014) Alfonso Smith: Exclusive Rights Beanie Wells (2013) Ryan Williams (2014) Fozzy Whitaker (2013) My Thoughts: Obviously I have told people I believe the Cardinals should keep Beanie, and I know that is not a popular sentiment, and is obviously one Beanie shares with most fans, that he needs to go, but he is a bargain at a little over $1 million.  At this point though I think he is gone. That leaves only Sherman, Williams, and Fozzy Whitaker as contracted RBs. I’d love to see the Cardinals offer Powell and Smith minimum deals, and they likely will Powell.  That leaves the Cardinals to add another one in the draft or in free agency.  But we are making cuts, so let’s do so, and get rid of Beanie. $3,777,000+ 1,670,000= $5,447,000 Wide Receivers: LaRon Byrd (2014) Early Doucet (2013) Larry Fitzgerald (2018) Michael Floyd (2015) Andre Roberts (2013) Kerry Taylor (2013) My Thoughts: Entirely too much money wrapped up in wide receivers, but that is the cost of doing business in the NFL when you have a talent like Larry Fitzgerald. I think we can safely assume they move on from Early Doucet at this point, and that will knock off a cool $2 million, but after that I think we can say they are stuck. $5,447,000+ $1,950,000= $7,397,000 Tight Ends: Jim Dray (2013) Rob Housler (2014) Jeff King (2013) Mike Leach (2014) Kory Sperry (2013) My Thoughts:  Need to cut loose Jeff King, who is a solid veteran, but every penny at this point matters.  And Mike Leach is the long snapper for those that don’t know, but I am listing him as a TE for this exercise. $7,397,000+ $1,500,000= $8,897,000 Offensive Line: Levi Brown (2016) Daryn Colledge (2015) Blake DeChristopher (2014) Mike Gibson (2013) Senio Kelemete (2015) Bobby Massie (2015) Nate Potter (2015) Lyle Sendlein (2015) Adam Snyder (2016) Scott Wedgie (2014) My Thoughts:  First off I want to say that my thoughts are my own, and I know that A LOT of people are going to disagree with me coming up, but I was asked who I would cut, and I am going to tell you.  As the off season goes along I will go more in depth with my reasoning. Lyle Sendlein, Scott Wedgie, Mike Gibson, Blake DeChristopher. $8,897,000+ $2,400,000+ $480,000+ $715,000+ $405,000= $12,897,000 Defensive Line: Calais Campbell (2016) David Carter (2014) Darnell Dockett (2015) Ricky Lumpkin (2013) Everette Thompson (2013) Dan Williams (2014) My Thoughts: Man this is tough… I like this rotation, but it is THIN at the defensive end position.  Like paper thin.  Can the Cardinals get similar production out of a rookie and some veteran minimum free agents as they did out of Darnell if they are able to move Darnell? I say they need to see, because even for a 4th or 5th rounder they can save over $4 million off their cap this year, because they owe him every penny if they cut him. $12,897,000+ $4,450,000= $17,347,000 Linebackers: Sam Acho (2014) Stew Bradley (2015) Tim Fugger (2013) Zack Nash (2013) Colin Parker (2013) O’Brien Schofield (2013) Reggie Walker (2013) Daryl Washington (2017) My Thoughts: Well… It was… interesting Stew Bradley. If I am reading what has been paid out thus far to Bradley it is only $7 million and he was guaranteed $10 million, meaning he is getting $3 million to go away, but he still gets to count against the Cardinals cap. Consider it a parting gift from Rod Graves Stew. $17,347,000+ $2,500,000= $19,847,000 Defensive Backs: Justin Bethel (2015) Williams Gay (2013) Patrick Peterson (2014) Kerry Rhodes (2013) Adrian Wilson (2015) My Thoughts: Again another position that will be tough to decide.  They just paid Wilson and would he take another pay cut?  Can they get a deal done with Rhodes?  How much do they owe all these guys in bonus money that changes their cap hits? My goodness, with the lack of depth you can’t do anything yet. If the Cardinals were to cut loose John Skelton, Ryan Lindley, Beanie Wells, Early Doucet, Jeff King, Lyle Sendlein, Scott Wedgie, Mike Gibson, Blake DeChristopher, and Stewart Bradley PLUS trade Darnell Dockett for nothing but a day 3 pick, as well as getting Kevin Kolb to cut his base salary in half they still wouldn’t get to $20million in cap space coming into the 2013 off season. That doesn’t factor in the likely $6 million in rookie pool money the Cardinals will have to pay out for their 2013 draft class, and it is looking more and more likely that the Cardinals will either have to drastically change the look of a talented, yet ill fitting 5-11 squad, or stay status quo as some big contracts come off the books.
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