Found March 12, 2012 on
Fox Sports Arizona:
Kansas City Chiefs
When the NFLs free-agency period opens Tuesday at 1 p.m. Arizona time, the Cardinals will sit at a crossroads awaiting one fate-altering decision: the landing place of quarterback Peyton Manning.
If the Cards are lucky enough to sign him, that event will set in motion a series of other cap-space-clearing moves that could include the release of quarterback Kevin Kolb, left tackle Levi Brown and possibly underperforming inside linebacker Stewart Bradley, tight end Todd Heap andor receiver Chansi Stuckey. The Cards could also restructure some existing contracts (Darnell Dockett, Larry Fitzgerald and Adrian Wilson are obvious candidates).
If they dont land Manning, the Cards offseason may take a far less dramatic turn. Kolb will return. Brown could, too, at a reduced price. And general manager Rod Graves will turn his attention to the teams existing free agents while filling a couple holes.
Heres a look at five areas the Cards might address in free agency as well as a glance at the Cards 15 remaining unrestricted free agents and a take on whether or not theyll be re-signed. Of course, if Manning lands in Phoenix, all bets are off ... except this one: Receiver Stephen Williams will be selling his jersey number (18) at a highly inflated price.
AREAS TO ADDRESS
Offensive tackle: Starting right tackle Brandon Keith is an unrestricted free agent whos battled injuries and inconsistency. Starting left tackle Levi Browns cap hit is nearly 17 million in the final year of his deal. Veterans Jeremy Bridges and DAnthony Batiste are the depth. The Cards havent drafted a tackle since 2008, when they took Keith in the seventh round.
Offensive guard: Starters Daryn Colledge and Rex Hadnot will be back, but Deuce Lutui and Floyd Womack are unrestricted free agents who arent likely to return. The Cards need depth, although they could add it through the draft.
Wide receiver: Despite media assertions to the contrary, the Cards insisted all of last training camp that they didnt need a No. 2 receiver after losing Steve Breaston (and Anquan Boldin the year before). Andre Roberts showed some flashes but didnt live up to that billing overall, and No. 3 receiver Early Doucet is a free agent. With so much money tied up in Larry Fitzgerald, the Cards wont be looking for a star, but a field-stretcher would help. If Manning arrives, Reggie Wayne could be in tow.
Outside linebacker: Rookie Sam Acho and second-year Wisconsin product OBrien Schofield showed promise last season, but veteran Joey Porter wont be back after a second straight season of noticeable decline, and 35-year-old Clark Haggans is a free agent. Even if he returns, the Cards could use more depth.
Cornerback: Free agent Richard Marshall is the key here. If he returns, the Cards have enough depth and wont need to address this position. But Marshall will get be a valued commodity on the market after a solid season. If he goes, the Cards will need veteran help to play alongside Patrick Peterson, A.J. Jefferson and the sure-tackling Michael Adams.
Howard SmithUS PRESSWIRE
Click here for an analysis of each of the Cardinals' free agents and a prediction on whether or not they'll be brought back.
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