Dec 29, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Overall view of University of Phoenix Stadium during the game between the Arizona Cardinals against the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers defeated the Cardinals 23-20. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports\
Right about this time Arizona Cardinals GM Steve Keim and Head Coach Bruce Arians are settling down from the beginning of the off-season. Their starting to get their golf swing back and know they have a couple months of roster management mixed with vacation ahead.
The first step is acknowledging which free agents are likely gone due to financial desire and those who simply aren’t worth re-acquiring. There are a few articles that speculate those on the chopping block but only the Cardinals staff have the answer and even then it may change depending on what happens in free agency and the draft.
After the “fat is trimmed”, they now have a better idea and number of players needed and at what position. That’s the foundation of roster management. From there they aim and make a desirables list to fill these spots and hope it all works out the way they planned. Many other details are involved but we will leave it at that for the sake of simplicity.
My hypothesis of the foundation mentioned above is as follows. The Cardinals have seven draft picks I am safe to assume although I looked at many sites and nobody has the future draft numbers fully allotted yet which is surprising to me. That brings us to free agency where players will be lost and gained. I will be conservative and say we gain three new players with the purpose of day one starters. That’s ten players to add depth and replace others who didn’t make the cut or bolted for greener pastures… also known as money.
I see the team needing the following: Three offensive linemen, two linebackers, one can’t miss tight end, a quarterback of the future, a defensive lineman, a corner back and safety. You may have run out of fingers in which case it’s simply ten players needed to stay competitive in the division that produced the conference championship match-up.
I personally feel the draft will be the vital part of rebuilding as the Cardinals have financial issues. Also keep in mind the mentality of the athlete as they aren’t in college anymore and have no need to be in the more competitive conference for draft- ability and coverage. If they can get equal money at a team that has better odds of winning due to a weaker division who is likely willing to pay more because they aren’t competitive and need you to get over the proverbial hump.
Steve Keim worked magic last season and with short notice. This off-season will bode different and new riddles for Keim but Cardinal supporters shouldn’t be overly concerned for reasons that include he saw the regime before fumble this task a few times and learned from them, not to mention this draft has a lot of potential. It also helps to have Coach Bruce Arians in the negotiating room as it may be safe to say there isn’t a single player who doesn’t respect and like that man.
Hopefully this foundation will help you with your personal rebuild when the free agent and draft lists are fully developed.