With 2016 Salary Cap set, Arizona Cardinals have $20m in space
By Erich Becker
Rumors, speculation, and the numbers game as the Arizona Cardinals enter the start of a new league year.
With the 2016 Salary Cap coming in at just over $155 million dollars for the 2016 season, the Arizona Cardinals will have about $20m to spend in the offseason, but not all of it will go and land a big name pass rusher, the team has needs aside from signing new players, several veteran players are coming up on the end of their contracts and several others are now eligible for negotiations.
The biggest name that has been thrown around since the season ended was Tyrann Mathieu, who wants to stay in Arizona, and this offseason marks the first time he can sign a new, extended contract. The third round pick is due to account for $1.713 million dollars against the cap this season, he is due to make $1.45m in base salary with bonuses.
Last week the team tendered low offers to Tony Jefferson and Rashad Johnson, and it is widely believed that Jerraud Powers’ time in Arizona could be nearing an end.
There’s also the rumored position of backup quarterback also being a position of need for the team as it looks like Drew Stanton may move on to another team where he has the possibility of competing for a starting job, not necessarily chasing the money, but playing behind Carson Palmer, especially after a season in which he set team records and played in all 16 games, the possibilities of getting on the field are slim.
One of the biggest elephants in the room, and a new rumor cropping up over the last day is that of Calais Campbell, who will account for over $15m against the salary cap entering the last year of a $55m, five year extension he signed, being put on the trading block. This makes sense when you think about it, from both a cap standpoint, but also in regards to what the team could get back, mainly draft picks.
The Cardinals are expected to make a small splash on a position of need, if not pass rush, then in the secondary as well as the offensive line. Names being thrown around include Jason Pierre-Paul, Eric Weddle, Alex Mack all lend themselves to these rumors, but until the league year opens on Wednesday, it is all rumors at this point. This is about as fun as legal tampering can get.
It is fun to play the guessing game, but we’ll know more in the next 48 hours. The Cardinals are not a team to overspend, even on the big signings over the last few years, they didn’t overpay on the offensive line and found great value through the draft and through “Steve Keim Special” contracts as the season approaches.
More from Cardinals Free Agency
- Daron Payne should be a free-agent target of Arizona Cardinals
- Arizona Cardinals could pursue Darius Slayton if Mike Kafka is hired
- Arizona Cardinals could pursue Eli Apple if Lou Anarumo comes aboard
- 5 big mistakes that doomed the Arizona Cardinals in 2022
- 5 difficult decisions Arizona Cardinals must make this offseason
If you asked my opinion, and you may, since you are reading this, I see the Cardinals giving $8m-$10m/year to a proven pass rusher, drafting a quarterback in either the third or fourth round, or higher if they can acquire more draft picks by either moving Calais Campbell (and that contract) or trade down in the first round to gather another third round pick to take a QB who will assume the role of backup QB.