Important offseason decisions ahead for Arizona Cardinals

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It’s not fun to already be looking ahead to the 2017 season but the Arizona Cardinals playoff hopes are slipping away quickly

It wasn’t supposed to be like this for the Arizona Cardinals and their fans. Instead of trying to figure out what playoff seeding the team will have, we’re instead looking ahead to 2017.

A lengthy list of free agents will make for some tough offseason decisions. A couple of names on that list are significant enough to warrant possible use of the franchise tag. General manager Steve Keim and company will certainly be earning their paychecks in the upcoming months.

The biggest offseason priority should be finding a quarterback for the future. In all likelihood, Carson Palmer’s replacement will be attained through the draft. What kind of pick they qualify for will determine the quality level of the future signal-caller.

Another high priority should be making sure outside linebacker Chandler Jones remains a Cardinal. He currently leads the club in sacks with eight, and talented pass rushers in their prime aren’t easy to obtain. If a long-term deal can’t be reached, Jones will be a prime candidate for the previously mentioned franchise tag.

Another starting linebacker, inside ‘backer Kevin Minter, is also heading to free agency. Although Minter is having a decent year, the team could probably do better. Lawrence Timmons of the Pittsburgh Steelers is still productive and would be an improvement.

Does defensive end Calais Campbell fit into the team’s future plans? Although he’s playing well, he isn’t getting any younger and may command a pretty penny on the open market. The front office was probably hoping rookie Robert Nkemdiche could cushion the possible loss of Campbell, but he’s contributed nothing.