Arizona Cardinals: Possible salary-cap casualties of 2018
If the Arizona Cardinals intend to get involved in the Kirk Cousins sweepstakes, salary cap space will need to be created
The Arizona Cardinals’ accounting department has to be going crazy right about now. The usual amount of holes exists within the roster. With limited salary-cap space available, adding quality pieces to fill those holes will not be easy.
Some tough decisions will need to be made, especially if signing quarterback Kirk Cousins is part of management’s offseason agenda. There’s little room for sentimentality in the NFL. It is without a doubt a “what have you done for me lately?” business.
General manager Steve Keim is looking long and hard at his current Cardinals squad. Players may need to be jettisoned, some of who can still perform. Those who carry the highest salary-cap hits are the ones who are most likely to find themselves on the league’s unemployment line.
Reports on exactly how much salary-cap room that Arizona actually has have varied. Some have figured it to be as low as $12 million. If that number is correct, the Cards’ front office certainly has it’s work cut out for them in the upcoming months.
Much attention has centered around Tyrann Mathieu’s contract. The starting safety carries a cap hit of $14,100,000 for 2018, extremely high for someone who’s play has been average at best since 2015. There’s speculation that the “Honey Badger” could be released if he refuses to take a pay cut.
The Cardinals’ desire to have D.J. Humphries play left tackle has had a negative effect on Jared Veldheer. To accommodate their first-round draft pick of ’15, the coaching staff moved Veldheer over to the less-important right side. The former Oakland Raider’s $10 million-plus cap number is a bit exorbitant for a 30-year old who was basically demoted last year.
Another starting offensive lineman, Mike Iupati, has struggled to stay healthy as of late. Coinciding with his injuries has been a slight drop in effectiveness. Those factors combined with Iupati’s $9,700,000 cap figure may result in the four-time Pro Bowler receiving his walking papers this offseason.
Safety Antoine Bethea is coming off of a fantastic campaign. But the emergence of 2017 second-round draft pick Budda Baker could make the 33-year old expendable. A salary-cap figure of almost $5 million will not work in Bethea’s favor.
Placekicker Phil Dawson was brought in last season to replace the shaky Chandler Catanzaro. The 43-year had a couple of very good performances, but at the same time was unreliable. Dawson’s $3,500,000 cap number is too high for someone who can’t be counted on.
Word out of Arizona is that running back Adrian Peterson’s days in the desert are numbered. Workhorse back David Johnson’s return this upcoming season will make the future Hall of Famer merely a second-stringer again. Peterson’s $2,881,250 cap figure (all of which comes off the cap with his release) is high for a backup runner.
Next: Arizona Cardinals making right move with Peterson
Parting with some of the names mentioned in this article would have been unthinkable until now. But business is business. Some well-respected Cards may become aware of that real soon.