Not every valuable member on the Arizona Cardinals roster carries with them a high salary cap number for the upcoming campaign
One of the biggest responsibilities of the Arizona Cardinals’ front office is their management of the salary cap. Fitting the salaries of 53 players under that league-mandated, maximum number is far from an easy task. Some of the Cardinals gobble up huge chunks of the “cap”, while others count very little against it.
David Johnson, who missed most of last season with a wrist injury, may be 2018’s biggest bargain. A $2,066,844 cap hit for a running back who’s the focal point of the Arizona offense is a flat-out steal. Johnson is in line to receive a gigantic raise, so his salary could become significantly larger in the near future.
Markus Golden, who also missed a big portion of 2017, could also be looked at as an underpaid part of the organization. The 2015 second-round draft pick, who’s coming off of a torn ACL, led the Cards with 12.5 quarterback sacks two years ago. Golden, who will count just $1,246,742 towards the 2018 cap, may also be on the verge of obtaining a substantial rise in pay.
Budda Baker’s $1,552,274 cap figure could be considered cheap for a couple of reasons. For one, the second-year performer is slated to be upgraded to a starter at safety this year. Besides the promotion he earned, Baker also showed his value by being designated the NFC’s special teams representative following his rookie campaign.
Josh Bynes, who’s also been promoted to starter for the upcoming season, carries a reasonable cap hit of $1,285,208 for 2018. The middle linebacker was a pleasant surprise for the Cardinals in ’17 after being inked to a one-year deal. Bynes received more money in the latest contract he signed, but is still giving the franchise a nice bit of bang for their buck.
Another surprise from a year ago was Olsen Pierre. The defensive tackle tallied 30 tackles and five and a half sacks for Arizona in ’17, and has now been named a starter. Pierre’s $630,000 cap charge is incredibly inexpensive for a first-stringer.
The Cards can’t expect the people mentioned in this article to continue to play for peanuts forever. Eventually, they’ll be rewarded nicely for their efforts. But for now, the five remain some of the biggest bargains in the desert.