The Arizona Cardinals will have to look forward to next season as the current one has not panned out as planned
The 2018 season is all but over for the Arizona Cardinals. Everyone from management to fans are upset with how the season has gone, and at 2-8, the team would need a miracle to make the playoffs. Everyone has their eyes to the 2019 offseason, and after losing to the Oakland Raiders this past Sunday, are there substantial changes to be made?
General Manager Steve Keim may be on the hot seat after a series of poor draft classes and continued inability to find quality Offensive Line play. It’s likely, however, after finding their Quarterback of the future in Josh Rosen, that he stays. The 2018 Draft class offers hope for the future which should be his saving grace for one more season.
Then there is the question of their Head Coach. Steve Wilks has been on the fans hot seat after an 0-4 start to the season, and has begun to heat up in the local media.
The Cardinals do not want to fall into the trap of hiring a one and done coach, and then starting the rebuild over with another coach. Especially when teams that have done this in the past seldom find success. Wilks and Keim are tied to the hip in year two.
Now that the General Manager and Head Coach are secured the roster is the next piece. As of today, the team holds 61.6 million dollars in cap space.
Once we make some moves, such as releasing Jermaine Gresham (+4.75), Jamar Taylor (+4.30), and Andre Smith (+4.0), Arizona could be looking at 73 million to spend. That would be the 6th most for the 2019 season. There are 25 players whose contracts expire at the end of this season. Some of the notable names include:
It would surprise me if the team did not sign Ricky Seals-Jones to an ERFA tender, which would keep him in Arizona with a one-year deal at $645,000. Olsen Pierre is listed as a RFA, and offering him an original round tender would only cost the team two million.
The rest of the players hold some questions. Bucannon has struggled in recent years, and has not been able to find this staffs good graces. Bucannon would likely be let go.
Same with JJ Nelson, who was out-snapped by Trent Sherfield against Kansas City. Larry Fitzgerald will be retained if he decides it is not time for him to hang up his cleats. Phil Dawson is likely let go, so the team can find a younger alternative at the kicking position.
That leaves, Markus Golden, Tre Boston, and Bene Benwikere. Those three are the guys Keim and Wilks should focus on retaining.
Benwikere is a journeyman in the NFL, but has a familiarity with Steve Wilks. He could be this teams version of Michael Adams, a smaller corner who plays with a chip on his shoulder.
Tre Boston offers the team a physical safety who can make plays on the ball. Keim is known not to break the bank on any players looking to re-sign with the team.
Markus Golden is fresh off of his ACL tear. Since his return, the Defense has begun to shift in a positive direction. Whether that is players finally getting on the same page, or his play rejuvenating players, is the question.
The team should have him as one of their priority Free Agents in 2019. Golden is already 28, being a second round draft pick back in 2015. A guy with a similar situation, Danielle Hunter, already got his extension.
Hunter signed a five-year, $72,000,000 deal, with $40,000,000 guaranteed. This is not the deal I would propose to Golden, because Hunter is only 24. My guess would be Golden is looking at a four-year deal, averaging six million a season.
Arizona has a lot of cap room to work with this upcoming offseason. Re-signing their core free agents should be of no issue.
That would leave them well over 50 million to delve into rebuilding their offensive line, receivers, and a possible number two opposite of Patrick Peterson. This is part one of the Arizona Cardinals offseason. In the next post we will look at the second part which will be scouting and finding talent through the upcoming Free Agent pool.