Contract extensions can create salary cap space for Cardinals

(Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) D.J. Humphries
(Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) D.J. Humphries /

Contract extensions for several deserving players could free up some much-needed salary-cap space for the Arizona Cardinals.

We’re now just four months away from the beginning of the 2022 NFL campaign, and the Arizona Cardinals still need help. Steve Keim still has roster holes to fill, but a limited amount of salary-cap space could prohibit the general manager from adding the final pieces.

One way to create room under the cap is to sign a select number of Cardinals to contract extensions. Each agreement could be back-loaded, meaning the bulk of the cash could be pushed to the back end of the deals.

There are a group of Redbirds who could be candidates for an immediate extension. One player is quite obvious, while there are several others who the Cards could also have an interest in keeping around for a few more seasons.

Several Arizona Cardinals players could be in line for a contract extension

The one individual who is almost certainly at the top of Arizona’s extension list is Kyler Murray, the team’s franchise quarterback. The superstar and his agent have gone public in their attempts to get the Cardinals organization to the bargaining table. Word has it that Keim could be eyeing a summertime extension for Murray, but that plan may change if the right player (James Bradberry, anyone?) becomes available.

Another starter from the offensive side of the ball, D.J. Humphries, could also be in line for a contract extension from the Cards. Murray’s blindside protector owns a cap hit of $19.3 million, which translates into a whopping 9.32 percent of the league’s $208.2 million salary-cap limit in 2022.

How about adding a couple of years to the current deal of one of the NFL’s best safeties? Budda Baker, a four-time Pro Bowler, carries a cap hit of $14.7 million this coming fall. The best could still be yet to come for the 26-year-old Baker, so an extension could be looked at as a great business move.

There are three others who could have their current contracts reworked as well. The trio includes J.J. Watt ($15.9 million), DeAndre Hopkins ($15.7 million), and Rodney Hudson ($12.6 million).

Freeing up some dough could result in the acquisitions of a couple of badly-needed free agents. Possibilities include Jadeveon Clowney, Joe Haden, Sony Michel, and Akiem Hicks.

If Arizona hopes to contend in 2022, Keim and his cohorts have some catching up to do. Agreeing to extensions with a couple of top-tier Cardinals would be a smart way to gain the cap space needed to keep up with the competition.

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(Contract numbers courtesy of