The NFL lockout is all but over and the new league year is set to begin. The Arizona Cardinals and the entire league are now gearing up for a very busy free agency period. Teams will need to fill their rosters by re-signing their own players, picking up undrafted rookies and acquiring new free agents.
As things currently stand, the team has about $37.3 million to spend under the cap, and that number could grow by as much as $11 million if Derek Anderson, Joey Porter and Gerald Hayes are released. They are one of a few teams with great flexibility.
Here is a basic outline of the needs that the Cardinals have and possible targets to fill those needs:
Quarterback: This this the team's most notable need. The rumors have been going on for months.
Offensive Line: Since the team will be sporting a new starting quarterback and the only 2010 starter under contract is left tackle Levi Brown. Brandon Keith is a restricted free agent and will likely be back, but the interior line will be a priority.
Possible targets: Re-signing Lyle Sendlein and Deuce Lutui will be number one priority, but Lutui could be looking for a big payday. Other possibilities are Davin Joseph, Marshal Yanda or Justin Blalock. Evan Mathis is rumpred to have interest in the Cardinals.
Pass-rushing linebacker: As currently constituted, the Cardinals have enough at outside linebacker. Joey Porter, Clark Haggans, Will Davis, O'Brien Schofield and fourth-round pick Sam Acho are all on the team. However, Porter and Haggans might be salary cap casualties.
Cornerback: This is only a need if the rumors are true and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is traded.
Inside linebacker: If Gerald Hayes is cut as expected, the Cardinals might look for a run-stuffing thumper in the middle to play alongside Daryl Washington. However, this position is one of the lowest priorities, at least in finding starting players.
Additional possible moves: With Steve Breaston a free agent, the team may try to resign him if the price is right. If not, they may be in play for another receiver. Likewise, the team will look for depth at defensive line because only starters are under contract.