The 2012 NFL league year officially begins on March 13, which is when free agency officially opens. Up to that point, teams are free to re-sign their own free agents, but not matter how hard they try a few will inevitably escape to showcase their talents for other teams.
Pro Football Weekly recently came out with their top 100 free agents heading into the new league year and on that list, there were four potential former Arizona Cardinals.
The first player on that list is defensive end Calais Campbell, who comes in at No. 14.
Campbell set career highs in tackles (72), passes defended (10) and sacks (eight) in 2011. The 6-8, 300-pound defensive end works hard and has produced at a high level since entering the starting lineup. The Cardinals are unlikely to let him go.
The second Cardinals player on the list is cornerback Richard Marshall, who comes in at No. 57.
Marshall's experience (55 career starts) and versatility (he can play cornerback or safety) are assets. Moreover, he is still relatively young. The Cardinals would like to re-sign him, but he figures to draw interest from other clubs.
The next Cardinals player on the list is kicker Jay Feely, who comes in at No. 91.
Feely has connected on 82 percent of his field-goal attempts in his career, and last season was the first time he had made less than 83 percent of his FG attempts since 2004. Consistent and confident, he's a proven performer at a pressure-packed position.
The last Cardinals player on the list is wide receiver Early Doucet, who comes in at No. 99.
Doucet caught a career-best 54 passes for 689 yards and five TDs a season ago. He could be a sleeper of sorts.
The Cardinals finished the 2011 season with an 8-8 record and won seven of their last nine games of the season. If they can re-sign their top free agents, pick up one or two experienced guys from other teams and have a good showing in the draft, they can compete for the NFC West title in 2012.
For more on the Cardinals, head to Revenge Of The Birds.