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A View on How the Cardinals Will Deal with the Salary Cap Issues in 2012

Football Outsiders is out and doing Division by Division looks at the salary cap and how it affects each team around the league.

To see about the entire NFC West – click HERE

Here’s the Cardinals breakdown, and some of the background on how they think things will play out for the team.

Estimated Cap Space: $12-$14 million

Unrestricted Free Agents (16): Hamza Abdullah, D’Anthony Batiste, Calais Campbell, Sean Considine, Early Doucet, Jay Feely, Clark Haggans, Vonnie Holliday, Brandon Keith, Mike Leach, Deuce Lutui, Richard Marshall, Joey Porter, Chester Taylor, Floyd Womack, Dave Zastudil

Restricted Free Agents (4): Rashad Johnson, LaRod Stephens-Howling, Greg Toler, Reggie Walker

Rashad Johnson started nine games in 2011 and has been a valuable reserve/core special teams player the last three seasons. LaRod Stephens-Howling is a capable No. 2 or No. 3 running back, has been the team’s primary kick returner the last three seasons, and led the team in special teams tackles as a rookie in 2009. Greg Toler started 13 games in 2010 and had the inside track on a starting job in 2011 before suffering a torn ACL in his left knee during the third preseason game. Reggie Walker’s primary contributions have been on special teams, making 16 tackles over the last three seasons. All four can expect qualifying offers, with Stephens-Howling and Toler possibly receiving “upgraded” tenders to the second-round level ($1.927 million).

Franchise Tag Candidate: Cardinals general manager Rod Graves has assured his team’s fan base that defensive end Calais Campbell isn’t going anywhere. If a long-term deal is not reached by March 5, the club will place the $10.6 million franchise tender on the 6-foot-8, 300-pound defensive end. In addition to blocking five kicks on special teams, Campbell has 180 tackles, 21 sacks and 18 passes defensed as a full-time starter over the last three seasons.

Potential Cap Casualties/Restructures: The first order of business in the restructure department is left tackle Levi Brown, who is due a $6 million roster bonus, a $8.33 million base salary, and is eating up $16.973 million of the team’s cap space. Releasing Brown would clear up $14.58 million of cap room, but would also task the Cardinals with replacing him. Quality left tackles rarely hit free agency and the top tackles in the draft may not be available when the Cardinals go on the clock at No. 13, so extending Brown’s contract to clear a few million in cap space may be their only logical option. The Cardinals could find another $3.2 million of cap room by reducing Larry Fitzgerald’s $5 million base salary to $1 million and adding $4 million to the $15 million option that comes due on the first day of the 2012 league year. Fitzgerald’s 2012 base salary will become fully guaranteed when the option bonus is exercised. $5.6 million in cap space would become available if the Cardinals converted Kevin Kolb’s $7 million roster bonus into a signing bonus that was prorated over the five remaining years of his contract.


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One Response to “A View on How the Cardinals Will Deal with the Salary Cap Issues in 2012”

  1. […] A View on How the Cardinals Will Deal with the Salary Cap Issues in 2012 Football Outsiders is out and doing Division by Division looks at the salary cap and how it affects each team around the league. To see about the entire NFC West – click HERE Here’s the Cardinals breakdown, and some of the background on how they think things will play out for the team. Estimated Cap […]… […]

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