The salary cap continues to climb. The projected cap is now up to $133 million for 2014. This is great news for teams that are cap-strapped and the Arizona Cardinals are in good shape to be a player in free agency on March 3rd. If the projection is accurate, the Cardinals are $16 million under the cap.
This means they have a real chance to re-sign Los Dirty, Karlos Dansby, fill holes by recruiting more one-year contracts AND get free agent LT, Branden Albert… Depending on what the Miami Dolphins do. The Dolphins are $39 million under the cap. If they want Branden Albert, and money is the only factor, I doubt the Cards could outbid Miami.
But if money is not the only determinant for Albert, don't rule out Big Red. Steve Keim has proven himself to be an excellent recruiter and very persuasive: Jon Abraham, Karlos Dansby, Eric Winston, Matt Shaugnessy and Rashard Mendenhall were major contributors to the Cardinals' 10-6 record in 2013. They all settled on Arizona as their free agent destination when they had other opportunities.
Recruiting professional football players is now one of the new talents a GM must possess. The Art of the One Year Deal has become "en vogue" in the National Football League. Persuading free agents to sign one-year deals with your team may be the difference between a winning team and everybody else. And when money is comparable and is not the end-all-be-all for coveted free agents, the ability of GMs to persuade players becomes a critical free agent factor.
In regard to Branden Albert playing LT for Arizona this season, let's hope it comes down to more than just money.