TEMPE, Ariz. — Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians was asked how long it takes to go from being disappointed over a season-ending loss to being excited about the team’s future.
“On the way home,” he said. “You get pissed off for about a half hour and you dream about next year for a half hour, two hours.”
But what will next year look like? Who will make up the 2015 Arizona Cardinals?
Change is as much a part of the NFL as tackling, so the group that finished the 2014 season will surely not be the one that begins the 2015 campaign.
Cardinals GM Steve Keim made a whopping 217 roster moves last season; he made 193 the year before. And as the team heads into the offseason, more are certainly on the way. Tough decisions involving key players, specifically receiver Larry Fitzgerald and defensive lineman Darnell Dockett, will have to be made.
Each has meant plenty to the organization since being drafted in 2004, but both players are scheduled to make more money than the team likely feels they are worth.
On Fitzgerald, Arians said, “I don’t control money and caps and all that crap. I just coach the heck out of him and he’s a great kid. I look forward to having him next year.”
“That stuff takes care of itself,” quarterback Carson Palmer said of Fitzgerald’s contract situation, which calls for the receiver to count $23.6 million against the salary next season. “Obviously everybody in this locker room wants Larry back, all the fans want Larry back. But there are some business things that I’m sure will happen and need to happen. We’ll hope he’s back.”
The 31-year-old Fitzgerald caught 63 passes for 784 yards and two touchdowns last season. The reception and yardage totals were the second-lowest in his career, beating only his rookie season, and the two scores were the fewest he’s had as a professional.
But he proved his value multiple times during the season, making big catches while also being an emotional leader for the team.
Dockett, on the other hand, tore his ACL during training camp and missed the entire season. The 33-year-old is slated to count $9.8 million against the cap in 2015, which is a number the organization may not be comfortable with.