In terms of the NFL Playoffs, the 2013 Arizona Cardinals “missed it by that much.”
Arizona finished with a 10-6 record, tying the franchise’s best mark since moving to the Valley in 1988. By all accounts, they were the best team that didn’t participate in the postseason.
In other words, they’re close.
But that doesn’t mean the Cardinals aren’t without needs this offseason. Second-year general manager Steve Keim outlined the team’s needs in a conversation with Doug and Wolf during Newsmakers Week on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Friday morning.
“There’s so many,” Keim said. “There is a need at starter positions where we feel like we can upgrade — there are depth concerns. Just off the top of my head, obviously everybody knows we’d like to upgrade our offensive line, depth at corner, safety, so there are multiple positions.
“Any time you can find elite pass rushers or speed receivers, you can never look away from that.”
Although they had the second-longest pass play of the NFL season — a 91-yard touchdown strike from Carson Palmer to Michael Floyd, the Cardinals ranked 18th in the league in pass plays of 25 yards or more with 28.
In terms of the offensive line, one member of the 2013 squad whose future is very much in doubt is right tackle Eric Winston.
The veteran signed a one-year deal with the Cardinals on the eve of training camp and became a fixture on the right side, starting all 16 games and playing 98 percent of all offensive snaps. However, Pro Football Focus ranked Winston 69th out of the 76 tackles they rated in 2013.
“He’s a guy that we’re talking about,” Keim said. “Again it comes back to expectations. We don’t know what’s going to happen early in the early parts of free agency, but we have a plan in place and Eric is certainly in the conversation, but no decision has been made officially.”
The Cardinals can start negotiating with Winston and other players who will be unrestricted free agents March 8; they can start signing players three days later.