When March 8 rolls around, expect the Arizona Cardinals to be very busy.
That’s the day NFL teams can begin contacting and negotiating with free agents and make qualifying offers to restricted free agents.
According to Arizona head coach Bruce Arians, the team’s general manager, Steve Keim, will be busy calling players when the clock strikes 12:01.
“We probably have five,” Arians told Doug and Wolf Friday on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM when asked if there was a specific early target for the Cardinals. “Steve and I have the same philosophy, ‘here it is, do you want it? I’m going to ask this guy in about a half an hour. If you don’t want it, I’m going to ask him. If he wants it, you’re out.’
“It’s easy. We don’t play games.”
Of course, the second-year head coach didn’t offer names of players the team is targeting, but did talk about areas where he’d like to see the Cardinals improve.
“I think we need to get bigger and stronger on both sides of line with more depth — offensive line and defensive line. We need to get some depth because of our division — you’re going to win at the line of scrimmage in our division, you have to be physical,” he said.
“And we can never, never stop getting speed, everywhere. Whether it be a linebacker, pass rusher, corner, safety or wide receiver.”
Then there’s the matter of the Cardinals bringing back free agents of their own. Arizona has 14 players in that category, but none more important to re-sign than veteran linebacker Karlos Dansby, who led the team with 122 total tackles and was named a second team All-Pro.
Arians knows how vital Dansby is to the Cardinals’ defense.
“There’s no doubt — we offered Karlos a contract the day after the season ended,” he said. “We’re still in the negotiating process, but he’s a major part because of what he brought to the table for us as a leader.
“We definitely would love to have him back.”