Cardinals plan to be aggressive with FAs but have extensions to consider
The Arizona Cardinals have about $54 million in cap space this offseason.
No, the Cardinals are not planning to use $54 million on free agents.
They plan to be aggressive in chasing new players, but are also keeping players who need extensions and cap flexibility during the regular season in mind as they prepare for free agency, chairman and president Michael Bidwill said Wednesday on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station’s Doug & Wolf.
“We’ve got a lot of room but we’ve also got some extensions we need to do so that’s going to eat up some room,” Bidwill said.
The two main names to watch are running back Kenyan Drake and offensive lineman D.J. Humphries. If the Cardinals retain both, it will cut into the available space.
Drake rushed for 643 yards and eight touchdowns with the Cardinals last season. While he had three games with fewer than 40 rushing yards, he also had four with more than 100, and had a four-touchdown game on Dec. 15.
Humphries blossomed last season, starting all 16 games and playing 100% of offensive snaps for a line that found some stability. He allowed just two sacks.
“We’d like to have him back and we also have the tag out there, the franchise tag we can use,” Bidwill said. “We’ll see where we end up.”
Additionally, Bidwill noted, draft picks will take up space. The No. 8 pick will be paid an estimated $4.2 million, according to OverTheCap. The second-round pick is about $1.5 million and the rest are below $1 million.
The Cardinals hope to retain some space so they have flexibility for a mid-season trade, if the opportunity arises. Last year, they gave up a conditional draft pick for Drake.
“We’ve got to save some room for the kind of acquisitions like Kenyan Drake,” Bidwill said. “We were able to get Kenyan Drake done because we had some room.”
The Cardinals sound pragmatic when it comes to the offseason, but Bidwill does expect to sign some free agent targets. Some people around the league, including NFL Network’s Peter Schrager, believe Arizona will be a popular free agent destination.
“We’re going to be aggressive. I can’t predict today who is going to agree to join us, but I know that we’re going to look at both sides of the ball,” Bidwill said.