Here is a unit-by-unit analysis of the Arizona Cardinals.
Arizona Cardinals: UFA Rankings
Green left much to be desired in the secondary in 2007, in 2008 it was even worse. He was one of the main reasons that Arizona chose Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in the first round of the 2008 NLF Draft. Rodgers-Cromartie would go on to take Green's job and never look back. Green will look for greener pastures.
10. Terrelle Smith
The Cardinals fullbacks rarely receive much glory. Ranking as the worst rushing team in the regular season is probably why. Smith excels as the Cardinals lead blocker, but Tim Castille waits to take the reigns.
9. Gabe Watson
Watson appeared in 11 regular season games and all four postseason matches. He started in the Cardinals Super Bowl loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Watson is a bit inconsistent on the field, but he still has a lot of football left in him. He just wrapped up his third season in the league.
That said, starter Bryan Robinson will enter his 13th season this year. The Cardinals will likely re-sign Watson, as they like to develop their own players. Watson should step into the starter role. He will likely have even younger players pushing him for playing time.
8. Elton Brown
Brown provides depth for the offensive line. He's been with the Cardinals since 2005. He's had an increased role this season, as he saw action in every game. Brown won't become a starter anytime soon, but the Cardinals offensive line doesn't have too many layers.
7. Ralph Brown
Brown is another veteran player (nine years) that stepped up big this season. Brown posted a pair of postseason picks after just one in the regular season. Brown is a member of the secondary who doesn't want to go anywhere and shows up everyday to work. Brown should be safe.
6. Clark Haggans
Haggans was a Pittsburgh Steelers alum when he found his way to the desert in 2008. He was expected to have one of the bigger impacts of last year's free agent acquisitions. He earned a sack and almost 20 tackles, but he ended the season on injury reserve. He played in 11 games with no starts. As a ninth-year player, the Cardinals could go either way with Haggans. His ties to Whisenhunt and his great fit in the Cardinals' 3-4, coupled with excellent pass rushing skills could keep him in Glendale.
5. Bertrand Berry
Berry is a team player through and through. He's a classy player who was on the chopping block last offseason. But he believed in what the Cardinals were doing and took a pay cut to stay with Arizona. All year he worked for another chance. Berry was outstanding this season. He compiled five sacks and never quit. He wrapped up his 11th season, and one day the Cardinals will have to make the difficult verdict about Berry. But after an awesome year, he should stay in Arizona.
4. Antonio Smith
Smith's goal of reaching the Pro Bowl didn't quite work out, but he earned quite a bit of flexing celebrations throughout the high caliber year. Overall, including the playoffs, he tacked on 5.5 sacks and wrapped up multi-tackle games (five tackles in one game was the highest).
Smith's a locker room guy and adds stability to the front-seven. The Cardinals could like the continuity of keeping Smith, but there are several rookies vying to break through.
3. J.J. Arrington
Arrington turned a negative situation into a positive. Last offseason he was dangling on the edge after lack of production on the field and a nightclub incident off the field. But his running mate Marcel Shipp was shipped off instead.
This year's running back crew was thrown a number of curveballs with Edgerrin James losing his starting job, and Tim Hightower getting the edge over James. In the mix was Arrington who was used as a change of pace speed to compliment the bruiser Hightower.
Arrington used the opportunity to turn on the burners. He averaged 6 yards a carry and was reliable on the pass too (8.8 yard average). Arrington earned a touchdown on the ground and in the air. He was used in a variety of situations, including a gadget play that sent a 60-yard plus touchdown Larry Fitzgerald's way.
The Cardinals will continue to develop Arrington. This second-round pick didn't miss the boat this season.
2. Karlos Dansby
Dansby and the Cardinals couldn't work out a deal last offseason. The heat will be on this year. League-wide Dansby ranks in the top-10 of possible departures. The Cardinals could very well use the franchise tag on him again this offseason if they can't get a long-term deal done. He is an influential player on the Cardinals' defense. Dansby earned a pick and eight tackles against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Super Bowl. He led the team in tackles in the regular season.
Scout.com's Adam Caplan, who was on the forefront of reporting Calvin Pace's departure, says the type of numbers Dansby could be looking for is a five-year deal with $20 million guaranteed ($12 million signing bonus/option bonus of $8 million). Average per season is about $7 million.
1. Kurt Warner
Warner is contemplating retirement. But Arizona is his only choice if he decides to stay in the league. He has no plans of going elsewhere. Unfortunately for Matt Leinart, the Cardinals will have Warner if he has another go. Warner wants to get away from football for a while and likely pray on the decision.
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