The Arizona Cardinals head into the 2018 season with $23 million in cap space. That’s not too bad a number to start the season with, but with a new head coach and a glaring hole at quarterback that cap space is unlikely to be sufficient if they want to go into next season with a competitive roster.
The question then becomes, which veterans are in danger of being given the boot to make space for new signings?
Adrian Peterson, RB – save $2.8 million
The former All-Pro running back will probably find himself in the Hall of Fame one day, but don’t be surprised if he is not with the Cardinals come Week 1 of the 2018 season. Peterson managed just 3.5 yards per carry in his six games in the desert and while that included two 130+ yard performances he also had three games where he posted a yards per carry of under 2.0.
With David Johnson back next season and Peterson proven to be ineffective in a backup role there is little room for him in the Cardinals future
Antoine Bethea, S – save $3.6 million
The veteran safety will be 34 at the start of preseason, and while he registered five interceptions and a forced fumble in 2017 he was far from the Cardinals’ best choice at safety, and won’t be moving forward either.
The Cardinals moved up in the second round last year to select Budda Baker, and while Steve Wilks may change the structure of the defense the plan is surely to play the cheap, young, and athletic Baker at safety alongside Tyrann Mathieu.
One saving grace for Bethea is that Tyvon Branch is hitting free agency this season, leaving the Cardinals with only four safeties on their books, however there is plenty of younger and cheaper talent available as well as a whole draft class to find some rotational players.
Jared Veldheer, OT – save $6.75 million
When Veldheer arrived from Oakland in 2014 he was an above average left tackle. He finished 2017 as a below average right tackle. He will be 31 next year and the Cardinals offensive line needs a total overhaul, and starting by cutting ties with a declining and expensive player isn’t a bad place to start.
Veldheer’s saving grace is that the market for offensive tackles is barren. Last year saw Matt Kalil get handed a huge contract just because he was available. If the Cardinals were to move on from Veldheer they wouldn’t necessarily be able to get anyone better or cheaper.
Want to share your opinion? Why not Write For Us?