This is the first article in a series that will play out over the next couple weeks about taking a review of the Arizona Cardinals roster. We’re going to be break it down position by position and discuss which players we would keep and which ones we would let go. We’ll include salary information from Spotrac.com so we can see the total financial picture of each decision. That being said, let’s get going with a look at the three quarterbacks and their 2014 cap hits.
Carson Palmer: Base Salary $8 million, Bonus $2 million, Cap Hit $10 million, Dead Money $6 million
Drew Stanton:Base Salary $1.75 million, Bonus $667K, Misc $250K Cap Hit $2.66 million, Dead Money $1.34 million
Ryan Lindley: Base Salary $570K, Bonus 26K, Cap Hit $596K, Dead Money $52K
There are your three Arizona quarterbacks with their financial ramifications in bold if they are released. Dead money refers to money that will count against the salary cap between this year and next year. Currently, Arizona is dealing with around $10 million of dead money which shrinks the cap considerably.
Lindley looks he should be a casualty here. He didn’t hit the field in 2013 and he looked weak as a rookie last season. Lindley threw seven interceptions and no touchdown passes in limited game action. The only good thing about him is that his rookie contract is very cap friendly. Lindley should be cut since he’s not shown anything that says he can have success at the NFL level.
Stanton is a mystery to me. He hasn’t thrown a pass in the league in three full seasons and yet his cap hit is more than $2.5 million. Huh? What? Really? Yeah. The downside of Stanton is his crazy contract for a guy who has thrown as many passes in the NFL as I have. This could also be his last chance to be in the league so waiving him might end his playing days in the league. If he can’t show he can play well during the 2014 season, I would expect him to get cut and free up more than $1 million for other pieces to the puzzle.
Palmer is a tough decision. Arizona doesn’t have any one better. It’s more like a Palmer-has-us-pinned-to-the wall with the contract he has situation. His $6 million in dead money would force Arizona to take a long hard look at releasing or trading Palmer. His interceptions nearly matched his touchdown output. Palmer needs to play like he did in the second half of the season to justify keeping on the roster. It would be helpful if Palmer would restructure his contract since he is one of three players who will be a cap hit of $10 million or more next season. It will also be his final season before becoming a free agent so he will be playing for what might be his final contract in professional football. It might be a little extra motivation for the former first overall pick and Arizona might be able to ride that to more success next season.
It should also be worth noting that both Palmer and Stanton were contracts negotiated in the Bruce Arians/Steve Keim era. We’ll also point that out as we go forward and see how much things vary between the current Arians-Keim era and the former regime.
So, what would you do? Which players would you keep or cut? Let us know in the comments below. We’ll also keep running totals about what’s been committed to salaries and team needs so that will serve as a primer into free agency.
Next time, we’ll take a look at the running back position.
Committed Salary: $10 million; New Dead Money $1.39 million; Team needs: QB2
You can see the entire Arizona salary table here.