Join Date: Dec 2003
Big changes likely again for Cardinals
Big changes likely again for Cardinals in offseason
Greenís expected roster overhaul has players guessing
By DARREN URBAN
Dennis Green has said many times he is not a patient man.
****As the Cardinalsí coach has watched this 5-10 season unfold, that fact has only been reinforced. Whether the Cards win or lose todayís finale against Tampa Bay ó Green emphasized this game is insignificant in his evaluation of his team ó there is little chance he will continue to say the Cards have the talent here to become the playoff team he envisions.
****Green turned over almost half the roster prior to this season. Itís possible the sheer numbers will be just as high before the Cardinals take the field again in September.
****More importantly, Green might take the ax to more prominent names on the roster than he did last offseason.
****"(Turnover) happens in any organization," quarterback Josh McCown said. "There is a heightened sense of it because there is a new coach here for a year and heís had a chance to evaluate even closer.
****"I am sure there will be even more changes than usual. But I think everyone anticipates that will happen."
****A handful of starters ó cornerback Renaldo Hill, tight end Freddie Jones, linebacker Ron McKinnon, running back Emmitt Smith and guard Cameron Spikes ó will be unrestricted free agents. Hill might be the only one brought back, and even that is uncertain.
****Meanwhile, there are a host of players making some of the bigger salaries that Green might be looking to dump. Offensive linemen L.J. Shelton and Anthony Clement, linebacker Raynoch Thompson and cornerback Duane Starks all are making at least $2 million a season, and all have fallen out of favor for one reason or another.
****Green might also pull the plug on a couple of recent first-round draft picks, defensive linemen Wendell Bryant and Calvin Pace.
****Those moves might be slowed by concern about "dead money" ó money paid to players no longer on the roster ó toward the salary cap, but that seems to bother Green less than most.
****The coaching staff wonít be immune, either. While it is looking like Green will retain Everett Lindsay as his offensive line coach despite less than a season of coaching experience, the disappointing offensive performance has put coordinator Alex Wood on the hot seat.
****With a game left to play, though, Green is staying away from such topics.
****"Iím not even talking about the future with anyone," Green said. "We will be very aggressive in the offseason . . . to try and vastly improve our situation next year."
****Players too remain clueless, trying like everyone else to guess what Green, along with vice president of football operations Rod Graves, might do with the roster.
****"My biggest thing is I donít know," said McKinnon, finishing his ninth and likely final season in Arizona. "You see things around here . . . everything is on a need-to-know basis.
****"I am just going to finish strong. My teammates and I will go fight this war."
****Said Starks, "I think I still have a good name out there, that I can get picked up (by another team) at any given time. But it is definite he is going to make some changes. I donít know who is going to be a part of it."
****There has been plenty of shock value in Greenís first 12 months on the job. He benched Shelton, he put Smith into the starting lineup, he cut center Pete Kendall and he benched McCown. If he were to radically overhaul the roster again in the coming months, no one should claim they didnít see it coming.
****"One thing after eight years of football, I have learned to expect the unexpected," said defensive end Bertrand Berry, one of the few Cardinals who can be totally secure in his spot on the team. "If things happen, you just have to take it as part of the business. Rarely do things surprise me."
****Green understands his team has issues. He reflected last week on missed opportunities, specifically two losses to the worst team in the league, San Francisco.
****"Those are games you never forget because you know good and well your team didnít play up to its capabilities," Green said, explaining how heíll evaluate players and coaches.
****"This is the NFL. Everyone is paid good money. You donít have to make excuses, you donít have to make alibis. You either get it done or you donít."
Cardinals coach Dennis Green is expected to continue his roster overhaul this offseason. Here is a look at the majority of the roster and what might be in store for those players (* ó projected 2005 starter):
Player Contract expires (2005 salary) Comment
Shaun King 2005 ($850,000) Likely to be cut for another veteran Josh McCown* RFA Will have a chance to keep starting job in 2005 John Navarre 2006 ($305,000) Green still likes his potential
Obafemi Ayanbadejo 2005 ($540,000) Has been good addition as both fullback and special-teamer
Larry Croom 2006 ($305,000) Has change-up talents Green likes to utilize
Troy Hambrick UFA Already tried to re-sign once; should make it to camp
James Hodgins 2006 ($1 million) Roster spot will be tenuous again
Josh Scobey 2006 ($455,000) Can raw speed help him overcome disappointing 2004?
Marcel Shipp 2006 ($1.43 million) Future may depend on whom the Cards draft, sign at position
Emmitt Smith UFA Itíll be a major surprise if he is with Cardinals in 2005
Anquan Boldin* 2006 ($380,000) Still their best player; still doesnít have contract extension
Larry Fitzgerald* 2009 ($305,000) Can improve but has shown signs he will make big impact
Bryant Johnson 2007 ($453,750) Made strides toward being decent third wideout
Nate Poole RFA Injured quite a bit; will have a tough time sticking
Karl Williams 2005 ($665,000) Likely gone after a disappointing year returning punts
Lorenzo Diamond ERFA Missed his opportunity and now might be dumped
Eric Edwards 2006 ($305,000) Might be the only holdover tight end next season
Freddie Jones UFA Wonít be back; Never quite worked out in Arizona
Jeremy Bridges ERFA Still raw but Green thinks heíll develop
Anthony Clement 2006 ($2.4 million) Salary and production may lead to his release
Leonard Davis* 2006 ($4.84 million) Solid at left tackle; Green wants him as longtime O-line anchor
L.J. Shelton 2008 ($3 million) Never on same page as Green, but do Cards have better option?
Cameron Spikes UFA If Green overhauls line, Spikes will be allowed to walk
Alex Stepanovich* 2006 ($385,000) Decent start to what should be long career in Arizona
Reggie Wells* 2005 ($305,000) Might have had the most consistent season on the line
Bertrand Berry* 2008 ($4 million) Hands down the teamís best-ever free agent signing
Wendell Bryant 2006 ($455,000) Team likely has tired of waiting for this first-round pick
Russell Davis 2005 ($800,000) Surprised Green with an effective season
Darnell Dockett* 2006 ($385,000) Blue-chip find at tackle, although Green might use him at end
Kenny King 2005 ($305,000) Cards were hurt when he went down for the whole season
Ross Kolodziej ERFA Green likes his work ethic and versatility
Calvin Pace 2007 ($473,750) 2003 first-rounder might be too small for Greenís liking
Kyle Vanden Bosch UFA Likely playing his last game in Arizona
Peppi Zellner UFA Might try to re-sign as a rotation guy
Karlos Dansby* 2007 ($305,000) Should develop into a defensive playmaker
James Darling 2006 ($850,000) Surprisingly good year as a starter
Gerald Hayes* 2005 ($380,000) Green ready to make him the starter in middle
Ron McKinnon UFA Long stint as a Card looks to be over
Raynoch Thompson 2007 ($2 million) Playing less and less and could be sent packing
LeVar Woods 2005 ($540,000) Special-teamer should stick around
Renaldo Hill UFA Cards could use him as depth but the open market beckons
David Macklin* 2006 ($2 million) Steady most of the season; who will join him as a starter?
Duane Starks 2006 ($3.6 million) The Cards might not think heís worth the big paycheck
Robert Tate UFA Likely to be replaced
Quentin Harris RFA Has been adequate as a backup
Ifeanyi Ohalete 2006 ($800,000) Up and down in his production; Green may try to upgrade
Michael Stone UFA Been very good on special teams
Adrian Wilson* 2009 ($2 million) After extension, Cards will see if he finally reaches potential
UFA ó unrestricted free agent RFA ó restricted free agent ERFA ó exclusive rights player (must re-sign if tendered offer)