Defensive backs Jerraud Powers (25) and Rashad Johnson (26) remain on the free-agent market.
Bruce Arians was specifically talking about the potential return of veteran defensive backs Jerraud Powers and Rashad Johnson to the Cardinals, but he could have been talking about any of the team's current free agents.
"The business side of this, you're never going to have the same football team back," the coach said. "The price has to be right for all of us."
As free agency finds the end of its first week, the Cardinals have been relatively quiet. The team has signed just one new player – safety Tyvon Branch – although others have been in the mix, most notably the unsuccessful push to sign pass rusher Jason Pierre-Paul.
(The Cardinals did get a pass rusher Tuesday afternoon when they traded for .)
But the Cardinals also have a decent sized list of their own free agents.* *The Cardinals had 16 scheduled unrestricted free-
agents-to-be heading into the offseason. Four have new deals: quarterback Drew Stanton, tight end Jermaine Gresham, defensive tackle Red Bryant and safety Chris Clemons. Three have signed elsewhere: tackle Bobby Massie (Bears), tackle Bradley Sowell (Seahawks) and linebacker Sean Weatherspoon (Falcons).
Of the players remaining, money – as Arians mentioned – will dictate moves, but there are a few that likely remain on the radar: running back Chris Johnson, linebacker Dwight Freeney, and the aforementioned Powers and Johnson.
"We would like to improve some areas," Arians said. "Our best option (in free agency) always came in May and June, when a guy wants to come back. We'd like to get our football team back first."
That doesn't mean the divide might not be great between the players still looking for deals and the Cardinals' offers. As General Manager Steve Keim mentioned at last month's Scouting combine, "It's a situation where, 'You know what, if you
leave it on the table and test free agency, the offer may not stand.' "
"You have to draw your line in the sand, this is where we are at and if you don't want it, we're willing to move on as well," Keim added.
Johnson had a recent visit with the Tennessee Titans. There has been no news on Powers as of yet.
Safety Tyrann Mathieu noted how last year's secondary "created so much chemistry" with each other, although both he and cornerback Patrick Peterson acknowledged the very real possibility of change.
"It's the nature of the business," Peterson said. "By far it's one of the closest secondaries I've been a part of in my five years with the Cardinals and it will be tough to see those guys go. If it happens, it happens."
Interestingly, Arians said the Cardinals' "number one priority" in free agency was to bring Stanton back as a backup QB. Meanwhile, profootballtalk.com reported that Chris Johnson is looking at multiple teams and his future could be determined soon.
The other free agents from the Cardinals are guard Ted Larsen (reported interest from the 49ers), center Lyle Sendlein, linebacker Jason Babin, linebacker LaMarr Woodley and cornerback Corey White.
Images of the players who have re-upped with the Cardinals for the 2016 season