DeAndre Hopkins was carrying a $25 million salary cap number, but he also -- conveniently -- had a roster bonus of more than $10 million coming to him soon. The Cardinals made that into a signing bonus, in order to distribute the salary cap number across the rest of Hop's contract. The move saved the Cardinals a little more than $7 million on the salary cap according to ESPN's Field Yates.
I know everyone wants to know how much salary cap space the Cardinals have right now but everything is moving so fast -- and not all numbers are in yet (McCoy, Gardeck, Dogbe) -- that it's impossible to know for sure. Overthecap.com has them with a little less than $11 million of cap space, but that doesn't include the three guys I just listed nor has it computed yet Justin Pugh's reworked 2022.
The new deals for running back James Conner and tight end Zach Ertz also are, not surprisingly, cap friendly for 2022. According to overthecap.com, Conner got a $6 million signing bonus and his salaries for both 2022 ($1.75M) and 2023 ($5.75M) are guaranteed. His cap number this season is only $3.975M (and $10M in 2023).
Ertz got an $8M signing bonus, and his full 2022 salary of $2.5 is guaranteed along with $4M of his $8.76M salary. His cap number in 2022 is $4.75M (and $12.85M in 2023.)
Free agency "officially" begins Wednesday at 1 p.m. That's when players can sign with new teams for real, when Chase Edmonds can first sign his deal with the Dolphins and Christian Kirk his deal with the Jaguars. We're still waiting for Chandler Jones to pop up in the speculation (it had been reported the Broncos had him second on their list had they not gotten Randy Gregory.)
And at some point, the Cardinals will dip into the market and sign someone who didn't play for them in 2021.