The Cardinals are busy surveying the free agent landscape, hoping to add more key pieces to a core which has won 21 games over the past two seasons. Free agency begins on March 10, and we'll break down the team's needs at each position leading up to the signing period.
Free agent primer: Offensive line
Cap numbers of players under contract for 2015: T Jared Veldheer ($8.5 million); C Lyle Sendlein ($4.28 million); G Jonathan Cooper ($3.97 million); G/C Ted Larsen ($2.44 million); T Bobby Massie ($1.62 million); T Bradley Sowell ($760,000); G Earl Watford ($693,716); G Anthony Steen ($510,000); G Antoine McClain ($510,000); T Kelvin Palmer ($435,000); G John Fullington ($435,000); T Cameron Bradfield ($585,000); T Tavon Rooks ($435,000).
Scheduled free agent: G Paul Fanaika
Images of notable offensive linemen scheduled to hit free agency
Analysis: One of General Manager Steve Keim's stated priorities this offseason was to beef up the interior of the offensive line. The Cardinals are happy with Jared Veldheer and Bobby Massie at the tackle positions, but there was a noticeable lack of push in the running game in 2014, and becoming more physical inside would help. Jonathan Cooper, the team's No. 1 pick in 2013, should be fully healthy for offseason workouts as he aims to put a firm grip on the left guard position after starting only two games last year due to injury and ineffectiveness. Longtime center Lyle Sendlein is under contract, but a $4.28 million cap hit for a player who will be 31 next year may be prohibitive. The Cardinals could ask him to take a pay cut or look for a younger replacement. Ted Larsen started last year at guard, and he can either compete for a starting spot there or at center. Right guard Paul Fanaika is a free agent and could be brought back at a reasonable price if the Cardinals have interest. Bradley Sowell, Earl Watford and Anthony Steen are reserve options who will need to stand out in training camp to have a shot at a starting gig.
The Cardinals don't have a ton of cap room, but the re-working of wideout Larry Fitzgerald's contract combined with the release of wide receiver Ted Ginn and defensive tackle Darnell Dockett has given them some flexibility. The interior of the offensive line is one of the least expensive positions to fill, which would allow the Cardinals to go hard after a marquee name if they feel inclined and still have money left to spend on other areas. Keim and coach Bruce Arians have not been quiet about their desire to boost the offensive line productivity, which could result in a strong push at this position when free agency begins.
Notable past free agent OL signings by the Cardinals: Veldheer (2014); Larsen (2014); Eric Winston (2013); Adam Snyder (2012); Daryn Colledge (2011); Rex Hadnot (2010); Mike Gandy (2007); Al Johnson (2007); Milford Brown (2006); Oliver Ross (2005); Pete Kendall (2001); Mike Gruttadauria (2000); Lester Holmes (1998); Lomas Brown (1996).