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Free Agency Primer 2015: Special Teams

Only minor changes needed as kicking game appears set

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.

More free agent analysis: QBI RB I WR I TE I OL

Free agent primer: Special teams

Cap numbers of players under contract for 2015: P Dave Zastudil ($1.63 million); P Drew Butler ($585,000); K Chandler Catanzaro ($510,500)

Scheduled free agent: LS Mike Leach

Need: Low

Images of notable special teamers scheduled to hit free agency

Analysis: The emergence of rookie Chandler Catanzaro last year solidified the kicking position, and Dave Zastudil is expected to return as the punter after a groin injury sidelined him for all but one game in 2014. Long snapper Mike Leach is a free agent, but continues to do the job at a high level. The Cardinals may keep an eye out for a younger and cheaper option, but Leach has been accurate as a snapper and does a nice job on special teams. The Cardinals will need to find a replacement for Ted Ginn on punt and kick returns. There are special teams standouts like Jacoby Jones and Josh Cribbs available, but it's unknown if the front office will want to use a wide receiver spot on a player who is primarily a special teams option. The draft or an internal player could be the choice to fill the role instead.

The Cardinals answered their big special teams question last season by adding Catanzaro, and while there is work to be done again in 2015, the moves figure to be minor.

Notable past free agent ST signings by the Cardinals: Catanzaro (2014); Zastudil (2011); K Jay Feely (2010); K Mike Nugent (2009); LS Mike Leach (2009);  P Ben Graham (2008); P Dirk Johnson (2008); K Neil Rackers (2003); LS Nathan Hodel (2001); K Cary Blanchard (2000); K Chris Jacke (1998); P Scott Player (1998); K Joe Nedney (1997);  LS Trey Junkin (1996); P Jeff Feagles (1994).

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