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Free Agency Primer 2016: Special Teams

Cardinals need long-snapper and could bring in another punter

The Cardinals' front office is surveying the free agent landscape, hoping to complement a core which went 13-3 last season and advanced to the NFC Championship game. Free agency begins on March 9, and we'll break down the team's needs at each position leading up to the signing period.

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

Free agent primer:Special teams

Cap numbers of players under contract for 2016: P Drew Butler ($700,000); K Chandler Catanzaro ($600,500)

Scheduled free agents: None

Announced retirement: LS Mike Leach

Need: Medium

Images of free agent specialists scheduled to hit the open market

Analysis: The Cardinals re-signed restricted free agent punter Drew Butler to a two-year contract as he hopes to retain the job for a third season. Butler is in the fold, but the team could decide to bring in another punter as competition during the offseason and training camp. While Butler was 32nd in the NFL in net punt yardage in 2015, the coaching staff has always been quick to defend him when questions arise about his performance.

Kicker Chandler Catanzaro hit 28-of-31 field goals in 2015 and made a pair of game-winners. However, he was 0-for-2 from beyond 50 yards and more distressingly, missed five extra points from the new 33-yard distance. Coach Bruce Arians criticized Catanzaro for missing the extra points late in the season, but eased off once he studied the percentages made by kickers around the league. Catanzaro will be back and he's probably been good enough to have a hold on the job.

The Cardinals will need a new long-snapper following Mike Leach's retirement. He was as steady as they come, and the team will aim to find a replacement that is as consistent. The Cardinals could look at undrafted rookie free agents to compete for some of these spots, since veterans are more expensive.

Notable past free agent ST signings by the Cardinals: Catanzaro (2014); Butler (2014); Dave 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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