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The Potential "Fool's Gold" Of Free Agency

Free agency is approaching next month -- the "legal tampering" period begins March 16, with the free agent signing period itself starting March 18 -- and it will be a crucial time for the Cardinals to fill particular holes.

How the Cards approach it, even with estimated cap space (via a smidge under $40 million, will be carefully considered.

"Whether it's signing our own players or going out in free agency, knowing the fact it can be fool's gold," GM Steve Keim said Tuesday while at the NFL Scouting combine. "Any contract that's been over $5 million the last 10 years has really had a success rate of about 40 percent. So it just goes to show you that going out and signing the big-name free agent isn't always the answer."

That feels like a douse of cold water on any big-name acquisitions, although Keim did allow that "it comes to that individual player and that situation."

Over the years, Keim noted, the Cardinals' best work has been in the free agency post-initial wave. Already, the Cardinals did make a couple of free agent moves -- they re-signed Larry Fitzgerald and D.J. Humphries, which was not only important to the team, but significant signings monetarily. The push for key free-agents-to-be to get re-signed by their current teams ramps up here in Indy (Chiefs GM Brett Veach, for instance, talked about the effort to re-sign DT Chris Jones and that using a franchise tag is an option), and that will change the free-agent landscape by the time the calendar gets to mid-March.

Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim speaks during a press conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)