Salary cap space
As of March 17, the Cardinals are projected to have $17,628,815 in available cap space for the 2021 season.
The Cardinals rolled over $5 million in 2020 cap space.
March 10 update: The salary cap has been set at $182.5 million
Over the first half of the season, it looked like the Arizona Cardinals might sneak into the playoffs. They very nearly did, and it all came down to the final week of the season. However, they lost that one, finishing the year 8-8 thanks mostly to a disappointing 3-6 record over their last nine games. Now, the focus shifts to putting together the pieces this team needs to get over that hump.
On paper, the Cardinals have a decent amount of cap space, but they face a tricky situation with so many of their starters ticketed for free agency this year.
The NFL powered through its 2020 season amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The league played without fans in most stadiums, and limited fans in a handful of locations. The decrease in gate revenue is going to result in a decrease in money shared between the 32 teams. This in turn means the salary cap has been decreased. The NFL has announced an official salary cap of $182.5 million, which is sure to result in some tough choices for many teams.
All salary cap information below comes courtesy of the NFLPA Public Salary Cap Report.
That’s a decent amount of cap space, but one issue here is that the Cardinals only have 33 players under contract for the upcoming season. One position group especially hard hit is the secondary where cornerbacks Johnathan Joseph, Dre Kirkpatrick, Kevin Peterson, and Patrick Peterson are all scheduled to be free agents.
Beyond Peterson and Kirkpatrick, their starting corners in 2020, the list of free agents also includes Larry Fitzgerald; Kenyan Drake; linebackers Haason Reddick, Markus Golden and De’Vondre Campbell; and even their kicker and punter. Fitzgerald could retire, and Drake seems easy enough to replace at a lesser rate.
Chandler Jones is in the final year of his contract with the team. He also has the biggest cap hit of anyone at more than $20.8 million. They could extend the 30-year-old pass rusher and push some of his cap burden down the road. Left guard Justin Pugh, with his $11 million+ cap hit, is another candidate for a contract restructure.
Left tackle D.J. Humpries’ contract has two more years left on it. Obviously, the Cardinals need him, but they could also restructure his deal to move around his $19 million cap hit this season.