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Free agency looms big — next year

Posted by Darren Urban on January 6, 2015 – 4:21 pm

I have posted my annual roster breakdown, where you can see (right here) where everyone of note on the current roster stands in terms of how long their contract runs — at least right now, before guys are released or extended or otherwise restructured. If you want to see the details of this year’s free-agent concerns, here’s my story on that. But one of the things you notice when you peruse the list of players is just how many guys have their contracts expire after the 2015 season.

By my count, it’s 25 guys, and while that will most certainly change by this time next year — a rookie class will push some of those guys off the roster, for instance — it’s something to watch as General Manager Steve Keim maneuvers through this offseason. Many of these players are up so soon because they were found off the street or as undrafted rookies and had shorter-term contracts. But, at least for now, here are some of the names that are scheduled to be up after 2015:

— DT Darnell Dockett
— QB Drew Stanton
— WR Michael Floyd (who does have a 2016 team option)
— C Lyle Sendlein
— T Bobby Massie
— DE Frostee Rucker
— LB Matt Shaughnessy
— CB Justin Bethel
— CB Jerraud Powers
— S Rashad Johnson
— S Tony Jefferson

Again, I don’t expect all of them to remain on that schedule. The Cardinals will make an attempt to extend some of them. Others could be released as the normal roster overhaul takes place. But this is the way a team clears cap space and doesn’t get into cap problems, like Keim has worked to try and do. It means there are few real long-term deals. And more work every offseason.

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20 Responses to “Free agency looms big — next year”

  1. By D on Jan 6, 2015 | Reply

    Of the above list, I only see Floyd, Bethel and Jefferson candidates for extensions before the 2015 season, with Massie having one more year to prove it.

  2. By Dynosoar on Jan 6, 2015 | Reply

    That;s an impressive list.

    Looking forward to Keim’s magic.

  3. By Big Ken on Jan 6, 2015 | Reply

    Good stuff Darren.

  4. By joe.holst on Jan 6, 2015 | Reply

    Starts with#1 Michael Floyd bar none. #2 is Bobby Massie #3 Rashad Johnson #4 Drew Stanton #5Tony Jefferson #6 Justin Bethel #7 Darnell Dockett #8 Lyle Sendlein #9 Frostee Rucker #10 Powers.

  5. By georgiebird on Jan 6, 2015 | Reply

    Darren,
    Excellent summary of the roster. We can see why BA is a COY in waiting.
    Cards won 11 games in 2014- it was a great season for Cards’ fans regardless of how it finished. But 2014 is over so let’s go forward.
    The Cards seem to be an 8-8 team going into 2015 with maybe an outside shot at 10-6 if all goes right and tight games become wins. If SK concedes the West to Seattle in 2015 then I don’t expect Carson, Larry or DD back with their current contacts..

  6. By Cardinal on Jan 6, 2015 | Reply

    Darren, Thanks for another great year of Cardinal Coverage.

  7. By Richard S on Jan 6, 2015 | Reply

    From the Sacramento Bee:
    Colin Kaepernick, who last month said he was compiling a list of quarterback experts with which to work this offseason, has settled on a spot.

    The 49ers quarterback will train at EXOS performance in the Phoenix area where he will study with former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner and quarterback coach Dennis Gile, who played in the NFL, CFL and, until 2 1/2 years ago, the Arena League.

    Say it ain’t so Kurt
    Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/sports/nfl/san-francisco-49ers/article5526549.html#storylink=cpy

  8. By superbowlcards on Jan 6, 2015 | Reply

    Before everyone starts posting about the big names on the 2015 FA list, or even the big names we have to deal with coming up real soon in March, There is one HUGE name on this years list that will probably go unnoticed because he is such a steady performer week in week out, year in year out, Long snapper M. LEACH is a must to resign, year after year you never here his name mentioned, that is because he is one of the very best long snappers in the NFL, if not the best!! Cardinals need to pay him as such, all the coaches know how important he is to our team, quite a few fans don’t realize just how important or just how well he does his job until you dont have him snapping the ball for our Cardinals anymore, I say make sure he is the highest paid long snapper in the game, make sure he remains a Cardinal until he retires!!!!!

  9. By superbowlcards on Jan 6, 2015 | Reply

    One other thought, Jonathon Cooper is very perplexing to me, I was on the side of the “Coop is a rookie basically, suffered a devastating leg injury prior to his first professional game, he will do fine, just needs some time” but seems he was injured all season with one injury or another, none of which had to do with the broken leg except early in the season, saw just a few glimpses of his potential at least in the running game, he seemed to run block very well when he was in the game or not inactive for one injury or another. I didnt follow real close in college but I dont remember chronic injuries being a concern on draft day, I hope all these rash of injuries dont continue into next season, if the Cardinals draft or sign a veteran workhorse RB (that they really need!) Cooper will be a key component of our oline, and will be needed to establish a running game, Cardinals cant go into next season with Ellington as the feature RB, he will just end up on IR again, AE can have an awesome season but not as a workhorse, mix in 10-12 carries and 8-10 targets in the passing game, 3rd down back type, screen passes as well, I would like to see him as a slot receiver, or something like an H-back type roll, I.firmly believe Ellington’s numbers would be so much better if he is used as a sort of all purpose RB, he is just not built to be a between the tackles feature, workhorse type of back, if they limit his snaps and the situations that he is on the field I think he could easily rush for 650-750 yards, and 500-600 yards through the air, that combined with a workhorse/feature back (either a 2nd or 3rd round draft pick, or K. Williams could quite possibly be the answer!) that could pound out 1000-1200 yards, the Cardinals could have a legitimate running game that would do Carson Palmer wonders, defenses could no longer load the box, they would have to respect our running game, which I think has MVP for Palmer written all over it.

    I would have included Grice and even Taylor in with Kerwynn (sp) but I didnt get to see enough of either to have a comment on the RB by committee option, that would allow Cardinals to use a high draft pick elsewhere, possibly ILB, or a second pass rusher (assuming the 1st round pick will be a pass rush specialist) anyone on here think the RB by committee has any chance, or would we be better served to get a big name RB high in the draft, or sign a proven veteran RB in free agency?? I would like to see the committee of Williams, Ellington, Grice, Taylor emerge to give the Cardinals a formidable running game, and allow the Cardinals to use that high draft pick elsewhere, Ellington would be on the field more but wouldn’t have to be the power workhorse, he would be a key piece but more balance between run and pass, which would allow him to thrive, still put up great numbers, but save him the workhorse powerback beating, and keep him off IR. Anyone think this RB set-up using RB’s we already have on the roster has a chance to work, or is it just wishful thinking on my part?? I wish I could have saw more of Grice and Taylor especially, I think I could form a better opinion on wether it would work or not. Thanks for listening.

  10. By rod on Jan 6, 2015 | Reply

    Bethel has played his arse off!! It’ll be nice to see that guy get some coin.

  11. By Dr. G. on Jan 6, 2015 | Reply

    One quick scan of this list would encourage the GM to extend 6 or 7 of the 11 and leave the remainder to evaluate next year. Floyd, Bethel, Rashad, & Powers are the tops…

    Of course, the Fitz thing is the noisiest thing on the menu at this point. I will be happy when it is resolved. ((Do it now!)) There is some speculation that there could be trade interest ((Pats)) if he would agree to a much reworked deal. That would have to be done prior to the March deadline to cut him, ‘cuz then he would be up for grabs.

    If Larry wants to test the market, I think it will be eye-opening to realize his perceived WR2 value. He needs this. Then, some think the Cards could sign him for an equal bid. But, here is the RUB…Fitz is not in love with the play calling ((agreed)). So, if I were his counsel, for the benefit of his sanity, I would recommend that he accepts another offer if he gets one with a general caveat that he is to be used as a weapon instead of a decoy… The Cards could sign for the 1-day contract for the Ring-of-Honor later on….

    .later…I repose…

  12. By Marlin on Jan 7, 2015 | Reply

    That’s why its so important to draft well. Everybody talks about how great the 49ers are…..but an entire draft class of theirs from a couple years ago is no longer with the team. We have, or will have, talent ready to step in.

  13. By grabling on Jan 7, 2015 | Reply

    Keim please cut these players:

    – Rashad Johnson (he missed a lot of tackles)
    – Butler
    – Stanton (he is not a good Qb backup)
    – Lindley
    – Ted Gynn
    – Sendlien (this team needs a better player in this position)

  14. By Seth Maddox on Jan 7, 2015 | Reply

    Isn’t there a team option for a fifth year on Floyd’s deal? I thought that was the new norm for first round rookie contracts.

  15. By Darren Urban on Jan 7, 2015 | Reply

    Seth —

    RE: Option

    That is correct. There is a team option. But until it is invoked, he remains scheduled to be a free agent.

  16. By Areg on Jan 7, 2015 | Reply

    I don’t understand what the fuss is every year about Sendlein. Every year he also seems to be team captain. Not that he’s been bad just seems like an area the team could use some improvement. Darren any chance you see the Cards drafting a center in the later rounds and having it pan out like the Packers did?

  17. By Darren Urban on Jan 7, 2015 | Reply

    Areg —

    RE: Center

    I could see them trying to upgrade there, yes.

  18. By Coach K on Jan 7, 2015 | Reply

    You build longevity of success through the draft. FA is for short term. We need to hit on at least 5 of our 7 picks this year.

    FA is like buying a used car. You buy someone else’s trouble.

    Keim and Arians need to hit home runs in this draft to make up for horrible drafts the Cardinals made in the previous four years.

    The best drafting teams the last Decade have been New England, Green Bay and Pittsburgh.

    Keim needs to hit a home run this next draft with at least 5 keepers out of 7.

  19. By Sean on Jan 9, 2015 | Reply

    Great point Areg! Sendlein is a great guy, but the 32nd rated center in the league by PFF! I bitched about it last year, and Darren told me how much the coaching staff loves him, and that he wasn’t going anywhere….Really?? Great guy doesn’t = a great player, and Sendlein sucks!! If we get a quality center & Watford works out, or we draft another guard, our O-line should be amazing. All season long we had pressure up the middle, horrible run blocking & I’m so tired of watching Sendlein helping on a double team while an untouched pass rusher runs by him….I’m sure Stanton would be in favor as well! If Sendlein actually blocked someone on that play, Stanton wouldn’t have had Aaron Donald on his back!

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