Putting a cap on it

Posted by Darren Urban on February 7, 2012 – 11:50 am

Sitting here in early February, more than a month before free agency (March 13), exact salary cap numbers are not yet important. But they will be. So with that, and to get some perspective (if not concrete groundwork) for what lies ahead for the front office, this breakdown by Omar Kelly at the Sun-Sentinel is helpful. The Cards, as of now, are schedule to have about $118 million against the cap, which is projected to be in the $123M-$124M range (it has not yet been set). This is a 2012 projection, so it already eliminates contracts that are expiring.

That number includes for now the contract of tackle Levi Brown, who is scheduled to have a cap number of almost $17M but won’t have that by the time free agency begins. Brown will either have to be restructured or be released, but even if he comes back, that will lower the number considerably. Right now, the Cards have 11 players who are scheduled to have cap numbers of at least $3M in 2012: Brown, WR Larry Fitzgerald ($14.5M), QB Kevin Kolb ($10.5M), DT Darnell Dockett ($6.6M), S Adrian Wilson ($7.5M), S Kerry Rhodes ($5M), LB Stewart Bradley ($6.5M), G Daryn Colledge ($5.5M) CB Patrick Peterson ($4.2M), C Lyle Sendlein ($3.3M) and TE Todd Heap ($3.4M).

That number will increase by one, one way or the other. Defensive end Calais Campbell’s cap hit should easily join that group, whether it is through a new long-term contract or because of a franchise tag (projected to be at least $10.5M for defensive ends.) That also doesn’t include the handful of restricted free agent tenders that must be submitted before free agency starts.

(A reminder, however, that the offseason cap is figured with only the top 51 salaries. The entire roster doesn’t have to be taken into account until the start of the regular season.)

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45 Responses to “Putting a cap on it”

  1. By John the Draft Guy on Feb 7, 2012 | Reply

    Do you know how much Bradley would count if released? Bradley is very expensive for a back up.

    What about Kolb if he is released? (I’m not saying release Kolb, well. unless Manning is ready to roll)

  2. By Darren Urban on Feb 7, 2012 | Reply

    John the Draft Guy —

    RE: Cap hits

    By my calculations, Bradley would be a $4M cap hit if cut, Kolb $8M, although I don’t expect either to happen.

  3. By VonKromDom on Feb 7, 2012 | Reply


    How likely is it, in your opinion that Stewart Bradley and Todd Heap get released?
    With Stewart’s huge salary and not playing much last season and Heap injured most of the time. They are pretty loaded at tight end anyway.

  4. By Darren Urban on Feb 7, 2012 | Reply

    VonKrom —

    RE: Getting cut

    I’d think it was more likely for Heap than Bradley.

  5. By D on Feb 7, 2012 | Reply

    Wow, it appears either by tag or a new deal, Campbell will eat alot of the space…I think they will have to cut or could cut Rhodes, Heap and Bradley to resign Campbell, Marshall, extend Toler and The Hyphen in order to still get a few good UFA players from other teams..

  6. By Hammy on Feb 7, 2012 | Reply


  7. By Paul H on Feb 7, 2012 | Reply

    Looking at the numbers. I would think the team would have to go to Brown,Bradley, and Heap and re-negotiate their contracts to lower amounts or let them go. It’s a game of bluff but it’s just business not personal like the Godfather says. As for Kolb, you would save 10.5 there if the team decides to bring in you know who.

  8. By cdubbbb on Feb 7, 2012 | Reply

    I’m still huge on trading Rhodes draft day. Freeing up cap space for FA is crucial if we want that #2 WR. Also we likely could get a 2nd or 3rd rd pick for him and the way we have been drafting lately, its worth it. Not to mention we can resign Marshall who plays 2 positions and Johnson to play FA seeing as how our D didn’t skip a beat with Rhodes sidelines, I say its a smart move. But you don’t just cut him! We need to bring in value for him.

  9. By AndyStandsUp on Feb 7, 2012 | Reply

    What about Joey Porter’s salary? How much will they save if he’s released before the league year starts?
    And wouldn’t cutting Chansi Stuckey and Rex Hadnot be more prudent than Heap and Bradley? They’re about half the cost, yet maybe a better business decision?

  10. By Darren Urban on Feb 7, 2012 | Reply

    AndyStands —

    RE: Porter/Stuckey/Hadnot

    Porter’s contract is about to expire. No need to cut him. Stuckey ($2.2M cap number) and Hadnot ($1.9M) are possible. You don’t want to completely undercut yourself at guard though; Lutui probably won’t return.

  11. By AndyStandsUp on Feb 7, 2012 | Reply

    Interesting that you project Duece won’t be on the squad, you have Hadnot over Lutui.
    How does this affect a potential Peyton Manning signing? It would take a huge signing bonus and maybe some veterans reworking their deals?
    Definitely would include Campbell working out a long term contract as opposed to being franchised, no?

  12. By Darren Urban on Feb 7, 2012 | Reply

    AndyStands —

    RE: Manning

    No way to know. Manning said he didn’t need guaranteed money; that includes a signing bonus. Way to many moving parts right now to be too specific.

    And Hadnot was ahead of Lutui all season. Why would that be “interesting” now?

  13. By cdubbbb on Feb 7, 2012 | Reply

    Hadnot also brings more versatility then Lutui, I remember whiz saying Hadnot was valuable because he can play all the positions on the OL in case of injury.

  14. By Ottis Anderson Fan on Feb 7, 2012 | Reply

    Cut Bradley and Heap and save $8.4 million.

  15. By Darren Urban on Feb 7, 2012 | Reply

    Ottis —

    RE: Heap/Bradley

    Not that easy, and people need to remember this. Remaining signing bonus means Bradley/Heap on roster costs $9.9M but cut they are still $5.1M against the cap.

    Not sure how you reached $8.4M.

  16. By AndyStandsUp on Feb 7, 2012 | Reply

    I thought it was curious that Lutui in your opinion, Darren, won’t make the team for the same reason you provided me about Hadnot. Not saying he can be a starter but he provides depth and the club isn’t going to sign someone like Carl Nicks from NO. He could sign for the veteran’s minimum.
    Plus he seemed to be a good influence on the sidelines.
    Since you’re onboard, is Richard Marshall going to ask for more than the 3.5 mil (?)he received this year, IYO?

  17. By Darren Urban on Feb 7, 2012 | Reply

    AndyStands —

    RE: Marshall request

    Wouldn’t be surprised.

    And in terms of Deuce, he a) wants more than the minimum, and b) wants to start. Not sure either is available here.

  18. By Born n Bred on Feb 7, 2012 | Reply

    Cmon Bradley has the talent… Give him mini camps OTAs and he will be on the same level as the others in the middle 3-4, and then his talents will shine… But as much as i hate to say it, as ive stuck by him and hoped they would tailor the O to Kolb, they will cut him and Peyton will be HERE… maybe he sits the pre season and 4 games to start the season..while skelton gets some burn.. and builds to the future..

  19. By Scott H on Feb 7, 2012 | Reply

    Darren –

    Your reply to Ottis ( RE: Heap / Bradley ) illustrates how complicated the salary cap really and how much people really do NOT understand it. I am well aware of my own ignorance and don’t pretend to know what I know I don’t know. This stuff would make my head explode. I can’t even imagine how complicated it must be to arrange 53 different salaries to comply with the cap requirements at any given time.

  20. By AndyStandsUp on Feb 7, 2012 | Reply

    If that’s Marshall’s asking price then I’m not sold. Would rather kick the tires with a Jefferson, Peterson, Adams and a returning Toler and Butler backfield than overspend. (And hopefully, Abdullah or Johnson can back up like S like Marshall did.)

    And shame on Lutui if he can’t recognize where he lays in the teams concepts.
    If that’s what he is looking for, he’s going to be disappointed and probably unemployed.

  21. By Rob Roy on Feb 7, 2012 | Reply

    Have enjoyed your post &updates, started my offseason DT’s, longtime Card Fan & season tix holder. Any thoughts on what can be done with Pro Bowl format from yours and players perspective, from a fan it wasn’t worth the time to get comfortable in my chair to watch.

    Are any of Cardinals charity events looking for volunteer staff for any events?

    Thanks again Darren for keeping us up to date.

  22. By Rich on Feb 7, 2012 | Reply

    Hadnot is a must stay as a versatile interior lineman. Stuckey is gone. Lutui is gone. Levi is gone. Doucet is gone. a handful of others are gone. need to sign a couple O linemand and draft a couple as well. Campbell is here to stay.

  23. By clssylssy on Feb 7, 2012 | Reply

    Good article Darren. Now that the rebuilding is beginning, it will be interesting to see what we are left with to spend on new acquisitions. It looks as though there is going to be a wealth of talent in the free agency and I hope the Cards will be willing to spend some money on beefing up the O-line. My Steeler friends are thrilled with their new OC, Todd Haley…PRESSURES ON!

  24. By BIG RED on Feb 7, 2012 | Reply

    Get rid of kolb and then give that money to Campbell.

  25. By Judy on Feb 7, 2012 | Reply

    How old is Hadnot?Is he good for a few more years.I have liked Lutui but if he is going to ask for more than he is worth .then let him go.

  26. By Darren Urban on Feb 8, 2012 | Reply

    Judy —

    RE: Hadnot age

    Rex just turned 30.

  27. By brad oneill on Feb 7, 2012 | Reply

    I think Lutui is a huge asset. no pun intended. if he learned his lesson and is staying away from the buffet lines he will be starting somewhere in the NFL hopefully it is with us.

    as for cap, Levi Brown and calais campbell are pretty much the key to the whole mess. levi is a lot like the obama administration, lots of promise but years of sub par performances hardly make another 4 years seem like a good idea.

    last year we really really really hoped they would get fitz signed, year before we really really really hoped they would get docket inked. this year we are all focused on campbell. will we get him? unlike breaston, dansby, rolle, boldin, etc etc etc.

  28. By Darren Urban on Feb 8, 2012 | Reply

    Brad —

    RE: Other players

    Lumping all those players in together like they had all the same situation is misleading. I would put Campbell in the Fitz/Dockett and I will go with Dansby. They were never high on bringing back Breaston with his knee issues, Rolle was looking to be the highest-paid safety and Boldin’s time was ticking as soon as he publicly went off on the organization. Some of these are apples to oranges.

  29. By TSHIF on Feb 7, 2012 | Reply

    I cannot believe the desire of cardinals fans to want to get rid of Bradley. He came from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4 defense give the guy an opportunity to get comfortable in the system before you get rid of the guy. The defensive schemes are a complete 180 degree turn. You’re asking a guy to do something that he has been told not to for the past 4 years. I think Washington and Bradley could be a very good combo with Scho and Acho on the outside. Also Kolb is not going anywhere unless PM comes to town. This team proved last year that they are ready to compete for playoffs and beyond. Although Bradley didnt play a lot of snaps he did make a lot of plays on special teams which doesnt go overlooked. Signing guys then cutting them the next year isnt good anyway you look at it. For team salary, team cap or probably most important of all camaraderie. This team gelled so well at the end of 2011 am I the only one that wants to see that continue in 2012 and beyond? Darren talk some sense into these people!

  30. By Stewart Badley on Feb 7, 2012 | Reply

    Big Red-

    Agreed, let happy feet go, he plays like a freshman QB in Hig School.
    Sign Cliff Avril 6′ 3” 260 lb. he is a DE, but has the speed to play OLB, he had 11 sack for the liones ths season, with him, Scho and Acho we are set at OLB. In the draft trade down if top 3 OT are gone by the time we pick at 13th and draft ILB Vontaze Burffict the best run stopper in the draft, next to Deryl Washington (one of the best cover LBs in the NFL) this deffense will be better than the SF 76rs.

  31. By John the Draft Guy on Feb 7, 2012 | Reply

    Seeing the numbers, I agree that it makes no sense to cut Bradley.

    Explain this to me if you can; At 118 mil now and a cap at roughly 124 mil, we have around 6 million. Cutting Brown frees up 17 million, giving us around 23 million.
    Now Campbell will take 10 million if no long term deal dropping us to 13 million.
    Then, we have to pay those tendered, which could be 2-5 million depending on who they tender. Lets say we have 9 million left to sign free agents.

    Is that all correct?

    Now, how does the rookie salaries come in to play. Do they come out of that 9 million above?

  32. By Darren Urban on Feb 8, 2012 | Reply

    John the Draft Guy —

    RE: Cap scenario

    Off the top of my head — as in, without looking it over in depth — that sounds about right. The rookies will take about $4M-$5M of cap space, I’d think. That will be helped by not having a second-rounder.

    They could also ask some guys to restructure, which wouldn’t cost the player any money long-term but could free cap space up now.

  33. By Stewart Badley on Feb 7, 2012 | Reply

    I want the Cardinals to stop wasting 1st and 2nd round draft picks in RBs, the running backs get injured a lot, RBs are like paper plates once you use them you throw them away and grab another one. Running Backs are made to be replaced every 4 years, draft them in the late rounds. Draft OTs, pass rushers and skill players in the early rounds. You win games by protecting your QB and putting pressure on theirs. GO CARDINALS

  34. By Ottis Anderson Fan on Feb 7, 2012 | Reply

    Thanks for that clarification Darren. I’d still cut them though or try to trade them.

    I’d be real tempted to trade Kolb for a couple of third rounders, but I don’t think anybody would bite on that. Just too much of an injury risk given his pricetag, IMO (which means zero).

  35. By PACardsfan on Feb 8, 2012 | Reply

    I know this is off topic, but going back to an earlier artical Darren wrote about. Here’s an interesting thought for those who believe in deja vo, ect. 07 NFC East NYG vs. NE , Giants win. 08 NFC Wests Cards. vs Steelers:( 09, NFC South NO vs. Colts NO wins. 10 NFC North GB vs Pitt. GB wins, and then 11, NFC Easts NYG vs. NE…..NYG win. Going by the Deja vo theory, it will be an NFC West team vs…….Steelers for the 12 SB. Rep. the west….Cardinals. therefore it will be another rematch, but this time around, NFC will finish 4-0 and have a champ from each division. The reason they will play Steelers, since the 1st round of NYG and NE SB, the Steelers have made it every other yr., so logically, and wishful thinking, the Steelers are due for the 12 SB and the Cardinals will rep. the NFC and tthe West. LOL just some silly and wishfully thoughts. 🙂

  36. By RedRumRBS on Feb 8, 2012 | Reply

    I cannot believe I am seeing comments from people suggesting that we cut Rhodes. That guy is an impact player when he is on the field. He had some set backs this year due to injury, but that doesn’t mean he needs to be cut. I remember him in the game he came back, streaking across the field he seemed to come out of nowhere to break up what would have been a long reception near the sideline. Keep Rhodes, we don’t have a better FS on the squad.

  37. By azflag on Feb 8, 2012 | Reply

    What is Rhodes cap hit/savings if cut?

  38. By Darren Urban on Feb 8, 2012 | Reply

    azflag —

    RE: Rhodes impact

    Rhodes’ current cap number is $5M. Would still be near $4M if released, from what I can tell.

  39. By Corgon on Feb 8, 2012 | Reply

    I hope the Cards will keep Heap and Kerry as well. Both of them are hell of a players. They had a bad year because of injjuries, but they presence on the field worth the price. Heap’s experience and toughness place above him all the other TEs and Kerry is a damn good safety and we need him in the backyard.

  40. By Voice of Reason on Feb 8, 2012 | Reply

    That Kolb number is also higher than it should be — may be time to approach him about speading that out.

  41. By Voice of Reason on Feb 8, 2012 | Reply

    I’m ok with a $4-$6 million cap number for a good, contributing starter, so the $5 million number for Kerry Rhodes doesn’t bother me at all. Nobody should be at $10m+ unless you are truly an elite player at WR (Fitz is fine), QB, or OT.

  42. By Awesomest wilson on Feb 8, 2012 | Reply

    Two years ago we were 80million under.we have won 13 games in the two cannot deny that whisenhunt has failed with the most complete,most talented and expensive rosters in cards history.we have regressed.joe bugel had an identical two yr run that put him on the street.same stats and injuries and a strike season.eerie.

  43. By cards62 on Feb 8, 2012 | Reply

    Darren very interesting article.

    Awesonest Wilson – I would take Joe Bugel right now to be my OL coach and pay him what I am paying Grimm, but Joe Bugel never lead us to the Superbowl so Ken W. has some currency for Superbowl, playoffs the next season and getting us back to 8 – 8 last year after a horrible start. The train is moving in the right direction so lets keep it going and see how we do in 2012.

    Voice of Reason I am with you. Kerry Rhodes is worth $ 5 million. I think our fans forget how good he was for us during 2010 and players do get injured. Rhodes is worth the risk for 2012. Kevin Kolb if we do not bring in another QB I would think would be open to restructuring so that we can bring in more talent around him which will make him look better and have a chance for success and more money in the future.

    Stuckey is long gone, and I do not care what we do with Doucet if the price is right, but we have to upgrade our WR position.

    Stewart Bradley is a hard one, but Darren pointed out the cap relief is not great for 2012 so I hope we roll the dice and he comes up big for us in 2012.

    The same goes for Todd Heap plus he was injured last year so I bring him back.
    (Full disclousure I am the unofficial President of the Todd Heap Fan Club)
    I think Heap can also help teach Housler how to be a professional and great TE.

    The offensive line is really tricky so I will throw some things out there and look forward to Darren and other Cardinal Fans feedback.

    I understand that we could lose Duece to free agency, but when the Bengals, only team with strips, do not take you there is a good chance you could be back. Hadnot started for us for 1 year and Duece for several seasons. If Duece is in shape I think we give him a shot and bring Hadnot back. I just do not know how much Duece loves football so this season is huge, no pun intended for him.

    I like Lyle S. the person and professional, but I just always notice him being pushed around or not opening a hole. Would like to see us move Daryn Colledge or another of our guards to center, and move wait for it
    Levi Brown to guard.

    If we can sign him for the right amount of money what about making Levi Brown a starting guard? Levi could also be our backup tackles in case one gets injured.

    Go Cards and Rod Graves you are on the clock.

  44. By Eazy E on Feb 8, 2012 | Reply

    AZ Flag-

    Why in the world would you want to cut our 2010-2011 defensive mvp in Kerry Rhodes? He broke his foot and had surgery and missed a huge chunk of the season, but when he came back, he had multiple pass deflections and in the Bengals game, got hurt, returned and had 2 big fumble recoveries, seems like he always makes plays when you need them especially and many times is in the right position, our ”Johnny on the spot” on the team.#Playmaker

  45. By awesomest wilson on Feb 9, 2012 | Reply

    being hurt doesnt keep your value.and safteys are a dime a dozen to a coach who knows only have a short window with an unaccomplished group aof players and a some point you cant turn into have to move on and get new plan and coach in place.

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