Perhaps more than any other team, the Cardinals face tough decisions on starters and key contributors scheduled to become free agents this offseason, or who will enter the final season of their contracts in 2010.
On that list is Pro Bowl FS Antrel Rolle, who’s entering the final season of his rookie deal. Cardinals GM Rod Graves told the team’s official Web site Wednesday that the organization is working on restructuring and extending Rolle’s current deal, which calls for a $4 million roster bonus in March and more than $8 million in salary.
Also on that list is LB Karlos Dansby, who’s scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent March 5. Recent reports have all indicated that the Cardinals won’t use the franchise tag on Dansby for the third consecutive year, allowing him to test the open market. However, the team’s official site reported that Graves has yet to make the final decision on whether the Cardinals will use their franchise or transition tags — the deadline is Feb. 25 — but also continues to reiterate that Arizona would like Dansby back.
One line of thinking — a strategy that NFL.com analyst Pat Kirwan touched on during his live chat earlier this week — is that the Cardinals could use the transition tag on Dansby. He still would be guaranteed a similarly high salary, but it would give the Cardinals the right to match any free-agent offer. If another team signs Dansby to an offer sheet that the Cardinals don’t mind matching, they have the right of first refusal to bring him back.
Two other defensive starters — DT Bryan Robinson and LB Chike Okeafor — also are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents.