The Seahawks and 49ers have laid the gauntlet down in the NFC West with their recent wide receiver signings (Percy Harvin to Seattle, Anquan Boldin to San Francisco).
You know Jeff Fisher and the Rams have something up their sleeves as well, as we get closer to the official start of free agency.
So, what do the Cardinals need to do to keep up with the Joneses, or surpass them?
They let Adrian Wilson go and they re-signed Rashad Johnson, which was a good move. Johnson is a good, young talent that will only get better at the strong safety position. They need to bolster that position, which has a good mix of experience (Kerry Rhodes, James Sanders) and youth (Johnson, Justin Bethel), but could stand more knowledge and experience back there.
To make things even more complicated, Sanders is a free agent, so his staying in Arizona isn’t guaranteed if the grass is greener for him with another team.
They let Beanie Wells go (most people knew his time was done in Arizona, especially after his epic rant near the end of last season, basically putting himself on the market months before today). There’s questions about Ryan Williams and what his overall health will be like coming into the season, and if he can stand the load, if the team doesn’t land a guy like Rashard Mendenhall, Reggie Bush or Steven Jackson.
They lost out to LB Larry Foote, who re-upped with the Steelers. Foote would’ve been a solid addition at the inside linebacker spot for Arizona – a spot which is lacking depth now with the loss of Stewart Bradley and a spot that has an aging, but still solid Paris Lenon manning one of the posts.
Cornerback Greg Toler is expected to hit the market in a few hours. The Cardinals can’t afford to lose him, as they only have three cornerbacks currently under contract.
The tackle position looks promising coming into the season, providing Levi Brown comes back and stays healthy and Bobbie Massie and Nate Potter don’t regress in Year Two.
At that position though, you can never have enough bodies, as was evidenced last season.
Last, but not least, the quarterback position. What do they do with Kevin Kolb? Do they restructure or cut him? Do they make a run at another QB in free agency, or take a chance on a young talent in the NFL Draft next month?
There’s definitely good talent out there in free agency for the Cardinals to make a run at if they so desire (Quintin Mikell at safety, Eric Winston at tackle, Jason Campbell at quarterback, Ahmad Bradshaw at running back) just to name a few.
Whatever the team decides to do, they’ve got to move with the quickness and get the best players they can to fill out the 53-man roster, because you know their direct competition is already on their jobs.