Around the League is taking a look at each team's salary-cap situation heading into training camp. We continue with the Arizona Cardinals.
Adjusted Cap Number: $123.797 million
Cap Room Remaining: $4.552 million
Best Bargain: Despite missing a game early in the season, inside linebacker Daryl Washington led the Arizona Cardinals with 106 tackles, finishing the season strong with 23 tackles over the final two games. Washington added five sacks, third-highest total on the team, and had a team-high 16 tackles for a loss. Still on his rookie contract, the 2010 second-round pick will earn $540,000 in base salary and a $25,000 workout bonus and counts $983,750 against the team's cap this season. Washington will earn the league minimum in 2013 with no possibility of base salary escalation, as is the case with most contracts for second-round picks in the previous collective bargaining agreement.
Like Washington, 2010 draft pick John Skelton will make $540,000 in base salary this season (no workout), making him the third-highest paid quarterback on the roster behind Kevin Kolb ($8.5 million total compensation) and Richard Bartel ($615,000 base salary). If Skelton earns the starting job this summer, his salary would make him a bargain regardless of how he performs.
Potential Camp Casualty: Following last year's lockout, the Cardinals signed inside linebacker Stewart Bradley to a five-year, $30 million contract. In a 4-3 system throughout his career, Bradley was unable to unseat Paris Lenon for a starting job and finished his first season in the desert with 21 tackles in very limited action on defense. Bradley took a 50 percent pay cut this offseason, reducing his base salary from $5 million to $2.5 million, which is partially guaranteed (for injury). If Bradley still struggles to pick up the 3-4, and some of the younger prospects close the gap, the Cardinals could part ways with him before the start of the season.
Contract Issue Looming In 2013: Restricted free agents LaRod Stephens-Howling, Rashad Johnson and Gregory Toler will be unrestricted in 2013, but are not the biggest contract issue on the Cardinals for 2013. That distinction belongs to Kolb, who is in year two of a five-year, $62.1 million extension. Kolb will earn $20.5 million over the first two seasons of that deal, but will need to solidify himself as the starter this season to keep that deal intact. Kolb's base salaries swell to $9 million in 2013 (and $10 million each year after that) and has a $2 million roster bonus next offseason that pushes his cap number to $13.5 million. That's not backup quarterback money.