The Cardinals have as much work to do over the next few weeks as any other team in the NFL.
They don't have a starting quarterback. The interior of the offensive line needs to be re-signed, or rebuilt. They have a new defensive coordinator who has spent just a few hours with a handful of his new players.
Factor all that in with the fact they are coming off a 5-11 season, and the task seems more daunting.
What the Cardinals have going for them is that Ken Whisenhunt has shown he's capable of leading a team through tumultuous times. The team is well under the salary cap of around $120 million. More important, the Cardinals play in the NFC West, where a team doesn't have to be even mediocre to win the division. (See Seattle, 7-9 last season.)
"Hopefully, the crunch of time will us to get some of our guys (re-signed)," Whisenhunt said. "It's going to be hard for a player to start new in a new city, especially with family considerations. Maybe that will give you a better chance of getting your own guys signed."
The Cardinals will be active on simultaneous fronts when free agency begins.
They will immediately try to re-sign some key players due to be unrestricted free agents: center Lyle Sendlein, right guard Deuce Lutui and receiver Steve Breaston.
All are starters.
The pursuit of a quarterback, however, will command most of the attention. Eagles backup Kevin Kolb tops the Cardinals wish list, and they are expected to make a call to Philadelphia as soon as possible.
The Cardinals likely will offer cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who didn't play nearly as well last season as he did in 2009, when he made the Pro Bowl.
The Cardinals aren't anxious to part with Rodgers-Cromartie, who is entering only his fourth season. But they know they are going to have to pay a premium for Kolb, who could also be targeted by a handful of other clubs including Seattle.
Most likely, it will take more than Rodgers-Cromartie to get him. The Cardinals probably will agree to send a draft pick to the Eagles, although they will be skittish if it's more than a third-round pick.
Whisenhunt has declined to address the Kolb rumors, mostly because Kolb is under contract with another team. But overall, Whisenhunt knows the Cardinals are going to have to move quickly.
They enter this offseason with only 41 players under contract.
"It's going to go from zero to 100 from a working perspective for us," Whisenhunt said. "It's going to be 24 hours a day, seven days a week just because of the volume of what you have to get done.
"There is going to be a sense of urgency on both sides, not only from the team perspective but from the player perspective," he said.
Cards have sense of urgency at several spots
CardinalsSource Top Stories
Palmer 'fine,' Brown doubtful for SundayArizona Cardinals' wide receiver John Brown was diagnosed with a sickle-cell trait that has been causing pain in his legs.
CardinalsSourceFriday at 1:24 PM
Bettcher breaks down Seahawks' offenseArizona Cardinals' defensive coordinator thinks both Russell Wilson and Jimmie Graham are back to full health for a Seattle offense that needs them to play their best.
CardinalsSourceFriday at 8:25 AM
Cardinals prep for NFL's top defenseThe Seattle Seahawks enter Sunday night's matchup allowing just 15.6 points per game through their first six games.
CardinalsSourceThursday at 3:22 PM
Cardinals injury situation improvingThe Arizona Cardinals should have Mike Iupati back for Sunday's contest against Seattle.
CardinalsSourceWednesday at 6:11 PM
Run game opening up Cardinals' offenseThe presence of running back David Johnson has allowed Bruce Arians' flexibility in the Cardinals' offensive play-calling.
CardinalsSourceWednesday at 4:03 PM