Will Faneca reunite with Whisenhunt?

With four teams still competing for a spot in Super Bowl XLII, the Cardinals are already preparing to make a run at The Big Game in 2009. General Manager Rod Graves is scouting pending free agents to determine which players could put the Cardinals over the top next season.

Each year, the free-agent signing season brings Cardinals fans a new hope for next season. Seemingly always just one player away, the next two months will be a time of team evaluation to find the weak links in a roster that could definitely use a boost.

Each year, a bevy of NFL talent tests the free-agent market in search of more money or that coveted Super Bowl ring, while other players find themselves unceremoniously thrust into the market as casualties of the league's salary cap.

The Cardinals player personnel department, not known for big spending when shopping for talent, should sit up and take notice of a few soon-to-be available players who might fill a couple of glaring holes in the lineup.

The offensive line is one area that could use an upgrade. Perennial Pro Bowl guard and pending free agent Alan Faneca, 31, has ties to the Cardinals coaching staff, as he played for Ken Whisenhunt and Russ Grimm during their days as Pittsburgh Steelers. Faneca would inject the line with some much needed grit and leadership.

Also on the offense's wish list should be an additional tight end. L.J. Smith, the Philadelphia Eagles' third-year man out of Rutgers, would make for a stellar addition. He would sharpen the Cardinals' two-tight end sets and provide a complementary bookend to promising youngster Leonard Pope.

Smith's presence would also attract attention from opposing linebackers, which could unpack the middle of the field for Edgerrin James.

Which free agents should the Cards target? Thresh it out in our message boards.


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