Cardinals Likely to Lose Pace to Free Agency

CardinalInsider.com has the latest on Arizona's negotiations with free agent linebacker Calvin Pace. Find out why media reports calling this a "done deal" are far from true. Amberly Richardson checks in with Scout.com's Adam Caplan to find out why negotiations are falling apart and who the Cardinals would bring it to replace Pace.

According to Scout.com's Adam Caplan, a Cardinals team insider states Calvin Pace's chances of returning are less than 50-50 as of Monday. Pace is looking for a large contract after a breakout season in which he set career-highs with 98 tackles and six sacks.

The talks are ongoing and, according to Caplan, more details will be available later this week. Pace is expected to draw ample interest on the open market, particularly from teams with 3-4 defenses.

The Cardinals are wary of breaking the bank for Pace, who was a disappointment before last season's breakthrough performance. One Cardinals defensive coach wondered aloud during Senior Bowl week if Pace's increased productivity was due to the switch to the 3-4 defense or the opportunity to cash in on a contract year.

Pace's dismissal would be good news for Chike Okeafor, who would take over as the starting outside linebacker after missing last season with a torn biceps. Okeafor is not as comfortable in space as Pace, but he is a superior pass rusher.

Darryl Blackstock would maintain his spot as the top backup linebacker, and the team would like to see more of him in 2008. Blackstock, a former third-round pick, earned a career-high 21 tackles and three sacks last season. He has played in every game each of the last two seasons.

As for Karlos Dansby, Caplan confirms that the Cardinals never had any intention of letting him hit the open market. Cardinals coaches love the versatility he showed in Clancy Pendergast's attacking system.

With rumors floating around that the Philadelphia Eagles are interested in Larry Fitzgerald and the Indianapolis Colts want to bring back Edgerrin James, Bill Bidwill better loosen the purse strings or he may bid farewell to his top playmakers.

Amberly Richardson is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a correspondent for Scout.com. She has contributed to the official Web sites of several NFL players for Sixthman Communications.


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