Coping with the losses of Boldin and Dockett

While Anquan Boldin and Darnell Dockett are still both members of the Cardinals, it's possible that they won't be in the desert come next season. Boldin's situation started over a year ago and has been well documented. Meanwhile, Dockett recently stepped up his efforts by requesting a trade. With the 2009 season rapidly approaching, Brad Wilbricht takes a look at life without each player.

WR Anquan Boldin has been an integral part of the Cardinals' offense since his arrival in Arizona but like nearly every other player, he is replaceable. Out of a list of possible alternatives, wideouts Steve Breaston and Early Doucet would get first shot at stepping in for Boldin. Doucet might make the most sense as he's been described as a Boldin clone. Furthermore, Breaston has a tremendous ability to work the slot and his efforts could be maximized as a third receiver.

Playing nearly every position along the Cardinals' defensive line, DT Darnell Dockett has been a constant fixture in the trenches. He was a major reason for Arizona's post season success last year, but like Boldin he isn't irreplaceable. The Cardinals have been gradually accumulating a great deal of talent on the defensive line. Similar to Arizona's depth at wide receiver, there are players waiting to step up. Calais Campbell is available and itching at the chance to crack the starting lineup.

Adrian Wilson

Ironically both players were ecstatic to sign their re-structured contracts the first time around but have been deemed irrational with their recent demands. The Cardinals' front office hasn't budged on the contract issues upon them and seems determined to keep that stance. GM Rod Graves remains adamant about first working out new deals with SS Adrian Wilson and LB Karlos Dansby. Wilson is a proven veteran in the secondary and Dansby has been tagged with the franchise tag for two consecutive seasons.

Even if Boldin or Docket is traded, the blame can hardly be placed on Arizona. Each player has been treated fairly after outplaying their initial contract. However, limitations must be drawn and even key performers must be expected to fulfill their end of the bargain when an agreement is made. If Graves and company were to easily give into these demands, every present and future player in Arizona would be knocking on their door requesting more money the moment they find success.

While the NFL is certainly a business, the organizations around the league are also included in the equation and must make sound decisions in order to run a top-flight operation. Sure, the Cardinals have had their fair share of mishaps in the past but with Michael Bidwell now calling the shots they seemed to have turned the corner. They've taken a page out of the Pittsburgh Steelers book by literally refusing to negotiate with a player unless they are currently under contract for one year or less.

Arizona proved it's willing to pony up the money as long as the player has performed on the field and is in line to receive a new deal. WR Larry Fitzgerald's four-year $40 million contract finalized prior to last season is a perfect example. If Boldin and Dockett are smart, they'd put their contract issues aside while continuing to excel on the field. In doing so, they'll get what they deserve which is a new contract when the time is right.

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