Contract Years Loom for Cardinal Players

Several Arizona Cardinals are currently prepping for what they hope to be a successful contract year. While the majority of the players hope their hard work is rewarded with a long-term deal with the Cardinals, the business aspect of the game may force them out of Arizona. Brad Wilbricht examines which players have the most to gain and lose in this exclusive.

The Arizona Cardinals nabbed LB Karlos Dansby with the franchise tag for the second straight season, forcing him to participate in another contract year. Dansby recorded a career-high 119 tackles and 4 sacks in 2008 but was unable to convince the Cardinals' front office that he's worthy of a long-term deal. At just 27 years of age, Dansby is searching for a lucrative multiyear contract but the two parties are still far apart in their negotiations.

In the event Dansby's contract is not restructured before the upcoming season, he'll once again be out to prove his worth. If he can stay healthy and produce for another full season, there's a good chance he'll receive the contract he's looking for. Whether or not his career will continue in Arizona past this season is still up in the air.

Adrian Wilson

Another important fixture of the Cardinals' defense looking for a new deal is SS Adrian Wilson. Wilson's current contract is up after the 2009 season and GM Rod Graves has been working diligently towards reaching a new agreement. Arizona and Wilson are hopeful they can continue their relationship and find common ground in their discussions.

After missing only two games during his first six NFL seasons, Wilson was limited to just nine contests in 2007. The Cardinals were leery of restructuring his contract at that time. However, Wilson followed that up with another solid campaign a year ago after compiling 75 tackles, 2.5 sacks and two interceptions. He remains a ball-hawking safety in the secondary and is known for laying extremely hard hits on the opposition.

On offense, a pair of lineman will have plenty to play for this season. LT Mike Gandy has been an unheralded player but has arguably been the catalyst of the Cardinals' offensive line. Since Gandy arrived in Arizona, he's been one of the more consistent performers in the trenches. Gandy has yet to miss a game and has allowed minimal sacks while protecting quarterbacks Kurt Warner and Matt Leinart.

If Gandy can continue to perform at a high level, he'll be in line for a large payday come next offseason. Offensive tackles are always in high demand and a proven commodity such as Gandy would be a hot target on the open market. Gandy could be rewarded with a new deal between now and the completion of next season in order to eliminate the chances of him leaving Arizona.

The Cardinals remain committed to giving backup guard Elton Brown plenty of chances to prove himself but his time may be running out in Arizona. Brown is known for his untapped potential but bringing his talent to the forefront has been a challenge.

Although Brown has tremendous size and versatility, he's been inconsistent throughout his career. Additionally, The Cardinals want to ensure he can stay healthy over the long haul. He played in all 16 games last year after playing in just 18 games over the previous two seasons combined.

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