Warner was knocked around and beat up all season. The 38-year-old had a very mediocre season compared to the previous two in the dessert, one in which he threw just as many interceptions as touchdowns. A frustrated Warner was a typical sight in 2009 as he couldn't get his high-powered offense to reach its full potential.
Possibly even more important to this situation is Warner's contract. He has already pocketed $19 million from the two-year, $23 million contract he signed before the season. With only $4 million on the plate this year, the future Hall-of-Famer doesn't have as much incentive to return. Warner, who has to be admired for bringing a much-needed consistency to Arizona's quarterback position the past three years, may decide to call it a career. This means that Matt Leinart would finally get the chance to take the helm. Leinart still has two years left on his original six-year rookie deal.
The team would not give new contracts to any of the big three....
Dockett has to be considered next, based on his play in 2009. He had a very good season, helping the Cardinals become one of the top run defenses in the league. The problem for Dockett is that he has two years left on his deal, and his performance in 2009 wasn't spectacular enough to garner a whopping new deal. The Cardinals will likely look to extend his contract after the 2010 season.
Boldin had an off year in 2009 as his injuries minimized his production. The Cardinals have no reason to give Boldin a Larry Fitzgerald-type contract this offseason. It's unlikely that Arizona would try to trade Boldin, since they won't get as much as they could have this past offseason. It is possible Boldin could get a new contract, but it won't be near the money he was originally calling for. In all likelihood, the Cardinals will make Boldin play out the final year of his contract in 2010.
They would be most excited about the play of…
Calais Campbell and Beanie Wells. Besides some of the more established leaders (i.e., Adrian Wilson, Dockett, Fitzgerald), these young players had very respectable seasons. Campbell had a great first season as a starter. At 6' 8", 290, he is a huge burden for offensive lines. Playing opposite Dockett, Campbell routinely helped plug running lanes and consistently got to the quarterback as well.
While Wells did not have astounding numbers in his rookie campaign, he showed why the Cardinals drafted him. He is a better all-around back than fellow running mate Tim Hightower, and should be the feature back heading into the 2010 season. Let's not forget that Hightower had a solid year, helping the passing game in particular. But it is Wells who is the future at the running back position in Arizona.
Mike Gandy. The veteran, who just finished his ninth year at tackle, struggled throughout much of the season. He was matched up against many a good defensive ends, and lost the battle too often. He simply did not do a good enough job of protecting his quarterback. Gandy wasn't the only offensive lineman to struggle, however. His shortfalls were just more noticeable.
The most targeted offseason addition would be…
Tight end. One could make a case that the offensive line needs help at different positions, but a talented tight end would open up Arizona's offense even more. The Cardinals simply don't have playmaking tight ends. A young, athletic tight end that could stretch the field would make life much easier on both the quarterback and the receivers. Arizona should strongly consider taking one with their first pick.