Arizona Cardinals: Two Steps Back?

The Arizona Cardinals are pretty good at not showing their hand. Despite this, it shouldn't come as a shock that they released veteran safety Antrel Rolle in order to avoid a $4 million roster bonus that was due this week. That said, is Arizona's management reverting back to their old ways, or are fans in for better decision making?

The Arizona Cardinals are a team that's on the forefront of the 2010 free agency market. With Antrel Rolle now free to sign with who he wants, no franchise tag placed on Karlos Dansby, Anquan Boldin dangling like a worm in a lake and a need at quarterback, the Cardinals are garnering plenty of attention.

The first splash of the offseason was the Cardinals decision not to play tag with Dansby. Arizona avoided the $16 million price tag that would have come along with that decision.'s Jason La Canfora reported Friday morning that the Cardinals are making a strong push to retain Dansby. Although Dansby is meeting with the Dolphins on Friday, a team that he's expressed interest in, the Cardinals are waiting in the wings with their checkbook in hand.

Karlos Dansby

Dansby's contract dilemma is in its third year running. But the Cardinals value what Dansby brings to their organization. Dansby's versatility and athleticism has meant a lot to the team. The Cardinals can ill-afford to lose Dansby, but that's the chance they took.

The Cardinals also can't afford to lose Rolle but that's another chance they took in order to avoid paying him a $4 million roster bonus, plus the $8 million of salary he was due this season.

Rolle's integration into the safety position is something the Cardinals not only pride themselves, but also an integral part of a weakening secondary.

So why not just pay Rolle? The roster bonus was never intended to be paid but was rather a mechanism to initiate another long-term contract. With Rolle able to sign anywhere, the Cardinals might be kicking themselves in the butt if they can't find a suitable replacement.

The Cardinals hope to earn some extra elbow room by using Boldin as bait. A third-round pick seems to be the popular consensus in terms of Boldin's trade value. Had the Cardinals opted to shop him last year, rather than waiting to see what fell in their laps, the severance package could have been sweeter. To top it off, the Cardinals wouldn't have missed much from their Pro Bowler.

On the quarterback front, Matt Leinart is the only quarterback on the Cardinals roster. While that statement has been repeated time and again, it's important to look at what the Cardinals can actually do to fix it. Arizona needs a veteran quarterback on the roster, and it also needs one to develop for the long-term solution.

This quarterback draft class isn't as impressive- for a team that could maybe wait until next year- as the Cardinals would like to see.

The Panthers cut ties with Jake Delhomme. He was cut for a reason, but the Cardinals options are slim.

Did AZ Miss the Boat?

The New York Jets landed Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie's cousin Antonio Cromartie for just a 2011 third-round pick that could be a second-round pick if a long-term deal is reached. While Cromartie, who once caught the league's attention with his pick-worthy habits, came at a low price tag, the Cardinals aren't missing much. Cromartie has fundamental field issues. Cromartie is soft in tackling and also seems to guess in coverage. Those two issues have also been placed on Rodgers-Cromartie.

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