NFL Arizona Cardinals

5 Arizona Cardinals Storylines to Follow Leading up to Free Agency

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5 Arizona Cardinals Storylines to Follow Leading up to Free Agency

Arizona Cardinals Free Agency
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The Arizona Cardinals have been trying to climb back to the top of the NFC for several years now. That climb was easier before the rest of their division got good, but this offseason will be key for them keeping up with the Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers.

Arizona needs to keep up with those teams because otherwise they can quickly find themselves falling into the bottom of the league. They were a very competitive team last year, and some have them slotted in as a surprise playoff team next year. That will only happen if they navigate the offseason waters well.

The Cardinals have a lot of big decisions to make heading into free agency. They have several players that might end up as salary-cap casualties, as well as players that they want to sign to long-term deals so they don’t have to fight for them in free agency down the road.

So often in the league we see teams in the position that the Cardinals find themselves in. They aren’t good enough to compete right now, but they aren’t really that bad either. They can go either way, but it all depends on what they do with their roster heading into free agency. They need to get better now, while making sure they don’t do anything to mortgage their future.

The Cardinals are going to be an interesting team over the next few months, and these are the storylines you should be watching heading into free agency.

Ben Sullivan is an NFL writer for Follow him on Twitter @bensullivan52, "Like" him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.

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5. Will They Give Patrick Peterson A New Deal?

Patrick Peterson Arizona Cardinals
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Patrick Peterson has been everything the Cardinals could have wanted when they made him the fifth overall pick in the 2011 draft. But, the only downside of having one of the best young defensive backs in the league is that you have to pay him like that at some point. The Cardinals want to avoid any potential franchise tag kind of ugliness and might look to sign him to a new contract this spring.

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4. Will They Let Ryan Williams Go?

Ryan Williams Arizona Cardinals
Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Williams has been a disappointment for the Cardinals since they took him in the second round of the 2011 draft. Injuries have kept him off the field, and with so many other free agent needs and the emergence of Andre Ellington, he could be a candidate to get his walking papers.

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3. Can They Bring Back Karlos Dansby?

Karlos Dansby Arizona Cardinals
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An inside linebacker coming off a career year, but at 32-years old, Karlos Dansby is likely to get plenty of big offers in free agency this year. He was an important part of what was a surprisingly good Arizona defense last year, but can they afford to bring him back?

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2. Who Will Protect Carson Palmer's Blind Side?

Arizona Cardinals Offensive Line
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The Arizona offensive line was one of the worst in the league last year. They especially struggled in pass blocking, and a new left tackle is their biggest need this year. They would like to find one in the draft, but without a first-round pick it’s unlikely they can get a franchise left tackle. They will likely bring someone in via free agency, but they don’t come cheap. It looks like Jared Veldheer will get a chance to test the open market, and he would be a good pickup for them.

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1. Do They Pay Daryl Washington His Roster Bonus?

Daryl Washington Arizona Cardinals
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Daryl Washington is due a $10 million roster bonus this year and the Cardinals might choose to let him walk rather than pay him the money. All signs point to him staying right now, but things can change quickly in the NFL. Washington produces on the field, but his off-field issues are a real concern.