By Cody Strahm @CodyJStrahm on May 25, 2014
Life isn't easy for Arizona Cardinals fans. Despite arguably being one of the top 10 teams in the league, the Cardinals missed out on the playoffs last season because they share a division with two juggernauts in the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers. If the Cardinals can continue to win, though, success will eventually come about. Here are five rumors surrounding the franchise during the development phase of the offseason.
Alex Okafor was an early fourth-round pick in 2013 who missed nearly his entire rookie season with a torn triceps. Players in similar circumstances are usually given at least one full season before they're considered a potential cut. But given the Cardinals' depth at outside linebacker, Okafor will have to earn his way onto the 53-man roster this summer.
It's long been suspected that defensive back Tyrann Mathieu would miss some time during the 2014 season after tearing his left ACL and MCL in Week 14 last December. But Mathiue's recovery is apparently going pretty well. GM Steve Keim recently told reporters "there's a chance" Mathieu will be cleared to return by Week 1.
Tight end Rob Housler has been a productive receiving option over the past two seasons, but head coach Bruce Arians prefers to utilize blocking tight ends in his offense. And with the acquisition of Notre Dame's Troy Niklas, a polished blocking prospect, in the draft, Housler would likely be a better fit elsewhere. Some believe he could be on the trading block and will be dealt to a team that loses a tight end to injury in the exhibition season.
Sam Acho may have lost more than just the majority of the 2013 season when he broke his fibula/ankle last September. He may be out of a starting job after Matt Shaughnessy filled in admirably during the final 13 games. Shaughnessy had opportunities to sign with a new team in March, but chose to return to Arizona where he's likely been given the keys to Acho's old starting spot.
Even after a breakout season, Michael Floyd has been turning heads at practice this spring. The Arizona Republic has tabbed Floyd as the club's "most impressive" player thus far during OTAs. Floyd has more than enough ability to continue to build on last year's success. Now that Larry Fitzgerald is 30 and hasn't crossed the 1,000-yard plateau since 2011, Floyd may need to take over the reigns as Arizona's go-to receiver sooner than expected.
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