No one expected General Manager Steve Keim and Coach Bruce Arians to invite media and fans into a board room and roll out their blueprint for the off-season. Teams tend to keep such plans confidential until it’s time to make moves. That leaves all of us to make guesses, educated and otherwise, about what will happen this off-season. The Cardinals made their first moves last week, releasing linebacker Stewart Bradley and cornerback William Gay. Everyone expected the move with Bradley, and it wasn’t a surprise that Gay departed. But Gay’s departure raises some questions about the plans for the secondary. He started 15 games a year ago, and two of the backup cornerbacks, Greg Toler and Michael Adams, are due to be unrestricted free agents. So is safety Rashad Johnson, who could replace Adrian Wilson in the starting lineup. Toler is the logical replacement for Gay. Toler’s agent, Hadley Engelhard, said today (Monday) he has not spoken to the Cardinals since the scouting combine. He’s hopeful of doing so sometime this week. Free agents can start to negotiate with other teams on Saturday and can sign beginning on March 12. Gay’s departure does put some pressure on the Cardinals to re-sign Toler. And it opens opportunities for a couple of second-year players, Jamell Fleming and Justin Bethel. A third-round pick a year ago, Fleming was inconsistent as a rookie and didn’t contribute as much as expected. Bethel, a sixth-round pick, has amazing athletic ability but played at a small college (Presbyterian) and is making the transition from safety to cornerback. If the Cardinals don’t re-sign Toler, they will need to sign a free agent. They might need a free agent even if Toler returns.
What’s the Arizona Cardinals primary plan for their secondary?
Arizona Republic | Mar 5