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on Twitter NFL raises salary cap for Arizona Cardinals, increasing to $224.8 million

On Monday, the NFL raised the salary cap for the Arizona Cardinals and the rest of the league for the second consecutive season.
Jumping up to $224.8 million from $207.4 million in 2022, all 32 teams will have an additional $16.6 million to play with as they experiment with personnel changes this offseason.
According to OverTheCap.com, Arizona currently has around $14.5 million to work with as of Wednesday. In comparison to the rest of the NFL, the Cardinals have the 11th highest total cap for next season.
Arizona’s cap number is no longer set in stone. When the NFL offseason begins, it will be influenced by a variety of factors, including extensions, retirement(s), free-agent signings, potential trades, and cuts.
There’s also the unknown of how new GM Monti Ossenfort and Arizona’s next head coach will function in their respective roles.
“I’m not sure what was done here previously,” Ossenfort said during his press conference. “I have a system that I believe in and that’s where we are going to focus our time and attention on how we go about scouting players and what we’re looking for specifically.
“First, we have to define what we’re looking for and then we’re going to turn over every rock that we can to build this roster. I believe there will be a lot of evaluation at all levels of the football organization, and we will cross that bridge.”
Defensive end Zach Allen and cornerback Byron Murphy are two potential extensions that are front and center for the organization in 2023. According to ESPN’s Matt Bowen, Allen is the league’s 23rd best available free agent. Murphy landed at position 37.
Allen is coming off his best season as a pro, in which he recorded 5.5 sacks, 19 QB hits, 10 tackles for loss, and eight passes defensed in 13 games.
He thrived under the tutelage of the retiring J.J. Watt and clearly advanced in the final year of his rookie contract. The defensive lineman is at the top of the list of in-house free agents the Cardinals should bring back into the mix.
Murphy, on the other hand, is coming off an injury-plagued season in which he played in just nine games before being placed on injured reserve due to a back injury. He finished with 0.5 sacks, 36 tackles, three for losses, and a quarterback hit. Murphy, on the other hand, has played in all but two games in the last three years, one of which was due to COVID-19.
The fact that he is a homegrown talent from Saguaro High School is a plus. Murphy looked like Arizona’s No. 1 cornerback in 2021, with four interceptions and 12 passes defensed. The back injury should be monitored, but there’s no reason to believe the CB won’t be able to return to those numbers.
If you live in Arizona, you should also consider the franchise and transition tags. The franchise and transition tags for defensive linemen are worth $19.7 million and $17.45 million, respectively. Cornerbacks are worth $18.14 million and $15.79 million, respectively.
Another name to keep an eye on in terms of extension talks this season is wide receiver Hollywood Brown, who is in the final year of his rookie deal after the Cardinals picked up his fifth-year option last season. According to OverTheCap.com, extending the wide receiver in 2023 would result in a $9.8 million cap savings.
While those three are looking to extend their careers, several other 2022 Cardinals are likely to retire.
Watt has already announced his retirement from his illustrious career, taking with him what would have been a hefty price tag coming off his best season since 2018. Watt’s contract has three void years, which will account for a $8.36 million cap hit in 2023 and 2024, according to OverTheCap.com.
He’s not the only Cardinal who could ride off into the sunset, as center Rodney Hudson, left tackle Justin Pugh, and wide receiver A.J. Green are all considering retirement. Hudson’s current contract has two void years and a cap hit of $8.33 million over the next two seasons.

Then there’s the DeAndre Hopkins dilemma Arizona must deal with as it retools.

Given the Cardinals’ current situation and a new general manager, the wide receiver has been a topic of trade discussions since the season ended. There’s also quarterback Kyler Murray’s health to consider, as he recovers from a season-ending knee injury and is expected to miss the start of the 2023 season.

He has a cap hit of $30.75 million in 2023 as of Wednesday.

When it comes to cap savings for Arizona, the timing of any potential trade is critical.
Dealing the No. 1 wideout before or on June 1 would save the Cardinals $8.15 million but come with a $22.6 million dead money hit in 2023. Arizona’s cap space would increase to around $22.6 million next season, with additional savings in 2024, but there would be a $11.3 million dead money hit.
A trade after June 1 would be much better for the Cardinals and their cap situation. Hopkins would cost Arizona $11.3 million in dead money but give them $19.45 million to work with, increasing their cap space to nearly $34 million plus additional savings in 2024.
The second option, however, is much easier said than done, as prospective landing spots are likely to want Hopkins’ services before June.
Another option for the Cardinals to save money is to release wide receiver Robbie Anderson. The Cardinals would save $12 million if he were released before or on June 1.
And, given Anderson’s performance in 10 games (two starts) with Arizona — seven catches for 76 yards — saving money by releasing him may be more beneficial than keeping him on the roster.
There are a lot of different paths the Cardinals can take this offseason to increase their cap space. For the time being, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

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