It has been another tough season for Arizona Cardinals fans around the globe and at 4-9 many are looking ahead to the offseason.
Barring a miraculous turnaround, this team is looking at yet another high draft pick. With just three games left on the schedule against tough opponents, 4-12 is more realistic with every passing week.
While there are no Peyton Manning sweepstakes this year, there are still a lot of quality players that could be looking for a new home come March.
In addition, the Cardinals currently have all of their early draft picks and will be in a position to grab an elite prospect.
Arizona has several holes to fill going into next year and a good offseason could launch them into contender status.
Here is a look at some of the players that the Arizona Cardinals must chase for 2013.
Many names have been listed amongst the quarterback options for Arizona next season. Not everyone will agree on the same person, but the consensus is that some stability is needed at the position.
Let’s do everyone a favor and eliminate Ryan Lindley from the picture. Until Kansas City wins a couple of games or declares they are not taking a quarterback, Geno Smith is also not an option.
Option 1: One player the Cardinals must chase in free agency is current Miami Dolphins backup Matt Moore. The ideal situation would be to sign him and then restructure the contract of Kevin Kolb.
Kolb has shown this season that he can be a starting quarterback and that it is just a matter of staying healthy.
If he is underperforming or gets injured again, then they have a very stable quarterback in Matt Moore to replace him.
Option 2: If Arizona cannot find what it likes on the market, then look no further than the draft to find your guy. Matt Barkley could still be on the board or they could even gamble on Tyler Wilson.
The question now becomes who do you keep as the backup? You can make the case for both players, but the best option for the Cardinals would be to dump Kolb and Skelton and find a backup.
Matt Moore will likely sign in Arizona if he feels he has a shot at a starting job. With the state of the quarterback position being as it is, he should have no problem coming to the desert.
Moore should be the Cards first quarterback target this offseason and from there they can decide whether to stick with Kolb or draft somebody.
The Arizona Cardinals thought they were in good hands at the running back spot heading into 2012. Ryan Williams and Beanie Wells returning from injury to form a formidable one-two punch.
Unfortunately both players suffered injuries again, leaving the team in a pretty big hole. LaRod Stephens-Howling and William Powell have done fairly well in relief, but are not nearly as good as we had hoped.
The landscape of this position could change a ton for Arizona this offseason. Wells has a club option for 2013 and Stephens-Howling will be a free agent.
Whether these two are replaced or resigned, the Cardinals need to add another back. They have had a history of bringing over members of the Pittsburgh Steelers organization and this would be a good time to continue that trend.
Rashard Mendenhall, Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer are all free agents this offseason and it would be great to add one of those three to the backfield.
Whether they draft a running back is up to them, but Arizona should be targeting one of the three Steelers ball carriers this offseason.
The offensive line of the Arizona Cardinals has to be nominated for the most deceiving line in football. They have given up the most sacks in the league this season, but the group has looked a ton better over the past few games.
Current left tackle Nate Potter has looked great and has been a huge improvement over D’Anthony Batiste. After a rough start, Bobby Massie is looking like he is the future for the Cardinals at the right tackle spot.
Although the line is not as big of an issue as it was earlier in the year, there are too many good players to pass up this offseason.
Ryan Clady, Sebastian Vollmer and Jake Long headline the top lineman in free agency. With the focus on these players, a guy like Branden Albert or Jermon Bushrod could be picked up cheaper than expected.
Arizona needs to protect its quarterback. Their first target should be Bushrod or Albert and if they fail to address the line in free agency, then Luke Joeckel is the man to take.
Quarterback targets: Matt Moore, Matt Barkley and Tyler Wilson.
Running Back targets: Rashard Mendenhall, Isaac Redman, Jonathan Dwyer.
Offensive Line targets: Branden Albert, Jermon Bushrod and Luke Joeckel.
It is a big offseason for the Cardinals. With many big names on the market they are a couple of moves away from being a contender.