NFL Free Agency: Why the Arizona Cardinals Need to Be More Active in Free Agency

Chad MiddletonContributor IJuly 28, 2011

When you ask most children what they want for Christmas, you will almost certainly get more than one answer. You may get ten different things. Odds are the kids gets a couple of the items they want. 

If you ask the average Cardinals fan what the want for Christmas, 99% will say a quarterback to keep Larry Fitzgerald. That's a good answer. However, do you get the feeling that it's all the Cardinals want?

It appears that the front office is really trying to get the Kolb deal done and according to several reports, it is.  

But if you look at the list of teams that have been actively trying to better their teams, the Cardinals don't seem to be one of them.   

For instance, the Seattle Seahawks were active as they picked up Sidney Rice and Tavaris Jackson, two ex-Vikings with incredible upside. 

The Washington Redskins picked up Stephen Bowen from the Cowboys along with Jabar Gaffney and Donte Stallworth.

The Dolphins picked up Reggie Bush. The Patriots picked up Albert Haynesworth, whatever that means. 

I could go on and on with lists of other teams that are opening their checkbooks and trying to enhance their teams and gain fan trust back after a long lockout.

But what are the Cardinals doing? Granted they picked up Daryn Colledge, a much needed guard from the Green Bay Packers and seem to have finished the deal for Kevin Kolb. More on that later.

But I'm not sure they understand how much they're going to miss Steve Breaston, who signed with a Kansas City team that is quickly turning into the Cardinals of the AFC West.

Over the past few years, you begin to see a pattern here. Look at ex-Cardinals who are starting, released or retired: Antrel Rolle, Anquan Boldin, Steve Breaston, Gerald Hayes, Karlos Dansby, Kurt Warner

Now, I'm not one to question Coach Ken Whisenhunt about his decisions... yet. He led the Cardinals to a Super Bowl two years ago and has made the team better. Last year, however his stock dropped just a bit, but we will call it a mulligan. The further away from the Super Bowl run, the less forgiving the fans are.

Signing Kevin Kolb may define Whisenhunt's season. If Kolb is a bust, and the Cardinals finish in the middle of the pack in a sub-par division, questions will be raised and quickly. The trade will be picked apart. 

Lets hope Cards Fans don't end up like this.
Lets hope Cards Fans don't end up like this.

But as much as quarterback deficiencies were the problem last year, it wasn't the only problems the Cardinals had, and the Kolb solution alone won't automatically lift the Cardinals to the top. 

I'm skeptical of this deal with Kolb, but I hope the deal turns out like a similar one back in 2008.  Aaron Rodgers deal was for 6 years,$65 million with 20 million guaranteed, and he, too, only had seven starts under his belt.

Look how that turned out for Green Bay.

But beyond the quarterback, the once lauded receiving corps is now looking awfully young. Sure, Larry Fitzgerald is a cut above the rest, but second year receivers Andre Roberts and Stephen Williams have big shoes to fill. And Early Doucet has not shown he can stay healthy enough to be a real factor.

So who should the Cardinals be looking at?

Malcolm Floyd would be an excellent wide receiver who could spread the field opposite Fitzgerald. Free agent corner Jonathan Joseph would make the loss of DRC more palatable. But the Cardinals have to look beyond just Kevin Kolb and build a team that will not only compete in the NFC West but win it.

All three teams in the NFC West have improved especially the Seahawks.

The 49ers may have some holdout issues with Frank Gore and still have to get their quarterback situation under control, but they have owned the Cardinals over the last couple of years. And the St.Louis Rams were one game from a playoff spot.

And as the weeks progress, there will be more big names added to the free agent pool.

The question is whether the Cardinals will be swimmers in the pool or lifeguards watching from a distance?