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Nine Ways Cardinals Can Save Cap Space in 2024

The Arizona Cardinals can save cap space in numerous ways heading into 2024.

ARIZONA -- The Arizona Cardinals approach 2024 after a rough 2023 campaign, though the saying "it gets worse before it gets better" very much applies to an organization that underwent a full cleaning of house and roster reconstruction at this point last year. 

Cardinals fans are awfully optimistic about the direction of the franchise under head coach Jonathan Gannon and general manager Monti Ossenfort - and rightfully so.

With a healthy Kyler Murray, a slew of draft picks and plenty of cap space, the Cardinals have major hopes for the upcoming offseason to turn the ship around quicker than some anticipated. 

Spotrac currently has the Cardinals slated at $45.1 million in cap space for 2024, double the amount of the $21 million league average heading into the offseason. 

Yet there's a handful of moves Arizona can do to create even more space, as highlighted by Spotrac's Michael Ginnitti:

*Note - these are only possible options. Not suggestions, as we'll get into.*

Nine Ways Cardinals Can Save Cap Space in 2024

1. Process a full base salary conversion on QB Kyler Murray, freeing up $28.7M of cap

Our take: Murray's massive contract extension is set to begin this offseason, and though nearly $30 million more would be nice for Arizona, this should only be used as a last resort as converting the base salary would just be pushing the remainder into a signing bonus that pro-rates over the remaining years of their contract, according to Spotrac.

No need to sell out, at least just yet. 

2. Process a full base salary + $1.5M roster bonus conversion on RB James Conner, freeing up $3.22M of cap when factoring in 4 void years.

Our take: The Cardinals are looking to potentially extend Conner, who is entering the final year of his contract and likely is looking for a step up in pay before training camp comes. Arizona would be wise to pay Conner while also keeping his leash short in terms of years on the books.

3. Waive RB Michael Carter, freeing up $1M of cap

Our take: The Cardinals have been long in search of a suitable No. 2 behind Conner, and they certainly found that in Carter - who is under contract through next season. 

Is the $1 million worth parting ways with Carter? The RB position has certainly devalued as of late, though Arizona should probably stick with the proven product in Carter, at least for 2024.  

4. Release WR Zach Pascal, freeing up $1.9M of cap

Our take: Arizona needs major help at wideout, and though it seems counter-intuitive to release another body, Pascal didn't do much damage offensively despite being one of the biggest wideout on the depth chart. 

The Cardinals would be just fine parting ways with Pascal with assumed help incoming from either free agency or the draft. 

5. Release OT D.J. Humphries, freeing up $9M of cap

Our take: Humphries was considered to be a fringe cut candidate heading into 2024, though his season-ending knee injury makes it more likely than not the Cardinals move on, especially with the $9 million price tag coming, though Humphries could claim an injury settlement which would bring that number closer to $7 million. 

6. Release OL Dennis Daley, freeing up $1.6M of cap

Our take: Daley was considered to be competing for a starting spot along Arizona's offensive line in training camp but played in just three games after spending time on injured reserve. 

Unless Arizona really believes Daley can again throw his hat in the ring at left guard, this seems like a sensible move. 

7. Release LB Kyzir White, freeing up $4M of cap

Our take: Nope. Don't even think about it.

White was far and away the team's most productive defensive player before being hurt. To give you an idea of how good he was, he lead the team in tackles (90) despite not playing since Week 11. 

He's an essential piece to the defense on and off the field. The $4 million likely wouldn't be spent smarter elsewhere on the roster, as White was one of the few players that plugged in holes rather than create one.

8. Trade S Budda Baker, freeing up $15.1M of cap

Our take: There's a lot to unpack here on both sides. 

Surface level? Baker is still one of the best safeties in the league despite a down year and is crucial to Arizona's locker room taking that next step. Baker's nothing short of a leader for the team, and parting with him would be tough. 

On the other hand, Baker wanted out last offseason and the band-aid put over his contract is again starting to peel. The Cardinals do have a team option for Baker's deal this offseason according to Spotrac, so if Arizona themselves wanted to part ways, they could. 

Bottom line? The Cardinals could go either way and it would make sense - we'd personally keep Baker around. 

9. Release K Matt Prater, freeing up $3.5M of cap

Our take: Prater deserves whatever he wants if Marvin Harrison Jr. ends up in Arizona.

On a serious note, the Cardinals have seen Prater consistently knock home field goals 50+ yards out. Do they see a kicker out there that is worth parting ways with Prater? He is another year older, to point. 

It's tough to gauge from the outside, but the organization seems to love Prater.