With the 2015 season in the rear-view mirror, the Arizona Cardinals have moved on to preparing for next season.
Arizona has 15 unrestricted and four restricted free agents who are set to hit the open market March 9. Over the next two weeks, I will take a detailed look at each position that is slated to have a free agent and what the likelihood is of those players returning in 2016 on a high, medium or low scale.
Next up, outside linebackers ...
2015 stats: Freeney was signed before Week 6, and eight of his nine tackles in 2015 were sacks, which were a team high. Woodley had 10 tackles and one sack while playing in just 10 games because of a pec injury.
2015 salary: Freeney -- $684,706, Woodley -- $802,794
Likelihood of returning: Freeney -- Medium, Woodley -- Low
Why: There are two obvious reasons why the Cardinals wouldn’t bring either Freeney or Woodley back. Freeney will be 36 next season, so re-signing him would be more of a short-term fix than a long-term answer. Woodley is 31 and coming off a serious pec injury. Freeney was more than effective this season. He had a team-high eight sacks and, at times, was Arizona’s lone pass-rush threat. If he’s re-signed, Freeney can still be effective if he’s given some help at the position. One thing Woodley has on his side is coach Bruce Arians, who he has a relationship with. But if the Cardinals put an emphasis on the pass rush this offseason, it means they’ll likely try to get younger, as well. And with Woodley coming off a serious injury, he might end up getting squeezed out.