With Cardinals K Jay Feely entering free agency this offseason, there is reason to believe that Arizona may look elsewhere for a replacement next season.
Despite connecting on 30 of 36 field goal attempts, Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com suggests that Feely may not return as he drew the ire of HC Bruce Arians on a few occasions, most notably in the Cardinals’ Week 17 home loss to San Francisco where Feely missed two field goals and misplaced a kickoff late in regulation.
Arians offered some lukewarm support for Feely after the season.
“Jay is an unrestricted free agent, so it will be all business from here on out,” Arians said. “I love Jay to death. He was a captain. Arians added however, in a reference to the misplaced kickoff, “Wish he would have kicked that last kickoff down the middle“.
While Arian’s comments are ambiguous, Weinfuss gives a few speculative options that may be attractive to Arizona should they let Feely walk, including fellow NFC West free agents to-be, Steven Hauschka of Seattle and Phil Dawson of San Francisco.
Weinfuss also mentions Adam Vinatieri, who worked with Arians in Indianapolis, as another option the Cardinals could consider. Vinatieri has long been known as a “clutch” kicker-at least to those who believe in such a designation-a trait that could prove vital in what will likely be the league’s best division in 2014.
Money will certainly be an issue if the Cardinals intend to sign someone like Hauschka, as the Bears and Cowboys have locked their respective kickers to sizable contracts since the season ended. Arizona does have some cap space to work with, but other positions appear to be higher on their priorities list, so it would seem logical for them to shop around for value options in the event that they do in fact move on from Feely.