Easy money? How the Cardinals can save

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Following up on our previous items about NFC West salary-cap situations, here's a look at how the Cardinals could create additional cap space heading into free agency:

Current cap room: $40 million

Projected functional cap room for free agency: $20 million to $25 million

How the Cardinals could create more room: Arizona has enough room to pay its own players and still participate in free agency. The team could clear an additional $5 million in cap space by releasing Edgerrin James.

The chart shows the difference between how much James' contract counts against the salary cap depending on roster status. We ran longer lists for other teams in the NFC West, but Arizona simply doesn't have many bloated salaries.

Chike Okeafor, Mike Gandy and Adrian Wilson have relatively high base salaries in 2009, which is the final year of each player's contract. But they remain productive starters and their contracts appear quite manageable.

Anquan Boldin's contract remains in the news, but the salary-cap implications aren't a meaningful consideration. Matt Leinart's deal is counting less than $3 million.