Amazingly, the Cardinals could have carried over $7.04 million. They opted only to carry over $2 million. (In fairness to the Cardinals, there's a chance they engaged in a transaction that they somehow chewed up $5.04 million in 2011 cap space in the period between February 12 and February 28. We're trying to find out if that's what happened, because it makes no sense not to carry over every penny available.)
If they'd carried over the full amount, the Cardinals would have had to clear only $11.4 million by Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. ET. More importantly, the Cardinals would have had an extra $5 million to pay Manning.
For the Cardinals, the challenge will be to clear $16.4 million and then enough beyond that to fit Peyton's contract under the cap.