Looking at the Cardinals free agents in 2015
Among the Cardinals significant decisions in 2015, the choice on whether to re-sign a couple of important free agents will be important to watch
The Cardinals free agents in 2015 don’t have the flash of DeMarco Murray and Dez Bryant. However, the Cardinals do have some important decisions to make, especially with key players on defense. With issues like Larry Fitzgerald’s contract and the need to sign new additions, the Cardinals may face a few difficult decisions.
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1. Dan Williams
Dan Williams is one of the unsung heroes of the Arizona Cardinals. As a nose tackle, he doesn’t get a lot of love from statisticians, but he does make a lot happen for Arizona. He specializes in drawing one or two blockers to him so that his teammates can make things happen. He was also one of few survivors of the Cardinals injury bug.
It certainly appears that the Cardinals front office and coaches like Williams and are high on his abilities, and he is around prime age at 27. What kind of contract he demands will be a really strong factor in whether the Cardinals will retain him. He will certainly be competitive on the open market, but the team and player seem to be happy with each other and willing to work out a deal.
2. Antonio Cromartie
Cornerback Antonio Cromartie was signed to a one-year “prove it” deal after an injury-riddled final season with the Jets. It was he, not Patrick Peterson, who led the Cardinals secondary last season. He finished the season with 48 tackles and three interceptions.
He has voiced a desire to return to Arizona. Whether or not that happens depends on how much he asks for. He was rated as the 45th best corner by Pro Football Focus, and his 30 years old. That’s not a set of numbers that demand big money.
That said, it seems Cro recognizes this, and may be willing to get paid around the same amount he was given last season, but for a longer term contract. Unless the Cardinals have a specific target that they are devoted to as their second cornerback, they should do what they can to bring him back.
Sam Acho provided needed depth at linebacker last season, starting four games due to injuries. He had 31 solo tackles, one sack, and one interception. He struggled to contribute statistically, but certainly was not a liability as a backup.
Now, the former fourth round pick is up for his first extension. The Cardinals could survive without him, but after four years (or three, due to an injury in 2013) he has proven that he is worth something to Arizona or another team. He won’t command big money, so a return to Arizona as a fallback option could be beneficial for a team that prides itself on defensive depth.
4. Larry Foote
Larry Foote was a late addition to the Cardinals last offseason. The team needed some stability at the linebacker spot, and Foote provided much more than that. He had 84 tackles and two sacks last season. He played all but one snap on defense until he sat out the final game of the regular season with injury.
He’s considering retirement, which is not a surprise. However, if the Cards could talk him into returning, his on-field contribution and leadership would still be valuable. Bruce Arians has articulated a desire to have him back, and while I;d bet on him calling it a career, his return would be a good thing.