No one has improved their O-Line more then the Arizona Cardinals in recent years, either by the draft, free agency, or waiver wire.
Recent news accent over the atmosphere, as we all learned that Jonathan Cooper of the Arizona Cardinals would switch from right guard to center, during the season he lost the right guard job to free-agent-to-be Ted Larsen, which anticipated a possible move for the former first round selection. This might be a move that is considered great by most standards, as he seemed to have lost the “willingness” to pull-block, and seems very conscious about his knee, even after injuring it three seasons ago (rookie season). What does this mean for the Cardinals offensive line? I will examine the quality of the O-Line to see what options are available for them. The best options of course, in the price range for the Arizona Cardinals, and someone who matches the type of downhill blocking the Cardinals desire.
Up top is J.R. Sweezy, the offensive guard from Seattle, and possibly one of the least featured free agent this offseason. Don’t get me wrong, he might still be constantly poached because of the rough and stout ways he plays offensively, maybe even returning back to the Seahawks. Why does he make for a good signing? Because he is A. A huge road grader with exceptional upper-body strength. And B. We are taking away from a division rival that could use some of it’s offensive line depth.
The Cardinals have a plentiful of options, I like the signing portion of the options, as the Cardinals could get themselves a bargain free agent. If J.R. Sweezy isn’t looking at a steep market, the Cardinals could end up paying Sweezy for 2-3 years, $6 million, which is a bargain all on it’s own when you consider that they get a quality starting guard for pennies of what the other guys are paying. I’m not saying that the Cardinals will be able to pay for a bargain free agent, free agency sometimes takes the quality out of the pile, and then the Cardinal could be stuck with some mismatched pieces.
Here are some offensive guards to ponder:
Manny Ramirez – OG – Detroit Lions
Alex Boone – OG – San Francisco 49ers
Evan Mathis – OG – Denver Broncos
Geoff Schwartz – OG – New York Giants
Amini Silatolu – OG – Carolina Panthers
Mackenzy Bernadeau – C – Dallas Cowboys
Ryan Wendell – C – New England Patriots
Josh LeRibeus – C – Washington Redskins
These are some quality starting offensive guards (and some centers) that could be in our price range (maybe not Evan Mathis and Alex Boone), but they come with some risk-reward. The Cardinals would need to plan for some of these guys coming off the market fairly quickly with teams like Cleveland and Jacksonville having some cash to burn, and having to possibly overpay for guys to come over. This isn’t a bad route, the Arizona Cardinals could find someone that isn’t overpriced, someone who is affordable. It’s a good list, why not?