Arizona Cardinals: Intriguing Free Agents
The Arizona Cardinals enter the 2016 offseason with some expectation for how the market can turn out, with so many teams having exceptional cap space, and the free agents out there having some very high expectations. Most recently, we have seen Kelechi Osemele of the Baltimore Ravens, sign a deal with the Oakland Raiders that makes him the riches guard in the NFL ($11M-$12M). Cardinals fans everywhere will think “What about us? Where is our prized free agent acquisition?” Not here my friends, the Cardinals like to play the market, watch the escalating market die down, and pick-and-choose who they want. You’re also seeing a guy with high talent and promise, Malik Jackson formerly of the Denver Broncos, going to the Jacksonville Jaguars so he can claim a big paycheck (in the room of $15M-16.5M).
So Arizona Cardinals fans will be wondering, who might be some free agents that the Cardinals would be interested in? Don’t worry, the Cardinals have made two marquee free agent signings the previous two seasons (Mike Iupati and Jared Veldheer), so it wouldn’t surprise me to see the Cardinals make a big splash within the first few days. Here are my big signings that could make it in the Cardinals radar.
1. Mike Neal – OLB
Previous Team: Green Bay Packers
28 years old
6-3, 262 Pounds
36 tackles, 4 sacks, 1 forced fumble
2. Derrick Shelby – DE
Previous Team: Miami Dolphins
27 years old
6-2, 280 Pounds
37 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 1 interception
3. Zane Beadles – OG
Previous Team: Jacksonville Jaguars
29 years old
6-4, 315 Pounds
16 games, 16 starts 2015
4. Prince Amukamara – CB
Previous Team: New York Giants
26 years old
6-0, 207 Pounds
63 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 1 interception
Michael Neal (and Nick Perry) of the Green Bay Packers have hit the market with a possibility of landing a big time deal, but for Neal, he could be looking for championship rather then money. I do like to think that if Mike Neal is not going to let money dictate his market, then he might end up resigning with the Packers.
If the Packers have the opportunity to only sign one linebacker though, I think it will be the former first round pick from Southern California, leaving a very versatile linebacker who could provide a great edge to the defense. Neal could be looking at an average of $4M-$5.5M.
The Miami Dolphins have already accrued a bit of salary cap from the recent trade for Byron Maxwell and Kiko Alonso, so pass-rushers like Derrick Shelby and Olivier Vernon would probably command a bigger market. Derrick Shelby is a possibility because the Cardinals wouldn’t have to purge on Shelby, he is likely to command a salary that closely resembles Michael Neal, not because of production, but because of previous legal problems.
Zane Beadles cost the Jacksonville Jaguars quite a pretty penny a few off-seasons ago, now he is completely out of a job considering his cap hit. I like Beadles because of the versatility, if he wanted to join because of winning, this would be an ideal situation for him, as Jacksonville has been a poor franchise for a few years (sorry Jaguars, I still like you guys). Beadles could play center or guard, but if the Cardinals signed Beadles, Jonathan Cooper would probably be on the way out too.
Prince Amukamara was a high draft selection for the New York Giants, but because the Giants are in hot pursuit for a defensive end, I don’t think they’ll be able to stay competitive with Amukamara asking price. The Cardinals could bring in Prince Amukamara with promises of a championship, why not? I just feel that the Cardinals will make a big splash, let’s think positive guys.