After an extremely disappointing 2016 campaign the Arizona Cardinals front office has some difficult decisions ahead of them
2016 should’ve been the year of the Arizona Cardinals. With very little roster turnover from the previous season, the club was set up for a championship run. If only things would’ve worked out the way we were hoping they would.
Here’s a look ahead at an offseason that promises to be interesting. It’s a position by position breakdown of what the Cardinals have and what they need.
Quarterback- Like it or not Cards’ fans, it appears that Carson Palmer will be back for at least one more season. Still, management must try to find a signal-caller for the future. If they’re successful, either Drew Stanton or Zac Dysert may have to go to create room for that player.
Running back- David Johnson should continue to be a workhorse in 2017. Either Chris Johnson or Andre Ellington (both free agents) could return as a change-of-pace back. Kerwyn Williams showed some explosiveness out of the wildcat this season, while Stepfan Taylor may depart for more playing time.
Wide receiver- Larry Fitzgerald says he has to think about it, but he hopefully will return next fall. J.J. Nelson, Jaron Brown and John Brown (if his sickle cell condition is controlled) will be back. The team will need to draft a receiver with some size, or pursue a free agent such as Kenny Britt.
Tight end- Jermaine Gresham had a nice season for the club and should be re-signed. Unless they wanna make a splash and sign Martellus Bennett, that is. Darren Fells as a restricted free agent may return, and the disappointing Troy Niklas could just be flat-out released.
Offensive line- Jared Veldheer, Mike Iupati, D.J. Humphries, John Wetzel, Evan Boehm and Cole Toner should all be back. Earl Watford could be permitted to leave, while A.Q. Shipley may return as a starter or to back up Boehm. Free agent right guard Kevin Zeitler would be an outstanding addition.
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Defensive line- Calais Campbell had a very good year, but his return isn’t a sure thing. Robert Nkemdiche will be counted on to contribute next season, while Rodney Gunter and Josh Mauro remain capable. Veteran Frostee Rucker’s play slipped a bit, and Corey Peters may not be worth the money he’s being paid.
Linebackers- Chandler Jones disappeared at times this season, but his presence alone probably enabled Markus Golden to get double-digit sacks. He needs to be re-signed, but the same probably can’t be said about Kevin Minter and Alex Okafor. Sio Moore may be earning a roster spot with some impressive play, while Lawrence Timmons could be an upgrade if he’s pried away from Pittsburgh.
Secondary- A number-two cornerback has to be a priority this offseason. Trumaine Johnson or Stephen Gilmore should be heavily targeted, enough with band-aids like Marcus Cooper and Brandon Williams. At safety, D.J. Swearinger may re-sign but Tony Jefferson could be lured away by a bigger offer elsewhere.
Special teams- Kicker Chandler Catanzaro booted the game-winning field goal last weekend to beat the Seattle Seahawks, but his return is questionable. The Cards may have finally found a punter with Matt Wile, but the long snapper still needs to be addressed. Cordarrelle Patterson averaged 31.54 yards a kick return, and is an unrestricted free agent.