Arizona Cardinals: Grading 2016 position by position
The Cardinals sure liked what they saw out of Chandler Jones and why wouldn’t they? He had 11 sacks this past season. He had 12.5 in 2015 with the New England Patriots, the team that traded Jones to the Cardinals last March.
Arians this week indicated that Jones wasn’t going anywhere. It sounds as if the Cardinals will do anything to keep him and that may mean putting the franchise tag on him.
Marcus Golden had a fantastic sophomore season in the NFL. He went from four sacks in his rookie season in 2015 to 12.5 sacks, leading the Cardinals, in 2016. He was the biggest reason why the Cardinals led the NFL in sacks in 2016.
Kevin Minter had three and a half sacks from his inside linebacker position. That is by far his best output since joining the Cardinals in 2013.
Alex Okafor played better in 2016 as well. He had three and a half sacks without starting a single game. He had two sacks in 2015 and had eight in 2014 but he started 12 games that season.
Even Sio Moore was active in just four games with the team in 2016. He had 35 tackles and one pass defensed in his short time played with the Cardinals.
Overall, this was the strongest unit from top to bottom on the defense. You may not see very many changes to this core in 2017.
Who will be back in 2017?
Yes: Chandler Jones, Markus Golden, Alex Okafor, Kevin Minter, Kareem Martin, Deone Bucannon, Gabe Martin
Maybe: Sio Moore, Scooby Wright, Zavier Gooden, Alani Fua, Cap Capi (future contract),