Before the Arizona Cardinals can consider signing other team’s free agents they will have to decide the fate of their own
If NFL teams want to fill holes, they need to look no further then the Arizona Cardinals’ free agent list. It’s a long one, so the scavengers will be hovering, trying to pry players out of the desert. The job of Steve Keim and his cohorts will be to make sure no players of value leave town.
The two biggest names on that list are Chandler Jones and Calais Campbell. The talk has been that Cardinals management will have to choose between the two. But that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case.
Ideally, the club could get a deal done with one of the pair, and slap the other with the franchise tag. They could then work on a long-term contract with the franchised player, while being in no danger of losing him.
Both players were excellent in 2016. But if it comes down to choosing one over the other, Jones should get the nod. Stud pass rushers like Jones are harder to find, and he’s also younger than Campbell.
The Cardinals haven’t had a stud tight end in ages. Jermaine Gresham wouldn’t be classified a stud, but he’s solid. Unless Keim wants to make a splash and sign a Martellus Bennett, Gresham should be re-signed.
Safeties Tony Jefferson and D.J.Swearinger should receive alot of interest on the open market. As good as Jefferson is, Swearinger may be the better all-around player. He’s an intimidating hitter and is adequate in coverage.
Frostee Rucker was decent this past season but his best days may be behind him. The Cardinals may allow him to find another team. But if Campbell departs, they may want Rucker to return to provide leadership for the defensive line.
Chris Johnson and Andre Ellington are talented running backs. But with David Johnson carrying such a heavy load, their talents become wasted in the Arizona offense.
A.Q.Shipley may have been the Cards’ most steady offensive lineman this past year. There aren’t many quality free agent centers available so he may return.
Sio Moore made quite a few tackles the last few weeks. He could be brought back if Kevin Minter is shown the door.
Alex Okafor might not wanna hang around and be a backup to Jones and Markus Golden on the edge. Marcus Cooper played well, but the Cardinals may try to do better (Trumaine Johnson, Stephon Gilmore). Earl Watford’s versatility could earn him an offer to return for depth.
So many free agents for Arizona, so little salary cap space. They obviously won’t be bringing them all back. It will be interesting to see which ones remain.