The Arizona Cardinals will spend yet another offseason searching for a starting cornerback to play opposite Patrick Peterson
It has become a yearly ritual for the Arizona Cardinals. Another offseason, another search for a starting cornerback. Who will be GM Steve Keim’s “flavor of the year” corner for 2017?
There are big name candidates scheduled for free agency in March. Stephon Gilmore, A.J.Bouye and Trumaine Johnson are probably the best of the bunch. But with all of the Arizona free agents that will need addressing, the necessary funds to land a stud at the position may not be available.
Which moves us into the next group, the second tier if you will. There’s certainly talent among these choices also. The difference is, these guys may be a bit more affordable, salary cap wise.
Dre Kirkpatrick has the size and length (6’1″,186) that the Cards’ coaching staff desires. He has 98 tackles, 26 passes defensed and three interceptions over the last two seasons for the Cincinnati Bengals. Unfortunately for cornerback-needy clubs, Adam “Pacman” Jones’ most recent legal troubles may make re-signing Kirkpatrick a priority in Cincinnati.
Logan Ryan started all 16 games in each of the last four seasons for the New England Patriots. For his career, he has 13 interceptions, 42 passes defensed and 202 tackles. He may not be a household name, but that level of production is outstanding.
Micah Hyde is an intriguing name. He’s been a consistent performer during his four campaigns with the Green Bay Packers. At 6’0″,197, he also has the size Arizona is looking for.
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Prince Amukamara had a sub-par year in 2016 with the Jacksonville Jaguars. But as sorry as that franchise is, he almost deserves a mulligan for it. The Cards should kick the tires on the veteran and see if he can perform better in the desert.
Morris Claiborne played college ball with Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu at LSU. His NFL career has been a huge disappointment, mostly due to injuries. Would joining his former teammates in Arizona cause him to play like the sixth-overall pick in the draft should?
Sterling Moore of the New Orleans Saints is the sleeper of the bunch. On a bad defense, he contributed 13 passes defensed, 44 tackles and two picks. Moore would be an “under the radar” signing who could very well shine on a very good Cardinals’ unit.
Incumbent Cards’ starter Marcus Cooper could be brought back to the nest. He mixed some excellent play with some inconsistency throughout 2016. Ideally, the team would be better served with Cooper as a nickel corner.
Last offseason, Keim didn’t appear to be showing any urgency in getting this problem taken care of. Even he should be tired of having to address the cornerback position annually. Arizona fans certainly wish he could find a keeper.