The Arizona Cardinals’ starting inside linebacker has done a fine job over the last two seasons but is the club satisfied?
Kevin Minter had a nice season for the Arizona Cardinals in 2016. He was credited with 81 tackles, three and a half sacks and two passes defensed. But do the Cardinals want him back in 2017?
The LSU product, like many of his teammates, is eligible for unrestricted free agency in March. He has started all 32 games for the squad over the last two years. He’s not great in coverage, but is a good run defender.
The free agent market, as of now, is not stacked with inside ‘backers. But there are a few options who the front office may kick the tires on.
General manager Steve Keim is forever churning the roster, searching for thrown away talent on the waiver wire. Sio Moore arrived last November, a veteran in search of an organization that’s a fit for what he brings. He was, more or less, given an audition at the end of last season, starting for the injured Deone Bucannon.
In three starts, he was a tackling machine. He registered 35 tackles, two forced fumbles and one pass defensed. Like Minter, the 26-year old Moore will test the free agent waters unless Keim re-signs him in the meantime.
An intriguing name set to hit the market is Lawrence Timmons. Head coach Bruce Arians is familiar with Timmons from his Pittsburgh Steeler days. The 30-year old has had over 100 tackles in six of the last seven campaigns, including 114 last year.
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Michael Wilhoite has always been the “next man up” with the San Francisco 49ers. Injuries and retirements have thrust him into starting roles the past three seasons. He has played well when called upon, and will certainly be looking to be a team’s regular starter when he hits free agency.
Another player scheduled for free agency, Perry Riley put together three excellent seasons as a Washington Redskin from 2012-14. In 46 starts over that time he amassed 337 tackles and eight and a half sacks. After he was released last summer, he found a new home with the Oakland Raiders, contributing 48 tackles and two forced fumbles in 11 starts.
As mentioned earlier, the free agent inside linebacker crop is thin. However, between now and the beginning of the regular season, others may shake loose. Whether any would be better options than Minter is anybody’s guess.