Cornerback trade should be on Arizona Cardinals’ agenda
By Jim Koch
Injuries combined with a lack of talent have once again left the Arizona Cardinals with a hole at the cornerback position
Arizona Cardinals’ general manager Steve Keim may be experiencing deja vu right about now. It was roughly a year ago that he was making calls, searching for a cornerback to start opposite Patrick Peterson, the team’s perennial Pro Bowler. It may be time for Keim to start working those phone lines again.
Last September, Keim was able to land Marcus Cooper from the Kansas City Chiefs to fill the position. Considering what the club gave up for the 6’2″, 192 pounder (a conditional seventh-round draft pick), the deal definitely worked out in Arizona’s favor. Cooper proceeded to lead the squad in interceptions for the season, shoring up the biggest hole in the defense. He played well enough that he was signed to a lucrative free agent contract by the Chicago Bears, so now the Cards are back to square one.
Could Keim find a way to duplicate the success of last year’s trade? Injuries to Elie Bouka (ankle) and Ronald Zamort (knee) have chipped away at the team’s depth at cornerback. Current starter Justin Bethel suffered a hyper-extended knee but only missed a few days.
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The Cardinals’ other corners did not fare well during last Thursday’s Hall of Fame game. With their top three cover guys (Peterson, Bethel and newcomer Tramon Williams) sitting out the contest, backups Brandon Williams and Harlan Miller failed to impress. Dallas Cowboys’ wide receiver Brice Butler’s stop and go routes made mincemeat out of the pair, on passes thrown by noodle-armed quarterback Kellen Moore no less.
Tramon Williams was signed just last week to push Bethel for the starting job. The former Green Bay Packer has had a solid career, but is now 34-years old. Does Williams have one more good campaign left in him?
There’s a few cornerbacks residing on NFL rosters that Arizona should consider making a play for. The Cowboys’ Orlando Scandrick could possibly be available. “America’s team” has done an offseason makeover in their secondary, drafting three corners and signing free agent Nolan Carroll. Scandrick has been a solid defender during his eight years in the league, registering 60 pass breakups over that time.
The Cincinnati Bengals are presently stacked at cornerback. Darqueze Dennard and William Jackson are former first-round picks currently riding Cincy’s bench. Either player would look good donning a Cardinals’ uniform in 2017 and beyond.
The Minnesota Vikings, like the Bengals, also have two youngsters in backup roles at the current time. With Xavier Rhodes and Terence Newman entrenched as starters, Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander are craving playing time. Perhaps the Vikes would part with one of the two for the right offer.
The New York Giants signed Janoris Jenkins to a huge free agent deal last year, and also drafted Eli Apple in the first round. Could Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie now be expendable? DRC can still perform, as evidenced by the six picks he tallied last season in the Big Apple.
It’s time for Keim to return to the well. The Cooper acquisition proved successful last year, and there’s no reason to think a trade such as that can’t be pulled off again. This season’s solution for a number-two cornerback may be just a phone call away.