Arizona Cardinals 2018: Potential free agent targets
An early look at some potential free agent players who could make the Arizona Cardinals an improved team in 2018 and beyond
Even though 2017 has not yet come to an end, it’s pretty apparent what the Arizona Cardinals will need to get better in the offseason. Some may think it’s a bit too early to tell. But you can be sure that general manager Steve Keim and his cohorts have begun formulating a plan for 2018 and beyond.
After another season without a playoff berth, changes to the roster should be on the horizon. And with the status of a couple of their most significant players still up in the air, maybe more changes than we think. So despite the fact that the NFL’s free agency period is still months away, let’s take a look at what the Cards’ front office may be, or will be, looking at.
One of the players that Arizona will be waiting on a decision from is quarterback Carson Palmer. The just-turned 38-year old will once again need to inform the organization of his plans going forward. Is Palmer satisfied with the career he has had, or does he wanna take one more shot at a Lombardi Trophy?
If the Cardinals’ starter of the past five campaigns does elect to call it quits, there may be a couple of intriguing free agent possibilities available. Its hard to imagine that the Washington Redskins will let Kirk Cousins walk, but he’d be a fine replacement for Palmer if they did. The Minnesota Vikings’ Case Keenum and Teddy Bridgewater are both scheduled to be free agents, so it’s likely one of the two will depart.
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The other Cardinal who’ll have to let the club know if he’s retiring or not is wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. The future Hall of Famer is still performing at a high level, so Keim would most likely love for him to return. If the 34-year old does decide that he’s had enough, then Arizona will need to go shopping for a wideout.
Considering the fact that both John and Jaron Brown are headed for free agency, reinforcements at receiver may actually be a necessity. Jarvis Landry, Sammy Watkins and Terrelle Pryor are among the best choices. Second-tier options include Allen Robinson, Donte Moncrief, Danny Amendola, Mike Wallace (a Bruce Arians favorite) and Paul Richardson.
In what has become an annual problem for the Cards, the offensive line will once again need attention. Depending on what happens with tackle Jared Veldheer, the New England Patriots’ Nate Solder could be a fine free agent addition. Guys like Luke Joeckel, Andrew Norwell, Jack Mewhort or even a return by current Cardinal Alex Boone would bolster the line’s interior.
Another ongoing concern for Arizona has been the cornerback position. Tramon Williams was signed last summer and has played well as the number-two corner. The 34-year old only signed a one-year deal, however, so he too will be wading in the free agent waters come March.
Trumaine Johnson, Malcolm Butler and Bashaud Breeland are at the top of the list of potentially available cover guys. Names like Prince Amukamara, Morris Claiborne, Johnathan Joseph and Brent Grimes could also help the Cards’ secondary. Re-signing Williams would also be a smart move.
As noted at the beginning of this piece, it’s a bit early to make any kind of concrete shopping list. The offseason, technically, is not even here yet. Still, you can be certain that Keim and company are already eyeing potential free agent targets.