The Arizona Cardinals front office has the funds and draft picks needed to acquire a restricted free agent if they so desire
The Arizona Cardinals find themselves in unfamiliar territory this offseason. For the first time in awhile, the franchise has an ample amount of salary-cap room to work with. It also appears that the Cards will be awarded compensatory picks in time for this April’s NFL draft.
That sort of ammunition will put the organization in a unique spot once the 2019 free agency period gets underway. For once, Arizona has the tools needed to land restricted free agents. The league has rules in place that makes acquiring such players a tough task, but it certainly is possible.
One hurdle that must be cleared in pulling off such a move is the right of first refusal. Clubs who own the rights of restricted free agents are permitted to match any offer that these players receive on the open market. That’s where that generous amount of cash that the Cardinals have at their disposal can become an advantage.
One other hurdle could be the compensation that obtaining a restricted free agent would require. Each player that fits into this category is issued a tender before the signing period commences. The tender is a value based on how important these performers are to the teams who own their rights.
Now that the rules have been laid out, we can now look at who’s available. As it turns out, there are some very intriguing names on that list.
An area of the roster that could certainly use management’s attention is the wide receiver spot. The New York Jets’ Robby Anderson is a restricted free agent who would look good in a Cards’ uniform. The 6’3, 190 pounder has racked up 155 receptions, 2,280 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns during his three years in the “Big Apple”.
Another pass-catcher who’s worth pursuing is the Green Bay Packers Geronimo Allison. The 6’3, 202 pounder has tallied 55 catches, 758 receiving yards and four scores in part-time duty since 2016.
Arizona also has a hole at the right tackle post. Rashod Hill is a restricted free agent who has started 15 games for the Minnesota Vikings over the past two campaigns. Another right tackle, the Cincinnati Bengals Jake Fisher, has 12 starts under his belt (mostly at right tackle) and is also on the restricted list.
There are interesting restricted free agents on the defensive side of the ball as well. Inside linebacker Cory Littleton had a monster season for the Los Angeles Rams in 2018. The 25-year old registered 125 tackles and four sacks for the NFC champion.
What would an offseason be without the Cardinals needing help at the number-two cornerback slot? There are three capable cover guys sitting on the restricted list. All of who could provide a solution for what’s been an ongoing problem in the Cards’ secondary.
The New Orleans Saints Ken Crawley has amassed 128 tackles, 31 passes defensed and an interception since he entered the league in 2016. Brian Poole of the Atlanta Falcons has contributed 195 tackles, 19 pass breakups, four picks and five sacks over the past three years. The New England Patriots Jonathan Jones has tallied 98 tackles, four interceptions and 16 passes defensed since 2016.
There’s no denying that restricted free agents come with a price. In some cases, however, they can be well worth it. It will be interesting to see if Arizona’s front office agrees with that sentiment this offseason.