Rodney Gunter, DL
Pros for return: Frankly, I’m surprised this one hasn’t happened yet. The Arizona Cardinals have a need at defensive line, and Rodney Gunter has shown improvement at that very position. And at only 27-years-old, Gunter can be a long-term option in the trenches.
While the Cardinals have added Darius Philon to go alongside Corey Peters and Robert Nkemdiche and may add talent to the group in the draft, the lack of depth on the defensive line is profound. That lack of depth is even more apparent when you consider that both Peters and Nkemdiche become free-agents next spring and Philon hasn’t played in a full-time starting role once in his four-year career.
Cue Rodney Gunter, a 2015 fourth-round pick by the Cardinals out of Delaware State. He uses his 6-5, 305-pound frame to be a sound run-stopper in the interior defensive line but has also shown improvement in other areas of his game. In 2018, he showed progress as a pass-rusher out of the 1-technique defensive tackle in the 4-3. He finished the season with 4.5 sacks, which is more than he had in his first three NFL seasons.
Cons for return: Gunter succeeded in the 4-3 but would revert to the 3-4 if he were to resign with the Cards. While he showed success as a run-stopper in this scheme in the past, Vance Joseph has called for the need for interior pass-rushers in the 3-4 rather than true run-stoppers.
Final verdict: Although Gunter may have overachieved in the 4-3 the Cardinals should give him another chance. In a worst-case scenario, he would provide the team with solid depth and size at the position. In a best-case scenario, he would provide them with a developing game that could theoretically start on a rebuilt defense.