The Arizona Cardinals are hoping to get ample production out of the mid-level contingent of free agents they’ve assembled
When it came to making additions to their current roster, the Arizona Cardinals were realistic. The team’s disastrous performance in 2018 was blatant proof that a Super Bowl championship was far from imminent. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the Cardinals football squad would need more time as well.
With that thought in mind, Arizona general manager Steve Keim took a frugal approach to this year’s free agent market. Unlike in past offseasons, the club’s front office appeared to be avoiding splashy signings this time around. Instead, Keim would look to some lesser-priced performers who would not break their bank.
The Cards most expensive acquisition of 2019 turned out to be Jordan Hicks, an inside linebacker from the Philadelphia Eagles. The 27-year old was inked to a four-year, $34 million contract that includes $20 million in guarantees. Hicks carries with him a reputation for being injured, but Keim obviously isn’t concerned.
Veteran cornerback Robert Alford received a decent amount of cash from the organization as well. Shortly after his release from the Atlanta Falcons back in February, the 30-year was brought in to be the Cardinals number-two cover guy. Alford was handed a three-year, $22.5 million deal, with $13.5 million of it guaranteed.
Long-time Baltimore Raven Terrell Suggs was next in line at the franchise’s payment window. The outside linebacker, who played his high school and college ball in Arizona, has decided to finish his playing days where they began. Suggs was signed to a two-year, $10 million contract that includes $7 million in guarantees.
A couple of other free agents were also given two-year deals. Defensive tackle Darius Philon will earn $10 million, with $5 million of that amount guaranteed. Guard J.R. Sweezy will be paid $9 million, with $3 million in guarantees.
What would a Cards offseason be without a flurry of Keim’s patented, one-year “prove-it” contracts? Offensive additions include Charles Clay, Brett Hundley, Max Garcia, Kevin White, Maxx Williams and Damiere Byrd. On defense, the Cardinals landed Brooks Reed, Tramaine Brock, Josh Shaw and Terrell McClain.
Arizona did pull off a trade back in March that will cost ownership a fair sum of dollars. Marcus Gilbert arrived from the Pittsburgh Steelers, and will assume the starting right tackle job. The 31-year old will collect $4.865 million this coming season, and will count $4.915 million against the league’s salary cap.
The Cards certainly kept their spending to a minimum this past spring. We’ve been shown in the past, however, that signing players to large-money deals does not always bring desirable results. With a little luck, Keim and company will get some bang for their buck from the mid-level free agents they’ve acquired in 2019.