Denver Broncos free agent center Connor McGovern would provide a tremendous upgrade for the Arizona Cardinals offensive line
For many years now, the front office of the Arizona Cardinals has been trying to solidify the team’s offensive line. Things will not change much in that regard this offseason, when the unit will once again be under the microscope. In fact, the Cards group of blockers could very well undergo wholesale changes before the 2020 campaign gets underway in September.
One spot on the line that could be featuring a new starter this fall is the center position. A.Q. Shipley, a veteran who started all 16 games for Arizona in 2019, will be seeking a new contract this spring. The 33-year did a solid job for the organization last season, but there’s a free agent from the Denver Broncos who the Cardinals would be smart to kick the tires on.
Connor McGovern, a fifth-round pick of the Broncos back in 2016, would be an excellent addition to the Cards offense. The 26-year old, a former right guard, has started 23 consecutive contests for Denver at center. McGovern switched positions back in 2018 after former starter Matt Paradis suffered a fractured fibula during a meeting with the Houston Texans.
McGovern was the 10th-best center in the NFL last year according to Pro Football Focus. The 6’4, 306 pounder’s 82.5 pass-blocking grade was the fifth-highest in the league according to the well-respected website. In addition, McGovern was one of only three offensive linemen in ’19 to play 600-plus snaps without incurring a single penalty.
Arizona does have a couple of in-house candidates who could also warrant consideration for the starting center job. Third-year pro Mason Cole started all 16 matchups at the spot back in ’18 after Shipley was placed on the injured-reserve list with a torn ACL. Lamont Gaillard, a sixth-round selection of the franchise from a year ago, could compete for the gig as well.
While Cole and Gaillard are certainly worthy options, McGovern still appears to be the most qualified candidate for the post. However, the former University of Missouri could command big bucks on the open market. How much money the Cardinals would be willing to spend on the anchor of their offensive line remains to be seen.