Defensive end is getting fresh start with Arizona Cardinals
By Jim Koch
Defensive end Jonathan Bullard is hoping to jumpstart what could be a promising career in the desert with the Arizona Cardinals
Over the past few years, the Arizona Cardinals have been searching for the perfect mix of defensive linemen. The free agent departure of the great Calais Campbell back in 2017 left a void that general manager Steve Keim has been attempting to fill ever since. The Cards have acquired a variety of defenders, hoping to provide their defense with a front wall that will rank right up there with the NFL’s best.
A short time before last year’s season-opener, Arizona plucked an individual off of the waiver wire who has the tools to be a prominent contributor. Jonathan Bullard joined the franchise on September 1st, 2019, just one day after he was released by the Chicago Bears. The 6’3, 290 pounder had spent three campaigns in the “Windy City”, but failed to make it through Chicago’s final cuts on the last day of August.
As the saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Well, sort of. Bullard was far from a Pro Bowler during his first season with the Cardinals, but it would be hard to ignore the 26-year old’s undeniable potential.
In nine appearances (six starts) with the Cards in ’19, Bullard totaled 22 tackles and 1.5 sacks. The North Carolina native also registered seven quarterback hits, flashing an ability to get to the passer that the squad’s defensive line has sorely lacked. Does Bullard possess the skill-set to improve those numbers in 2020?
Arizona’s front office apparently believes that he does. This past April, Keim and company elected to hand the free agent Bullard a brand new deal. The University of Florida product will be paid $1 million and change this fall, a type of one-year “prove-it” contract that the Cardinals have often benefited from in the past.
Things didn’t work out in Chicago for the former third-round draft pick, but the Cards are obviously intrigued. Perhaps a fresh start will do the veteran some good. Bullard is certainly getting another opportunity to show what he can do in Arizona.