Veteran cornerback looks like a keeper for Arizona Cardinals
Ninth-year NFL veteran Dre Kirkpatrick has been an outstanding addition to the defensive backfield of the Arizona Cardinals
Back in August, the Arizona Cardinals secondary was dealt a debilitating blow for the second consecutive year. Robert Alford, a free agent addition back in 2019, would miss the entire 2020 campaign with a torn pectoral muscle. Just 12 months before, the veteran cornerback suffered a broken leg that ended his first season with the Cards before it even began.
Just days after Alford’s latest injury, the Arizona front office got lucky. Surprisingly, with the season-opener just around the corner, general manager Steve Keim found an outstanding replacement for the fallen defensive back. In fact, the free agent that was signed by the Cardinals could quite possibly be giving the club more than Alford could’ve offered.
Dre Kirkpatrick, a longtime member of the Cincinnati Bengals, has been an excellent addition to Arizona’s defensive backfield. The 31-year old joined Patrick Peterson and Byron Murphy in the desert, giving the Redbirds a solid trio of cover guys. Kirkpatrick was released by the Bengals after eight seasons with the franchise, and the Cards have managed to use that break-up to their advantage.
In 11 games (eight starts) for the Cardinals, Kirkpatrick has racked up 47 tackles, three interceptions and five passes defensed. The 6’2, 190 pounder has been one of the squad’s surest tacklers, as evidenced by the 44 solo stops the corner has tallied for Big Red. Will the organization retain Kirkpatrick’s services beyond the current campaign?
At the moment, Kirkpatrick is scheduled to enter free agency when the signing period gets underway in 2021. The former first-round draft pick (17th-overall in 2012) was inked to a one-year contract by Arizona this past summer that’s worth just over one million dollars. Keim has been quite adept at signing players to single-year “prove-it” deals during his tenure with the Cards, and Kirkpatrick has proven to be one of his better acquisitions.
Kirkpatrick’s strong performance this fall could result in a significant raise for the Alabama native in ’21. The Cardinals have some decisions to make at the cornerback position, especially considering the fact that Peterson also has an expiring contract. It would be quite surprising if Kirkpatrick isn’t offered a deal to remain with the Cardinals when the offseason rolls around.