The Arizona Cardinals will have some interesting choices to make at the cornerback position when the 2021 offseason gets underway
The 2021 offseason could potentially be a daunting one for the Arizona Cardinals. With a salary-cap limit that’s expected to plummet (projected to be around $175 million), Cards general manager Steve Keim could be presented with a bevy of difficult personnel decisions. In fact, there’s one particular position on the defensive side of the ball that can prove to be extremely challenging for the Cardinals front office.
As it stands now, Arizona is projected to have just a couple of cornerbacks from their current roster under contract next season. One half of that duo is Robert Alford, a veteran who suffered season-ending injuries during each of the past two summers. The other part of that pair is Byron Murphy, a second-year professional who is coming off of a solid campaign for the Redbirds.
One of the biggest names on this year’s free agent list is Patrick Peterson, a cover guy who was drafted fifth-overall by the Cards back in 2011. The eight-time Pro Bowler will be without a contract for the first time in his career when the 2020 campaign comes to an end. Peterson is no longer the shutdown corner he has been for the better part of the past decade, and there’s no guarantee that the Cardinals will want the 30-year old back in ’21.
Dre Kirkpatrick, a 31-year old who came to the desert in late August, will also be seeking a new deal when the offseason arrives. The former 17th-overall selection of the 2012 draft has been an outstanding addition to the Arizona secondary. It would behoove Keim to attempt to bring the fiery Kirkpatrick back to the nest for at least another year or two.
There are quite a few free agent cornerback options who the Cards could kick the tires on when the signing period gets underway in March. Perched at the top of that list are names like Shaquill Griffin, Michael Davis, Troy Hill, Ronald Darby and Terrance Mitchell. Other possibilities for the Cardinals include Xavier Rhodes, Jason Verrett, Bashaud Breeland, Mike Hilton and William Jackson.
Arizona’s decision-makers are going to have their work cut out for them when the current schedule reaches it’s conclusion. One of the biggest questions surrounding the club will concern the all-important cornerback position. Where Peterson ends up will be one of the league’s most-intriguing stories of the upcoming offseason.