There are a group of veteran free agents who may not be offered new contracts by the Arizona Cardinals front office in 2021
There was a ton of excitement surrounding the 2020 Arizona Cardinals. After a promising start, head coach Kliff Kingsbury‘s squad finished the schedule on an extremely sour note. Now that the season is over, the time has come to determine which members of Arizona’s 2021 free agent class may have played their last down for the team.
The biggest question mark that lies ahead for the Cards centers around Patrick Peterson, the franchise’s eight-time Pro Bowl cornerback. The 30-year old’s play has slipped, but that probably won’t prevent Peterson from being inked to a lucrative contract this spring. With Robert Alford and Byron Murphy already in the fold for next fall, the Cardinals could settle on a less-expensive option (perhaps Dre Kirkpatrick) for the all-important position.
Another big name near the top of Arizona’s free agent list is future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald. Kingsbury said that he definitely wants the 37-year old wideout back, but the club’s financial situation could prevent that from happening. Would the classy Fitzgerald be willing to grant the Cards a hometown discount in order to remain with the only professional organization he has ever played for?
Running back Kenyan Drake was signed to a one-year deal last year that paid the 26-year old over $8 million. But while his numbers were respectable (955 rushing yards,10 touchdowns), the former Miami Dolphins draft pick may need to accept much less to remain in the desert. The Cardinals may decide to roll with the more cost-efficient Chase Edmonds ($920,000 base salary) as their number-one back next fall.
De’Vondre Campbell is a savvy inside linebacker who finished third among Arizona defenders with 99 tackles last season. However, the 27-year old may quite simply be a luxury that management can no longer afford. Not to mention the fact that the Cards have Isaiah Simmons (last year’s eighth-overall draft choice) chomping at the bit to take Campbell’s place.
Haason Reddick‘s incredibly successful move to outside linebacker (12.5 sacks,16 quarterback hits) will allow him to command a tremendous amount of money this offseason. But with the salary that Chandler Jones will collect in ’21 ($15.5 million), the Cardinals may find it difficult to compete with any suitors for Reddick’s services. General manager Steve Keim could elect to go with a cheaper alternative (Markus Golden comes to mind) to pair with Jones during the next campaign.
There are other individuals among Arizona’s free agent crew who may also be permitted to go elsewhere. It’s a contingent that includes Corey Peters, Kelvin Beachum, Dan Arnold, Andy Lee, J.R. Sweezy, Zane Gonzalez and the previously mentioned Kirkpatrick and Golden. Keim will certainly be under the microscope in what promises to be one of the most challenging offseasons that the NFL has ever experienced.