One of the hardest things to do in the NFL is to return a kickoff for a touchdown. Most often we see a penalty flag thrown as the ball carrier takes it into the endzone for what would’ve been a touchdown. The Arizona Cardinals kick return game has been one of the most asleep groups in the league, with very few significant special teams plays since 2010. There’s been only three kickoff return touchdowns since 2010, and two of them belong to LaRod Stephens-Howling in the 2010 season.
The Cardinals finished with an average of 32.8 kickoff return yards per game last season. Cordarelle Patterson will make a night and day difference the Arizona Cardinals kick return game. No matter where he’s gone, he’s done very well with kickoff return yardage, and scoring at least 1 kickoff return for a touchdown in six out of the eight years he’s been in the league.
Additionally, he was drafted into the league as a wide receiver. While he hasn’t been the flashiest at his position group, at least he could take the job from Christian Kirk or Andy Isabella (your choice on who he replaces) easily. His acceleration and elusiveness is needed when the Cardinals run as many lateral routes and quick hitches. Patterson is an unrestricted free agent, and if he signs a similar deal like he did in Chicago (2 years, $10 million) the Cardinals should be first in line.
With how competitive the division is becoming, any slight edge can make a huge difference. He would be the best returner in the division, and would bring excitement on the opening kickoffs. Imagine a post-COVID crowd being absolutely amped knowing the team has a weapon that the opposing team needs to plan for. Special teams can win or lose you one to two games in a season- something Cardinals fans are familiar with.