Arizona Cardinals 2021 free agency preview: addressing team needs
What the Arizona Cardinals must target on defense
Top Needs: DT, Edge, Corner
You can cross defensive end off the list with Watt now becoming a prime puzzle piece with the Cardinals. But they still need help.
It starts with defensive tackle, where Corey Peters and Domata Peko are slated to become UFAs. Also, Jordan Phillips and Rashard Lawrence saw time at the position, but neither firmly grasped the starting role. Though Lawrence could make The Leap in 2021.
Regardless, the Cardinals could benefit from signing at least one more big man up front. DaQuan Jones or Johnathan Hankins would make for excellent signings. If they are looking for a cheaper option, Shelby Harris would be a huge addition.
Edge is more of a wildcard. I put it up here because the Watt signing may prompt the Cardinals to let RFA Dennis Gardeck and UFA Haason Reddick Walk. Markus Golden is also on the UFA list, so they may need to add a rusher opposite Chandler Jones.
It depends on what happens later this month. But if the Cardinals let all three walk, they have a ransom of edge rushers to choose from in free agency. There are too many to name, but if the Cardinals want to make another splash, Bud Dupree and Shaq Barrett should be in consideration.
They can also go cheaper with a plethora of options that includes Leonard Floyd and Kyler Fackrell. While not flashy, both would benefit from having Chandler Jones line up on one side, and J.J. Watt on the line.
Corner is perhaps the biggest need. And it’s the one need you can expect the Cardinals to address both in free agency and the NFL Draft. Even if they re-sign Patrick Peterson, they need a true CB1. Peterson is no longer that player, and Byron Murphy is better in the slot.
Unfortunately, the top corners are in the same position as Peterson. Older, and no longer legit CB1 players. However, the Cardinals can benefit from those in the second tier. Michael Davis and Ronald Darby would step in and help immediately.