It’s becoming increasingly obvious that the Arizona Cardinals are going for broke in 2021. The club has dismissed the idea of any type of “youth movement”, and has instead decided that a veteran roster is the way to go. With that plan in mind, the Cards have hitched themselves to a group of thirty-something free agents who they hope will lead them to a Super Bowl championship.
The well-designed strategy began back on March 1st, when superstar J.J. Watt was signed to a two-year deal. At 32 years of age, the five-time Pro Bowl defensive end could be a little past his prime. However, the leadership and locker-room presence that Watt will provide could prove invaluable to a championship-hungry squad like the Cardinals.
A.J. Green is a seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver who needed a change of scenery. In Arizona, the 32-year old goes to a team that was just one victory away from a playoff spot last season. The sensational DeAndre Hopkins will take a load of pressure off of Green, who could be primed for a “Comeback Player of the Year” type campaign with the Redbirds in ’21.
Arizona added an oustanding component to their offensive line last week when they acquired center Rodney Hudson in a trade. The 31-year old will act as the leader of a blocking unit that has plenty of NFL starts under it’s belt. Hudson, who has suited up for both the Kansas City Chiefs and Las Vegas Raiders, has been a first-stringer in 127 professional contests.
On Thursday, the Cards added a number-one cornerback who’s been around the block a time or two. Malcolm Butler, a 31-year old who spent the past three campaigns with the Tennessee Titans, has been brought aboard to replace the now-departed Patrick Peterson. An eighth-year pro, Butler has appeared in 100 matchups and has logged 84 starts since he entered the league back in 2014.
This past Monday, Arizona filled a hole at the right guard position with a ninth-year blocker. Brian Winters, a third-round draft choice of the New York Jets back in 2013, has been credited with 79 starts. The 6’4, 320 pound Winters, who was with the Buffalo Bills last fall, will turn 30 in July.
Back on March 17th, the Cardinals essentially replaced a 25-year old placekicker with one who’ll turn 37 in August. Matt Prater, who has 14 accrued seasons on his NFL resume, has converted an impressive 83.2% of his career field-goal attempts. The strong-legged Prater “expects to make” the pressure kicks that the recently-released Zane Gonzalez frequently struggled with as the team’s kicker in 2020.
The Cards front office has decided to roll with individuals in who’ve been there, done that. All of the younger players on the Arizona roster simply have to follow their lead. The franchise’s first-ever Vince Lombardi Trophy is looking more and more like a possibility with each passing day.