Biggest potential bargains on the 2021 Arizona Cardinals
The front office of the Arizona Cardinals has assembled one of the NFL’s most impressive rosters. General manager Steve Keim’s work has many of the team’s long-suffering fans believing that the 2021 campaign could be a special one. Arizona’s ownership has spared no expense when it comes to building a squad that could make a run at a Super Bowl championship.
But along with some high-priced acquisitions come a group of players who could offer grade-one talent at bargain-basement prices. Several individuals who could play a significant role for the Cardinals without using up a whole lot of the franchise’s salary-cap space.
This past week, the Cards added quite an accomplished running back to the squad’s offensive attack. James Conner, a Pro Bowl performer with the Pittsburgh Steelers back in 2018, will pair with Chase Edmonds in Big Red’s newly-formed backfield. Keim convinced Conner to sign his name on the dotted line for a paltry $1.75 million in ’21.
Outstanding center Rodney Hudson was acquired back on March 17th for a third-round draft pick. The 31-year old was voted to three Pro Bowls during his days as the anchor of the Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders offensive line. Hudson will count just $2.860 million against Arizona’s salary-cap for the upcoming season.
Two-time Super Bowl champion Malcolm Butler was also one of the organization’s high-profile pickups of the offseason. The 2015 Pro Bowler will immediately assume the number-one cornerback role for the Cardinals, which became available following the departure of Patrick Peterson. Butler will eat up a measly $2,162,500 million of the club’s cap room in ’21.
Markus Golden is a high-motor edge-rusher who the Cards were glad to have back when he became availabe via trade last October. The 30-year entered the current offseason as a free agent, but Keim brought him back into the fold on a one-year deal. Golden’s cap number for the upcoming campaign is a mere $2 million.
Right tackle Kelvin Beachum, who started all 16 games in 2020, was one of the offensive line’s most steady performers. Like Golden, the 31-year old blocker also entered the free agent signing period unsigned. Arizona knew a good thing when they had it, however, and retained Beachum with a contract that will cost just $1.575 million against this season’s cap.
Now that Kenyan Drake is gone, Edmonds is expected to take on a much bigger role in ’21. The 25-year old will certainly concede some touches to the newly-acquired Conner, but word out of the desert is that Edmonds will be the Cardinals primary ball-carrier. If that’s true, the 5’9, 205 pounder’s $1,033,092 cap charge could be one of the biggest bargains of the year.