Even after a slew of moves in the cornerback room, it might still make sense for the Arizona Cardinals to pursue a top corner to bolster the secondary this year.
The departure of longtime Arizona Cardinals defensive back Patrick Peterson to the Minnesota Vikings left a gap of experience in the cornerback room that seemed glaring for many weeks as Cardinals general manager Steve Keim and company waited to make a move.
Finally, former New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans cornerback Malcolm Butler signed with Arizona in late March, going a long way to providing that veteran experience.
The Cardinals drafted two young cornerbacks in the recent NFL Draft, Marco Wilson and Tay Gowan. Byron Murphy has produced some good tape over his last two years in the league, but he is still going in to only his third season as a pro. The addition of Butler did assuage many fans and his seven years of experience helped bolster confidence in what will be a young secondary group in 2021.
Arizona Cardinals might be interested in other cornerback options
In early June, former Bengals cornerback Darqueze Dennard was signed to provide an extra boost of veteran depth. However, rumors persist that the Cardinals front office could still be looking at two top cornerbacks, Stephon Gilmore and Xavien Howard.
The nearly 31-year-old Gilmore has accomplished a great deal during his time with the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots. The 2019 Defensive Player of the Year, Gilmore is still producing at a high level.
Gilmore is reportedly unhappy with his current situation and was a minicamp holdout this offseason over a pay dispute. New England has not officially offered Gilmore for a trade, but it is possible he could be lured away from Foxborough.
Howard finished the 2020 season with the best numbers of his career and a massive bounce back after a down 2019. He is going into the second year of a five-year/$75.25 million contract and he is reportedly displeased with the amount his the current situation in Miami.
Gilmore is still a talented defensive player but Howard is younger and is just now approaching the peak of his career. If the Cardinals are capable of trading for the star cornerback, which might be a stretch given the cap situation and the likely first-round pick required, they should be reaching out to Miami.
Two top cornerbacks, both unhappy in their current situations could look to the desert with some interest. Arizona seems to be in win-now mode and the addition of either of these cornerbacks could solidify the secondary into a unit capable of keeping opposing offenses off the field and allowing Kyler Murray to showcase his new set of offensive weapons more often.