3 free agents who could start for the Cardinals in 2021

(Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) Todd Gurley
(Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) Todd Gurley /
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Arizona Cardinals
(Photo by Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports) Malik Hooker /

Malik Hooker – S

2020 Team: Indianapolis Colts

We know that Budda Baker can be penciled in as one of Arizona’s two starting safeties next season. That is a guarantee. But figuring out who will start next to Baker is among the Cardinals’ top priorities for their upcoming training camp and preseason.

Currently, it looks like the battle for Arizona’s other starting safety will be between a handful of players, including Jalen Thompson, Shawn Williams, Deionte Thompson, Charles Washington, and Chris Banjo.

The Cardinals could continue on with this battle, or they could turn to the free-agent pool and bring in a former first-round pick in Malik Hooker to take the role.

Hooker spent the last four seasons as a starting safety with the Indianapolis Colts. However, the 25-year-old defensive back only appeared in two games for the Colts in 2020 thanks to a torn Achilles.

Hooker has more talent than any of the other Arizona safeties competing to start next to Baker next season. His health (also suffered a torn ACL in 2017) is what might cause some hesitation to bring him in from the Cardinals front office.

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If Arizona isn’t worried about his injury history and his asking price isn’t too high, adding Hooker would be a low-risk move to make that could result in a big reward.